Subject guide-Young people and volunteering
30 May 2007

Aimed primarily at managers of volunteers and not-for-profit organisations,  this guide contains online resources to help you involve young people in your volunteering program. All resources within the guide can be accessed free of charge.

While all sections of this guide will be valuable and are designed to meet readers' different needs, we recommend you don't miss Section 4, which can be downloaded as a PDF - Young People and Volunteering - Take a Closer Look. The aim of this section is to build on the knowledge which already exists in the sector and provide practical advice, making connections across the collection of resources as a whole.


1: Fast facts - Gain an understanding of the issues affecting young volunteers
2: Strategies for organisations - Succeed in involving young people in your organisation
3: Research findings, reports and journal articles - Extend your understanding of this subject
4: Young People and Volunteering - Take a Closer Look - Key issues managers of volunteers and not-for-profit organisations need to consider to successfully involve young people in their volunteer programs

Young People and Volunteering

More and more young people in Australia are becoming involved in volunteering.  Volunteering enables young people to gain new skills and knowledge and can be a great pathway to gaining paid employment.  It helps young people build their personal and professional development, while at the same time giving them an opportunity to build on skills or interests they may have acquired, by gaining practical experience in applying these in a workplace.

Volunteering is a fun way for young people to meet new people while supporting causes that they feel passionate about.

1: Fast facts
Resources that will help you to quickly gain an understanding of young people and give you a good starting point for building your knowledge.

Profile of Young Australians: Facts, Figures & Issues
This website will appeal to people who are looking at ways to involve young people in their programs.  While it does not have a direct focus on volunteering, it provides a comprehensive overview of all things related to young people, including how to engage young people, ideas for successful recruitment etc.  Information is presented in a clear and concise format and the website is easy to navigate.
Copyright owner/publisher: The Foundation for Young Australians

Recruiting Youth Volunteers
This online information sheet discusses the special needs of youth volunteers, and offers practical suggestions and ideas on how to recruit and keep them, what drives them away, and how your organisation can attract them.
Copyright owner/publisher: Our Community

Social Participation of Young People
A snapshot of volunteer participation by 18- to 24-year-olds, including the most common types of volunteer work undertaken, reasons for becoming involved and recruitment methods.
Copyright owner/publisher: Australian Bureau of Statistics

2: Strategies for organisations
The resources listed in this section are aimed at providing more in-depth information on young people.  The resources will help managers of volunteers and not-for-profit organisations work out some key strategies for successfully involving young people in their volunteering programs.

Taking Young People Seriously: Consulting Young People about their Ideas and Opinions: A Handbook for Organisations Working with Young People
This handbook provides a guide for organisations on how to effectively consult with young people.  There is an emphasis on the importance of organisations understanding the perspectives of young people, so as to ensure that services and events are relevant and appropriate.
Copyright owner/publisher: Youth Affairs Council of Victoria

Volunteering and Youth Development: Making a Positive Difference
This is a good practice guide for not-for-profit organisations, providing information on how to apply good practice in volunteering to a youth development environment.
Copyright owner/publisher: AusYouth

Engaging Generation Y - Training Module
This site offers a suite of materials for running a workshop to engage young people as volunteers.  The materials include trainer notes, a slide show, and workbook for participants and is aligned with nationally recognised units of competency.
Copyright owner/publisher: Government of South Australia, Office for Volunteers

3: Research findings, reports and articles
Research into young people and volunteering is a growing area.  As new research resources are identified they will be added to this section.

Passions, People and Appreciation: Making Volunteering Work for Young People
Report findings based on a project that explored volunteering by young people aged 16 to 24 years, including findings on the kinds of volunteering in which young people participate, the reasons for involvement, and the benefits gained by young people and organisations.
Copyright owner/publisher: National Youth Affairs Research Scheme

The Faces of Volunteering: a special report by Wesley Mission Sydney - Youth the Future Volunteers
This online report focuses on the findings of a study of young volunteers undertaken by the Wesley Mission, Sydney.  It looks at the motivations of young volunteers and the challenges and issues that organisations need to be aware of.
Copyright owner/publisher: Wesley Mission, Sydney

Fearless and Flexible - Views of Gen Y: a qualitative study of people aged 16 to 24 in Australia
These findings are based on eight focus groups conducted in 2006 to investigate the attitudes and experiences in learning and work of young Australians.  While not specific to the volunteer sector, the study provides a good framework for organisations who want to further their knowledge on the issues faced by young people today.
Copyright owner/publisher: Dusseldorp Skills Forum

If you are interested in further reading on this subject or perhaps conducting or participating in research yourself, Volunteering Australia offers two services which may interest you.

The Australian Volunteering Library Network (AVALON) is a network of libraries across Australia specialising in resources on volunteering. Current members of the network are: Volunteering Australia, Volunteering Australia Darwin Resource Centre, Volunteering NSW, Volunteering QLD, Volunteering SA, Volunteering TAS and Volunteering VIC. To view the online library catalogue, click here.

To find out about current research projects and emerging trends, and to make contact with researchers on volunteering, visit our researchers' database. The database can be searched by state, sector, research theme and demographics.

Acknowledgments: Volunteering Australia would like to thank all organisations and authors who have given us permission to include their resources free of charge in this Subject Guide. We also acknowledge and thank members of the reference group who contributed to the reviewing and evaluating of materials for this guide: Kelly Betts (Inspire Foundation), Mary Briggs (RAAF Museum), Ashley Perez (The Foundation for Young Australians) and Margot Willumsen (Volunteering Australia).

From: Volunteering Australia
© Volunteering Australia

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