Engaging Disadvantaged Youths in Volunteering: What Works in Recruitment?
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The underrepresentation of disadvantaged youth in volunteering is partly due to the recruitment strategies and methods of organizations, especially when organizations only recruit youngsters from their own network. This study aimed to explore what is needed to successfully recruit disadvantaged youth. Semi structured interviews were conducted and the data were analysed with the help of concepts derived from the rational prospecting theory. Participants were sixteen recruiters who work in an organization that is known for being successful in recruiting disadvantaged youth into volunteering. Results showed that almost three-quarters of the organizations recruit young people through their own social network. Other methods, which cost more time and money, were mentioned to be used mainly when their own network was not (yet) built. Organizations were able to reach disadvantaged youth because they actively targeted them in all their recruitment methods. The findings of this study indicate that recruitment of these youngsters can be done with minimal costs once an organization has gained a high reputation in their network. This study does emphasize that, in order to recruit and retain disadvantaged youth, which in turn helps to gain a high reputation, an organization should actively target and celebrate diversity.