Youth Volunteers: A Guide to Best Practices (for Non-Profit Organizations)

  • June 10, 2024

    Posted by: Kamillah El-Giadaa

    Engaging youth volunteers offers a unique opportunity to inspire a new generation of changemakers. From our experience hosting the Engaging Youth Volunteers Workshop a few years ago, we've gathered insights and best practices to help your organization successfully involve young people in your volunteer programs.

    A Solid Foundation

    Starting with a strong foundation is key. Our workshop manual provides an essential guide on beginning your journey with youth volunteers. It covers the basics of engagement and sets the stage for the more detailed aspects of managing young volunteers effectively.

    Email to receive information on Engaging Youth Volunteers!

    Provincial Requirements

    Diving into the specifics, it's important to address the legal considerations of engaging youth volunteers. While specific volunteer regulations might not be available, we can look to the Young Employees Employment Standard for guidance, especially for those aged 13-15. It's rare to have volunteers under 13 unless they are participating alongside a parent, and those over 16 are often treated similarly to adults, though parental consent remains a requirement.

    We highly recommend all youth volunteers to complete a Young Worker Readiness Certificate Course before beginning their volunteering journey. This ensures they are well-prepared and understand the responsibilities involved. Additionally, familiarizing yourself with employment standards for young workers will help ensure your program aligns with best practices for engaging youth aged 13-15.

    Administration and Consent

    When it comes to administration, engaging youth mirrors the process for adults but with the added step of obtaining parental permission. We've attached an example of an agreement that includes the necessary parental signatures, along with information on the Young Workers Certificate for youth volunteers.

    Email to Receive the Event Volunteer Waivers Resource Package

    Resources to Elevate Your Program

    Several resources can bolster your youth engagement strategy:

    1. Volunteer Toronto's Youth Virtual Volunteer Engagement Playbook offers tools like a "Pressure Test," Marketing Toolkit, CheckIn Template, and Feedback Survey, all of which we found invaluable in 2020. They're also open to consultations.
    2. VolPro provides insights on teen volunteering and how to engage young people effectively.
    3. WildApricot shares strategies for involving young volunteers in their blog.

    Engaging youth in volunteering not only benefits your organization but empowers young people to develop skills, build confidence, and make a positive impact on their communities. By following these best practices and leveraging available resources, you can create a welcoming and productive environment for young volunteers!


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