I recently had a wonderful experience when I had the opportunity to speak to a dedicated group of young adults participating in a group associated with the local chapter of a national non-profit organization. It was heartwarming to see that this worthwhile organization was achieving success with one of the serious issues facing the non-profit world.
So many organizations that I work with have the common problem of attrition of the older, established members/volunteers/donors but not attracting younger participants in sufficient numbers. My anecdotal observations show that it is getting harder and harder to get young people involved.
The reasons are many, but the key is in understanding what attracts people, young or old, to get involved. It’s a process. A critical mistake that seems to drive outreach efforts is the idea that organizations must go out and bring people in. The much more effective approach is to attract potential volunteers and donors. This may seem to be just a matter of semantics, but it isn’t. There’s a difference and a distinction between the two.
One is convincing people—selling them, if you will—to get involved; the other is establishing an environment through programming that will make them seek you out. The key is to create a desire for them to want to be a part of things and to make them take the initiative to join.
I have seen this approach be successful many times, it can work for you as well. It’s a great way to build your pool of volunteers, members, and donors.