'Youth-proof' your websites, volunteering groups told

Volunteering organisations need to 'youth-proof' their websites to capture the attention of young people and increase their chances of recruiting young volunteers, according to Volunteering England.

The volunteer development organisation has collaborated with young people’s online charity YouthNet to identify factors relating to the success of websites with young people. These include ease of navigation, use of accessible language and choice of images.

“The way people interact with websites is constantly evolving and charities that know how to capture young people’s attention have the edge in fundraising, recruiting volunteers and gaining awareness and support,” said Clare Davies, volunteering development officer at Volunteering England.

Charities including VSO, the Choose Action Network and a number of Volunteer Centres have signed up for a project run by the organisation to help more than 20 charities youth-proof their websites.

The project, which will take place during national Student Volunteering Week from 25 February to 2 March, will involve 16 to 25 year-olds providing constructive feedback on participating charities’ websites. It is part of Volunteering England’s Virtual Volunteering Programme, launched in May 2007, which helps students to volunteer through virtual channels.

Davina Pilkington, student volunteering development coordinator at Volunteering England, said: “We hope the project will generate more opportunities for students to get involved with volunteering. For example, when the feedback is implemented there may be opportunities for students of web design or journalism to get involved.”

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