Engaging youth a priority for Salvation Army

Widening the Salvation Army’s membership base, especially among the youth, remains high atop the list of priorities for the century old organisation.

According to Paul Bernstein, who recently replaced Victor Roach as Chairman of the Salvation Army's Advisory Board, the time has come for the charity to find new ways of engaging a younger generation of volunteers.

According to Paul Bernstein, who recently replaced Victor Roach as Chairman of the Salvation Army’s Advisory Board, the time has come for the charity to find new ways of engaging a younger generation of volunteers.

The Salvation Army, which has a presence in 126 countries, was founded in 1865, with the local arm established in 1898.

“We have to make volunteer work more attractive for young people. Sometimes we become so cause-focused that we forget to properly integrate volunteering roles that are attractive to the volunteering workforce, including younger volunteers and those who have less time to give,” says Bernstein.

Many organisations often forget that volunteering is an exchange – time and talents from the volunteer, which should be equally matched with high-quality training, support and endorsement from the organisation.

The chairman added; “This enables the volunteer to undertake a role that they enjoy and the organisation to benefit from – and want to retain – the volunteer.”

Locally speaking, Bernstein said much could still be done at the grassroots level where resources for volunteer engagement remained scarce.

“While we continue to operate in a challenging environment, we must create a spectrum of volunteering activities that will attract people at different stages of their personal development. This will ensure that we appeal to a wide range of people with different skills and experiences,” he said.

Traditionally, the major fundraising effort of the Salvation Army has been its annual Christmas Kettle Appeal, which Bernstein said would be continued with renewed vigour this year.

We expect the needs of the less fortunate to be even greater than last year. While things have been tough for everyone, it is our hope that Barbadians will rise above their own challenges and give sacrificially to those who are at even greater risk.”

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