Motivating student volunteers can take many forms. Many programs use recognition strategies, make it easy to find volunteer opportunities or even reward top students with the President’s Volunteer Service Award. Yet many schools benefit from volunteers setting a great example on campus everyday. Below are two strategies that not only show volunteer apprciation but also show students how they benefit from volunteers on a daily basis.
Spotlight Existing Volunteers
Parent volunteers abound at most schools. Consider the many nights parents give to participate on Parent Teacher Organizations. Or, how teachers go above and beyond everyday giving their time before and after class to ensure student success. Some of our K-12 partners benefit from volunteer crossing guards who help students get home safely. Many of our high school partners have entire student organizations devoted to volunteerism.
Looking around campus, many schools will find mentors of all kinds who give their time. These may be senior citizens who spend time helping students or, in the case of one school, community businessmen who come in and help students learn to read through a program called, “Real Men Read.” Looking off campus, many organizations allow students to visit their workplace free of charge. They give their time, office resources and more to give students a better understanding of their work. Highlighting these efforts is a great way to show volunteer appreciation and deepen student understanding of the benefits of volunteerism.
Encouraging Volunteerism on Campus
Parents can often provide valuable support to classrooms throughout a students K-12 journey. Yet, in many cases, students do not realize when parents come in after hours to make copies or assist with classroom readiness. Helping students make the connection that these parents are volunteering their time provides students real life examples of the benefits of volunteerism.
Consider how a short write up to say "thank you volunteers" can be shared with students. But, also consider how this write up can include a short appeal for additional parent support. This write up can be provided to students and then take home to parents. The same write up can be shared in periodic communications to ensure the message truly makes its way to the parent’s hands!