How to Create an Effective Volunteer Posting Using Volunteer Ottawa

Volunteer Ottawa receives dozens of phone calls and emails from youth every month asking where they can volunteer. Learning to use VO’s ‘Search Volunteer Opportunities’ function can help improve your chances of attracting youth volunteers.

Creating an Effective Volunteer Posting on VO

The Description:

Who are you as a not-for-profit? Tell the story of your organization and what you stand for.

Who do you help? Explain the people, communities and causes you advocate for and how you do it. Youth want to know who they are helping.

What will they be doing as a volunteer? Give a quick summary of their role and responsibilities within the organization. Use accessible language and define technical terms or concepts that may not be clear.

What impact will they have? Convey how the volunteer will help your organization and the people who use your services. Use quotes, examples and statistics to demonstrate how would they make an impact.

What skills are required? Outline what specific skills you are looking for such as communication, IT knowledge, social media, etc.

When and where are they volunteering? Tell youth where and when they would be volunteering, if the hours are flexible and if the work can be done virtually.

Example: We are a small animal advocacy organization that has been working to protect cats since 1997. After seeing a growing number of stray cats in our neighborhood, we knew someone would need to be there to look after them, and Furry Friends was born! Since then, we have worked with city council and other animal welfare organizations to care for stray cats through spaying and neutering programs, fostering and adoption as well as our education and outreach initiatives.

As a youth volunteer attendant, you will help socialize young cats by playing, feeding and interacting with them. This helps young cats get used to humans and makes it more likely they will find their forever home. Over the years, our youth attendants have helped hundreds of cats find love, care and safety.

We are looking for youth volunteers who are patient, love animals and are okay with being covered in fur 24/7. Having some experience working with cats or other animals is an asset. Youth volunteers can work one or more 4 hour shifts per week at our downtown location. A minimum commitment of three months is required.

How will this volunteer opportunity benefit you?

What do youth gain from volunteering for your not-for-profit? Provide examples of the civic, social and educational benefits that youth can gain from working with you.

Example: When youth volunteer as a content writer for our organization, they gain the confidence and skills to develop their own unique writing voice.

How will the organization benefit?

Explain how your organization benefits from the unique perspectives and skills that youth are bring to the table.

Example: Youth volunteer meal servers are crucial to the impact of our organization because we know how eager our older clients are to connect with younger people.

General Tips for Posting Youth Volunteer Positions

  • Do not make assumptions about what youth can or cannot do. While youth are not able to perform certain roles and duties because of age restrictions and safety reasons, it is important to recognize the abilities and potential unique to youth volunteers.
  • Be selective when considering the criteria you apply to volunteering roles. The selected categories should be accurate and reflective of your position. VO has broken down the age categories and has added one for ‘High School Students or Adolescents (14-18)’.
  • When reposting opportunities, do not just copy paste the previous version. If you are not receiving any applications to your post, chances are it is not catching the attention of your intended audience. Reworking the title, description and details to be more youth-friendly (as described in the tips above) will yield more interest.