Purposeful Volunteering – Engaging College Students

“Purpose” is key to engaging students in volunteering and many are eager to donate their biggest asset- TIME. Research from May 3, 2016 Bureau of Labor Statistics shows that “77% of college students said they’re more likely to volunteer when they can use their specific skills or expertise to benefit a cause.” Purpose is empowering. Just as students are seeking to find purpose in their education and career-choice, they look to find purpose in their volunteering activities. We need to remember that college students are “people.” Individually, each is looking to belong to a social network, feel loved, and know that they are making an impact. Helping them find ways to do so is connecting them to realize the purpose of their giving and volunteering actions. As a Volunteer Manager you’ll have to do your homework.

volunteerSelling your project to College Administration and Faculty: Local colleges and universities may have a Volunteer Program already in place and you can contact the staff. If not, contacting the Career Placement Center and Student Center are great places to start. Or, you may have to contact Academic Division Heads to discuss the prospects. Our agency has had great results when we contact the Business, Finance and, Accounting Divisions for recruiting VITA Tax Volunteers. Nursing and PA students provided needed support in health related events such as a Military Standdown for Homeless Veterans. Volunteers from Technical Colleges provide needed skill-based service for repair and construction projects. A number of Instructors and Administrators often offer extra credit for volunteer service and encourage students to serve. You’ll be helping academia provide students with real-life experience and broaden their practice and proficiency in the field they are working to master.

Designing your project: A project for busy college students will have to be crafted to meet their tight schedule.

  • It should be at a convenient time and a location.
  • It should enable them to serve with their peers. Create a group-like experience.
  • A drop-in volunteer opportunity creates spontaneous volunteers.
  • Design transformational experiences that highlight how the work makes a real impact.
  • PROVIDE FOOD!

Marketing the event:

  • Start and end with Social Media: Twitter, Google+, Vimeo, Digg, Flickr, Pinterest, and don’t forget Facebook.
  • College Fairs with “old fashioned” printed fliers.
  • Participate as a work location in a university’s Day of Service event such as IPFW’s The Big Event.
  • Look for pre-formed groups such as athletic teams, student government, and clubs.
  • Make sure you demonstrate the need that this completed project will fulfill.

Selling your project to the students: Give them reasons to volunteer.

  • Tell your story and sell your cause as a “stress-reliever”. College is stressful. But if students volunteer for an organization that serves the less fortunate, they get a chance to see how others live compared to their own life. Nothing relieves stress better than gaining some perspective on how the world really works. Gratitude is an excellent study tool.
  • Be as flexible and transparent as possible.
  • Offer projects that can be done online.
  • Many students express frustration with long, inefficient and unnecessary training and orientation. Even better: put them online.
  • Let them know how volunteering is really worth their time during college years.

The mantra is that a few hours volunteering could change their life and help their future career

-learn to work as part of a team

-learn how to be a leader

-build their resume as they explore careers

-confirm their career choice

-expands their networking connections

-increase chance of scholarships and getting into grad school

We’ve found that a large number of Millennial, Generation X, Generation Y, and Baby Boomer volunteers started their service in college and it became a lifetime commitment. And remember the old adage, “People volunteer because they were asked.” You don’t want them to miss the opportunity to serve.

jean

 

*Post written by Jean Joley, Executive Director at Volunteer Center RSVP

Engaging College Students in Philanthropy

What can nonprofit organizations do to engage college students in philanthropy?2016-03-30 09.09.10

There are a plethora of new and old ways that college students can participate in philanthropic efforts. While the philanthropic contributions from current college students may differ from traditional methods, they are none-the-less vital. So, what can your nonprofit organization do to engage passionate students in philanthropy? Here are some suggestions!

Find Us on Social Media
In my experience, the largest obstacle for college students to engage in philanthropic efforts is the lack of readily available resources. Social media (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram) is by far the best way to reach college students. Sharing events, links to online donations, and information about local philanthropic efforts is a fantastic way to get information about nonprofits to college students. (We spend a lot of time on social media, if you hadn’t noticed.)

Interact With Us on Social Media
For college students, it’s not enough to see what organizations are doing—we want to feel involved! We want our voices heard. Posting on Facebook is a great start to engaging college students, but you can’t stop there. It’s important to engage with college students on social media—‘like’ Facebook status that mention you, tag event attendees in your Facebook and Twitter photos, retweet reactions to your events and programs.

Let Us Donate Online
Online shopping is a miracle. As a college student, it’s saved me time and energy that I simply don’t have. Online shopping is also phenomenal for nonprofits. Online donations offer an easy way for college students to contribute to local or national nonprofits without leaving the comfort of their beds. Additionally, offering monthly donation options is a great way to maintain a relationship with college students. I know I can’t donate $100 at one time, but I can definitely donate $10 a month throughout the entire year.

Work With Our Universities 
Many colleges and universities offer service learning opportunities to students. Service learning focuses on civic responsibility and community involvement. There are few things better than helping a great cause while receiving course credit for it. Working with universities is a great way to introduce college students to what philanthropy is and how they can get involved.

Listen To Us
We’re young, passionate, and excited to help organizations and causes we care about. So, please, listen to us! Create opportunities for college students to contribute ideas to your organization—whether it be an online suggestion box, events on college campuses, or an online survey. This is a great way to gather new ideas and find new board members.

Good luck recruiting and engaging!

 

Reflections on BLF14: Post #6 – Boards, Leadership, & the Power of Intention

Reflections on 2014 Board Leadership Forum, submitted by Carrie Minnich. This is the first of  several posts by Carrie, and it reflects her review of BLF14 Opening Plenary session by Daniel Forrester, which was also reviewed by Megan Hubartt.

GOB Washington
The GOB in front of the Washington Monument. Carrie Minnich is standing far right

“Leaders are called upon to make decisions.”

“Decisions require attention and focus.”

Daniel Forrester of Thruue, Inc. spoke about our culture of business and multi-tasking, asking the audience how we are able to intentionally take time to think and reflect about the decisions that need to be made.

Statistic:  leaders actually only spend 5% of their time thinking!  Daniel Forrester

Leaders remaining time is spent on absorbing content,  involved in meetings [sic], creating content and dealing with interruptions.

As leaders, we need to intentionally make time to think and reflect on decisions that need to be made.  As nonprofit board members, we need to intentionally set our organization’s direction through big ideas, culture and dialogue. Nonprofit boards must intentionally address issues, clearly understnad its organization’s problems and take time to think together in order for the organization to be successful in the future.

  1. Nonprofit boards need to intentionally take time to get their organization’s “big ideas” right. In order to do this the board needs to engage in thought and reflection and communication. Is this a good idea? After the idea is implemented, the board needs to take the time to make any necessary refinements. Mr. Forrester gave the example of ALS’ ice bucket challenge as a big idea.
  2. As board members, we need to seek to strengthen our organization’s culture. We can’t change the culture but we can strengthen it. Our desired culture should lean towards continuous improvement and learning.
  3. Boards must engage in dialogue. Dialogue requires both moments of pause for reflection as well as times of arguing. Mr. Forrester suggested asking board members to argue the opposite side of an issue in front of the group.

Nonprofit boards must intentionally address issues, clearly understand its organization’s problems and take time to think together in order for the organization to be successful in the future.

Volunteer Engagement

Many thanks to our guests and guests presenters for yesterday’s Volunteer Engagement program!

If you were not able to attend, please contact the Center or our presenters, Jean Joley of Volunteer Center or Sandy Screeton of the Allen County Public Library for more information.

 

Building a Winning Volunteer Program

In addition to discussing the services of the Volunteer Center, our speaker’s highlight our regional professional association for volunteer managers, NIAVA – Northeast Indiana Association of Volunteer Administrators.

The NIAVA Mission:

NIAVA seeks to promote professionalism in the field of volunteer administration and to provide those who manage volunteers with a forum for the exchange of ideas, the tools with which to upgrade skills, and a framework for developing and maintaining high standards of professional competency.

Why join NIAVA?

  • Membership fee is only $30 per year and brings you the following benefits:
  • Bi-monthly meetings featuring informative and highly qualified speakers
  • Annual Full Day Professional Development Seminar/Retreat
  • The opportunity to promote agency events the NIAVA Newsletter
  • The opportunity to be mentor by an experienced volunteer manager
  • Networking and sharing problems and solutions with others who work in the
  • challenging field of volunteers.

NIAVA resources

 

 

Reminder: April 23@4 program on Volunteer Engagement

Don’t forget to register for our April 23@4 program on Volunteer Engagement, led by Ani Etter of Fort Wayne’s own Volunteer Center and Sandy Screeton, Volunteer Manager for the Allen County Public Library.

April 23rd at 4:00
Allen County Public Library, Main Library

Is your organization thinking of starting a volunteer program or revamping an existing one?

Sandy and Ani will discuss the essential fundamentals of a successful volunteer program and how to get started.

Information about mentoring opportunities with the Northeast Indiana Association of Volunteer Administrators (NIAVA) and local resources through the Volunteer Center will be presented.

Register at this link to our registration calendar.

Our regular 23@4 Program series covers a variety of topics on running effective nonprofits. When the 23rd of the month falls on a weekday, at 4:00 we’re programming for nonprofits.

Join our April 23@4 program on Volunteer Engagement

Our regular 23@4 Program series covers a variety of topics on running effective nonprofits. When the 23rd of the month falls on a weekday, at 4:00 we’re programming for nonprofits.

Coming up April 23 at 4:00, we’ll celebrate National Volunteer Week, April 21-27, with a 23@4 program on Volunteer Engagement, led by Ani Etter of Fort Wayne’s own Volunteer Center and Sandy Screeton, Volunteer Manager for the Allen County Public Library.

Is your organization thinking of starting a volunteer program or revamping an existing one?

Sandy and Ani will discuss the essential fundamentals of a successful volunteer program and how to get started.

Information about mentoring opportunities with the Northeast Indiana Association of Volunteer Administrators (NIAVA) and local resources through the Volunteer Center will be presented.

Register at this link to our registration calendar.

Meet Ani Etter, presenter at our April 23@4 on Volunteers

AnaEttter1 Photo

This year, the PCNRC blog features profiles of our community partners to introduce you to the people behind your programs.

Ani Etter is the Program Manager at Volunteer Center @ RSVP, an agency that connects and supports volunteers and nonprofits.

Ani is a joyful leader and will present our April 23@4 program on Volunteers with Sandy Screeton, Volunteer Coordinator at ACPL. We’re sharing this post as a preview to that program and National Volunteer Week (April 21-27).

Enjoy meeting Ani!

1. What nonprofit do you serve in our community and how do you do it?

I serve as the Program Manager at the Volunteer Center. Our agency works with over 80 different non –profit and civic agencies in the community addressing issues such poverty, financial literacy, environmental awareness, veterans, military families and many others. We connect volunteers with non-profit agencies in the community, and provide them the opportunity to find their passion, connect to a cause, and serve.

2. What is your favorite part of your work?

Without a doubt- the volunteers I meet every day! Their life stories, generosity and willingness to give back are astounding! They never cease to surprise me!

3. What’s the scariest thing you’ve ever done? Continue reading