Read more to find out how to streamline your volunteering processes and tailor opportunities for your members.
Time rich, enthusiastic, energetic students are perfect for volunteering. However, the challenge comes when trying to engage with them on the topic.
As dedicated staff within your organisation, you play a pivotal role in fostering a culture of community involvement and personal development among students. If you’re looking to enhance students' engagement and employability through volunteering opportunities, then we have got your back.
To support you, we’ve pulled together 10 top tips to maximise student volunteering and empower your members to make a positive impact.
1. Tailor opportunities to students' interests
One size doesn't fit all when it comes to volunteering. Engage students by offering a diverse range of opportunities that align with their passions and skills. Whether it's environmental conservation, mentoring, or event planning, catering to varied interests ensures students are motivated and enthusiastic about getting involved.
2. Promote clear benefits
Highlight the benefits of volunteering beyond altruism. Emphasise how participation can enhance students' employability by developing crucial skills such as teamwork, leadership, and communication. Additionally, stress the networking opportunities and personal growth that volunteering can provide, making it an enriching experience for students' personal and professional development.
3. Streamline access to opportunities
Make it easy for students to find and sign up for volunteering opportunities. Use digital platforms, such as dedicated websites or the StudentLink App, to centralise information about available roles, upcoming events, and registration processes. Streamlining access removes barriers and encourages greater participation. Check out how Warwick Volunteers went from staff intensive, manual processes to using the MSL platform to save staff time and streamline their volunteering offering.
4. Provide training and support
Empower students with the necessary skills and confidence to excel in their volunteering roles. Offer training sessions or workshops covering essential topics like project management, cultural sensitivity, and health and safety. Additionally, set up a support network where students can seek guidance and advice throughout their volunteering journey.
5. Celebrate successes
Recognise and celebrate the achievements of student volunteers. Shine a spotlight on their contributions through newsletters, social media shoutouts, awards ceremonies, or badges. By publicly acknowledging their efforts, you not only motivate current volunteers but also inspire others to get involved.
6. Foster partnerships
Collaborate with local charities, non-profit organisations, and businesses to expand the range of volunteering opportunities available to students. Building strong partnerships not only increases the variety of roles on offer but also strengthens the impact of students' contributions within the wider community.
7. Harness the power of peer influence
Peer-to-peer recommendations can be a powerful motivator for student engagement. Encourage current volunteers to share their experiences through testimonials, blog posts, or video interviews. Hearing firsthand accounts from peers can inspire others to follow suit and join the volunteering movement. Plymouth University Students' Union has the right idea with their SU Buddy Scheme!
8. Offer flexible opportunities
Recognise that students have varying schedules and commitments. Offer flexible volunteering options, such as one-off events, short-term projects, or remote opportunities, to accommodate diverse student needs. Flexibility ensures inclusivity and allows more students to take part according to their availability.
9. Seek feedback and adapt
Continuously seek feedback from students to assess the effectiveness of your volunteering programs and identify areas for improvement. Conduct surveys, focus groups, or feedback sessions to gather insights into students' experiences and preferences. Use this feedback to adapt and refine your approach, ensuring it remains responsive to student needs.
10. Lead by example
As staff members, lead by example by actively participating in volunteering initiatives and demonstrating the value of community engagement. Your enthusiasm and commitment can inspire students and reinforce the importance of giving back to society.
A vibrant volunteering culture
By implementing these top tips, you can cultivate a vibrant volunteering culture within your organisation, empowering students to make a meaningful difference while enhancing their personal and professional growth.
The MSL difference
The MSL Volunteering module supports the management of your volunteering function from start to finish, including, sending messages, tracking, and supplying awards and the registration of volunteers, opportunities, and providers. In short, it allows you to spend less time worrying about the admin and more time making a difference.
Together, let's unlock the full potential of student volunteering and create positive change in our communities. Get in touch now to find out how we can streamline your volunteering processes and get more students engaged than ever.