Leading a youth group can be a highly rewarding experience, but it can also be frustrating recruiting young people into the group and always needing to raise funds to do things with the kids. Here are a few ways to grow your youth group and make sure all of the kids can fully participate in events and activities.
1. Focus on the purpose of the youth group.
You will be able to grow both the youth group’s size and engagement by maintaining a clear focus. If you haven’t already, the youth group should have a vision statement and mission that can be used as a guide for all activities and functions. When you have a clear vision, you can properly market the youth group to young people and their parents within the congregation and the community. It will be easier to create a schedule of upcoming activities and targeted fundraising efforts that support the vision.
2. Plan activities around that focus.
When planning activities, events, and trips, always keep the youth group’s vision and mission as a guiding factor. If you are planning events that do not support the group’s vision, members and their families may become disenchanted with the group and quit or not recommend it to other youth. For faith-based groups with a mission in faith, Bible lessons for youth will be an important function. Making Bible lessons and scripture study sessions fun and engaging will allow the youth members to explore and strengthen their faith beyond going to church because their parents go to church. When you have a church youth group that only engages in social activities that aren’t tied back to the faithful vision or mission, it will deter parents from getting their children involved. It will also be harder to get the support of congregation members for fundraisers if they do not believe the youth group is adhering to the vision.
3. Engage others in your planning.
Youth are more attracted to groups when they feel their voice is being heard. Young people want to be invested in what they are doing. Thus, it is important to include them in the planning of activities, instead of coming up with a bunch of events and telling the youth what they will be doing and when ask them what they want to do. You can use social media to engage them in the conversation and planning of activities and develop a digital leadership for your youth group as well. They will feel more invested and will be more likely to invite friends to join them to grow the group. Engaging parents and congregation members will create a more dynamic group while also getting more support for events and fundraising activities.
4. Utilize a digital fundraising platform.
Fundraising for a youth group can be frustrating when you put a lot of work into an event and don’t raise a lot of money. It can be disappointing for everyone involved and fail to reach the goals needed for the kids. One way you can increase and maximize your fundraising efforts is by utilizing a digital fundraising platform like Engaging Networks that can help nonprofit organizations communicate with donors and provide you with visual reports of any donations you collect. For example, engagingnetworks.net is flexible and fully customizable for groups of all sizes to get the most out of. While no group wants to focus on fundraising, young people mustn’t get excluded from activities because their parents can’t afford them. When doing a fundraiser, be clear about where the money is going and let people know they are directly supporting youth involvement in group activities.
5. Follow through on plans.
When you make plans or schedule activities, make sure you follow through with them. Youth need to trust you and rely on the fact that you stand by what you tell them. Parents also dislike when plans are constantly changing at the last minute. Be sure about an activity before you put it on the calendar and invite youth. While sometimes things happen at the last minute, you do not want it to become an ongoing occurrence.