Social Media Key to Engaging Young Volunteers
26 May 2011 at 4:26 pm
A new report on engaging young people in volunteering in Tasmania has called for organisations to embrace websites and social networking.
The ‘Engaging Young People’ research offers a spotlight on what works in youth volunteering in Tasmania, by researcher Lindsey Moffatt.
The research says that understanding how to effectively use digital communication media to target young volunteer audiences is a huge development area for Tasmanian volunteer-involving organisations.
However, Lindsey Moffatt says this is by no means unique to Tasmania, – the current lack of consistently provided web-based information and application processes and the under-use of social networking, such as Facebook, for keeping volunteers updated, is clearly showing as a disconnect with Gens Y and Z.
The report says that to successfully recruit more young people, targeted recruitment was essential to attract young people into the organisations.
It says digital and non-digital recruitment mixes, using existing peer networks, schools, colleges, universities, youth centres and VT’s Volunteer Connect were essential for state-wide organisations to recruit young volunteers.
It says a web presence was key as a first port of call for marketing information; personal approaches through peer networks, schools and families were more successful for the local, community focused organisation.
When asked during the study what advice young people would give to Tasmanian organisations struggling to attract more young people, the young volunteers saw Facebook as a way of informing existing and potential volunteers about volunteering opportunities and events.
However, use of Facebook came with a number of warnings and reservations. One volunteer pointed out the challenge of engaging with young people via this medium – the need to make opportunities stand out in order to prompt considered and meaningful action, rather than just getting an automatic response from young people.
Moffatt says using young people as ambassadors, talking about what they get from their roles, helps potential young people to put themselves in volunteers’ shoes.
She says having a personal point of contact within the organisation was key for maintaining young people’s interest once they had made contact.
The report says there is a clear need to develop more effective Tasmanian volunteer sector links, to enable organisations to develop coaching and other important skills, and to help open up facilities and assets within local communities and to encourage debates about how to build volunteering capacity and social inclusion locally.
Moffatt says there are key facilitation roles here for peak bodies and local councils.
Download the Executive summary here- http://volunteeringtas.org.au/wp-content/uploads/2011/05/Engaging-Young-People-Report_Executive-Summary.pdf
Download the Full report here- http://volunteeringtas.org.au/wp-content/uploads/2011/05/Engaging-Young-People-Report_BLACK_Web.pdf