"The Summer Reading Challenge has definitely given me more confidence. I am quite shy and wouldn't normally talk to people I don't know but now post Summer Reading Challenge I will because when I was volunteering I was meeting all sorts of new people." Daisy 13, Sunderland
Recruiting young volunteers is part of marketing your library service. Volunteering roles need to be understandable, and designed to be attractive and fun for young people. Spending time thinking about and working with young people themselves on the benefits of each role will help you to effectively sell the roles to your target audience.
Ways of recruiting
"This isn't mentioned in the strategy, but a really important reason for getting involved is friendship." Young volunteer, Haslingden
The vinspired website will publicise Summer Reading Challenge volunteering in libraries as one of the main projects young people can get involved with. When they click on the link young people can see the volunteer roles identified for being involved in the Challenge. Libraries should designate a person who will post up opportunities and manage referrals from interested young people. You can use the described roles or you can add your own roles.
Experience shows that it's best not to create too many specific roles as it limits young people's involvement and learning from their participation.
You can use the vipsired website for recruiting young people as well as any other recruitment methods you've already identified.
There are other websites you can use to recruit volunteers such as Facebook and twitter. Remember that web information needs to be updated regularly. The chances are that there will be a young volunteer who would love to take on that role.
Work with partners.
Schemes for promoting young people's volunteering opportunities that might operate in your area are:
- The Prince's Trust
- The Duke of Edinburgh's Award
- Youth Offending Teams
- Universities, schools and colleges.
Consider targeted recruitment. For example, perhaps there are young people on teacher training courses locally who would gain from the experience of working with children.
Getting the message right
When selling the role, focus less on the library message and more on the benefits and interest for young people. For example, you may feel that an eye for design might be just what's needed for in-library Summer Reading Challenge displays, and the attraction for a young volunteer might be the chance to use their design skills or to make an impact in their local community.
Publicity and word of mouth
Posters in the library are only going to attract very small numbers of people. Place marketing material in schools, youth groups, volunteer bureaus and other venues frequented by young people. Flyers tend to be more effective than posters and more effective still are websites, blogs, podcasts and social networking sites (see above).
Ask young people personally to volunteer. Many young people feel that they've never been asked to volunteer. Seek out opportunities to talk to young people about the roles you have available.
Use word of mouth recommendation. Provide a positive volunteering experience for one or two young people and the likelihood is that they'll bring their friends.
We will have a full training session, handbook and templates available for libraries in April which will cover:
- Developing Volunteering
- Legal Requirements
- Volunteering Roles and Recruitment
- Induction, training and supervision
- Recognition and Progression
- Evaluation and review
Read more about the benefits of running Summer Reading Challenge volunteering in your library.