Recruiting College Students to Volunteer

Research shows that a high percentage of nonprofits try and involve students.  Many college students, groups and individuals alike are motivated to help nonprofits for different reasons. As mentioned before, many students are looking for networking opportunities and a chance to build their resume. In addition, college students are willing to work for free and they are the future of our country; finding a college student to help your organization may be easier than you think.

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Members of Phi Sigma Pi participated in the Morgantown American Cancer Society’s Relay for Life Event. Photo Courtesy of Erin Marosi.

Many sororities and fraternities on WVU’s campus partner with nonprofits to do service projects. I took an in-depth look at one organization here on campus that helps local nonprofit organizations. Phi Sigma Pi is a service fraternity that brings students together with three main goals: scholarship, leadership, and fellowship.

Katherine Anderson is a senior at WVU studying Economics. She has been a member of Phi Sigma Pi for four years now. “Since I have been a part of Phi Sigma Pi, I have participated in several service projects,” said Anderson. “In the past we have made cards for the children’s hospital at WVU, worked with Habitat for Humanity and it’s local RESTORE, participated in the Polar Plunge, sent packages to our soldiers overseas, and participated in street clean-ups every semester.”

Anderson said the fraternity initially chooses the nonprofit they would like to work with, but sometimes certain circumstances such as time and number of volunteers prohibits their first choice.

So how do you get a group of college students willing to work with you? Angelin Alicea says flyers, social networking, and school service initiatives are the best way to recruit college students and get them involved. Tobi Johnson outlines six ways to get busy college students involved in your local nonprofit organization. One of the most important points she makes is to tap directly into what motivates students.

“I try to do events that I’m interested in like the dance marathon so it’s enjoyable for me,” said junior exercise physiology major Kylie Garner. “I like participating because I’m helping other people, but I’m only motivated to participate if I’m interested in the cause.”

Johnson says the most important way to involve college students is to make a heart-to-heart connection. By making this connection, organizations can potentially build a relationship with a life-long volunteer or at least gain a volunteer for the time the student is in college. In addition, many college students help organizations at no cost, allowing self-investment and organization improvement for free. Thus, there are many benefits to using college students to further your mission and your organization.

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