Inbox: Wanted: Young blood

Attracting younger people to their organisations is one of the biggest challenges facing the non-profit sector during the economic downturn. As the average age of members and volunteers continues to rise, associations and charities are keen to find ways to revitalise their organisations with young blood.
A human resources conference for non-profits, People ByAssociation, organised by the New Zealand Association Resource Centre Trust (NZARCT) in Auckland later this month, will provide some answers on engaging with young people and the best recruitment channels to use.
The power of galvanising young people to take action for cause was highlighted by the student army after the Christchurch earthquake in 2011, says NZARCT trustee, Rosemarie Dawson. “This was an incredible triumph for the youth of that city and shows what can happen when powerful connection is made.”
AIESEC NZ vice-president for organisational development Josh Levent, who will speak at the conference about how to recruit the Facebook generation, says many non-profits remain unaware of the specific benefits young people can bring, where to find them and what makes them stay.
“Young people bring their energy and enthusiasm, their new ideas and perspectives, their technological literacy and their social networking skills, especially in understanding the dynamics of social media,” he says.
“Finding the right people is easier than it may seem.” He says 90 percent of young people in New Zealand aged 20-24 use Facebook, which facilitates advertising to specific niche groups. And many university students are looking for volunteer opportunities.
The global AIESEC group is the world’s largest youth-run organisation. It focuses on providing platform for youth leadership development.
Last year, respondents to Charities Commission online survey raised the need to attract younger people as major issue for the non-profit sector.
The People ByAssociation Conference will be held at the Jubilee Building, 525 Parnell Road, on Tuesday, June 19. For more information visit www.associations.org.nz. M

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