Connecting with other nonprofits and schools in the community can increase the volunteer and leadership development opportunities for students. Consider connecting student volunteers with the following:
- Community agencies that work around specific issues of interest to SVLs.
- Volunteer groups at another university that may be serving in different ways, such as through alternative breaks.
- Community leadership opportunities, such as serving on boards at local agencies.
- Other academic departments to bridge gaps on campus and strengthen the service movement.
- Training opportunities, such as seminars or conferences located in or near your town.
- Professional associations (particularly nonprofit professional associations) for the opportunity to meet leaders in a field that interests them, become aware of important issues in that field, and possibly find other volunteer, internship, or job positions.
Formalize the SVL Experience
Formalizing student volunteers' leadership experience validates their roles and provides them with future growth opportunities. In addition to developing flexible volunteer position descriptions and helping students translate their service to their resumes, consider:
- utilizing forms for class credit,
- writing letters of recommendation, and
- conducting formal performance evaluations for your volunteers.
If you encourage SVLs to reference your organization when applying for future programs, internships, or jobs, be sure that your organization is prepared to keep records on the student volunteer leaders. This will ensure that students receive an honest and prompt reference, even if their immediate supervisor is no longer with the organization.
NOTE: If your organization is prepared to maintain records of student volunteer leaders, be sure to establish procedures for protecting the security of student information as you would for other organization staff.
Click the following links to access templates designed to help you support student volunteer skills development: