We are constantly getting questions from users about age requirements for volunteer opportunities...their son is a high school student needing service hours, they're looking for ways to volunteer with their family, etc. Currently, age minimum is not required when posting a volunteer need and I would like to see it required (or at least give site managers the option to make it required for their site).
But first--there are a few issues with how Get Connected currently clumps all age conversation into "age minimum" (and maximum) and "family friendly: Y/N."
I'm open to other input here, but I believe we could get better answers from agency managers if they were asked two questions: 1) age minimum with parent/guardian, and 2) age minimum without parent/guardian.
This enhancement would make our site more friendly for volunteers under age 18 and families hoping to volunteer together....both groups that we want to serve as best as possible!
With our partners, they often think the "family friendly" applies to the volunteer activity itself and not the volunteer. I am also still not sure where a maximum age for a volunteer might even come into play (I work with college students, so obviously it wouldn't come up for us at all.)
Hi Andrew, I have noticed that a few of our agencies utilize the age maximum for things like youth committees. For most volunteer opportunities an age maximum just isn't applicable or appropriate. I am happy Get Connected made the switch from making it a required question to optional.
Thanks for the suggestions. To my knowledge, age has never been a required question on the need form. "Family friendly" typically refers to the activity itself, and we added this option because it kept coming up as a request, where people wanted to know if it was OK to bring their children to the volunteer opportunity. I agree that it's not as specific as entering an exact age for an opportunity. If you are looking for young volunteers but the opportunity is not one where you want people bringing their kids (or their little brothers and sisters), I would recommend skipping the "Family Friendly" question altogether.
I can bring up the idea of giving the site manager the option of making the age question optional or required. This will probably need to be expanded to all questions, since some people my want the indoor/outdoor or wheelchair-accessible questions to be optional/required as well.
I can also bring up the idea of differentiating between age minimum with parent/guardian and age minimum without. For now, the best thing to do would be to clarify the age minimum in either the need description or in the attributes. (Info entered as attributes show up in the "More Information" section of the need posting.
Thanks so much for all of your suggestions, Kayla!
The ability for site managers to make questions on the need form optional or required would be incredible! I would also appreciate you bringing up the age minimum with or without parent/guardian to your team. While I can continue to emphasize the importance of including this information in the body or under attributes while posting, many (understandably) think the job is done if they've filled out the age minimum and/or hit the family friendly button. As a Volunteer Center making referrals and being expected to answer questions about the volunteer opportunities we promote - I've found that the existing options leave a lot of questions to be answered, particularly for younger folks or families hoping to volunteer together. Thanks for your reply!