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Encouraging Students to Volunteer

11 April 2018 Toby Lester News and Views

The 15th of April is International Microvolunteering Day 2018, and it provides a great opportunity for students to get involved.

The initiative offers volunteers ‘bite-sized, on-demand, no-commitment actions that benefit a worthy cause’, which can range from playing free video games to contribute to scientific research, 5-minute volunteering opportunities, and even volunteering from your smartphone.

Small, easily digestible chunks of volunteering, or microvolunteering as it has come to be known, are a great way to hit students with the altruism bug and inspire them to take on richer volunteering experiences in their local community.

But how do you get them to take that first step?

Explaining the benefits

As with many things students will undertake at school, the “why” question will inevitably come up – and it’s a good question. There are myriad benefits to volunteering opportunities, especially from a young age.

Depending on the nature of the volunteer work, it could offer students the opportunity to develop hands-on work skills in an appropriate work environment – and, as we know, work experience is invaluable.

At a time when many are decrying the lack of soft skills teaching, volunteering opportunities can be utilised to teach children how to interact with their coworkers, to improve their awareness of the local community, and to develop compassion for others. Which leads nicely into a point that may interest some students more than their future career prospects – volunteering is fun. It’s not a job, but it is an opportunity to meet and interact with interesting new people and work together towards a common goal.

Many students also find their first job through their volunteer work. Whether because you prove your mettle to your co-volunteers, or because it looks great on your CV, volunteer work can plant the seed for a student’s first job. It can also be leveraged to help students achieve awards, such as the Duke of Edinburgh’s Award, which employers are looking for.

Other ways to help

One of the most effective ways to get students involved in volunteering opportunities, outside of Microvolunteering, is by pinning volunteering opportunities to school display boards and announcing local opportunities in assembly.

However, if you want to ensure that they will take notice, the best way to get this information in front of students’ eyes is to add it to their customised planners. We’ve developed a volunteering planner page idea you can use in your next year’s planners, and, as our planners are bespoke from cover to cover, you can include local volunteering opportunities that are relevant to your student body, rather than relying on third-party lists.