Many high schools require community service. By simply calling up the student development office, any non-profit organization can talk with a local school about student volunteers. The challenge is using the students effectively.
When it comes to high school students, a non-profit organization is very low on the priority list. Students often have homework, sports, activities, events, and more to the point, a life. They don’t want or need one more thing to do.
Flexibility is the key with students. Never, ever rely completely on high school students as your key volunteers for any crucial project. They may be absent, forget about a prior commitment, or who knows what else. There are too many variables involved.
Invest some time assembling a series of small, focused projects that are important, but not under a critical deadline. Clear directions are a must as is soda on most occasions.
Remember, you are immersed in your world and the students most certainly are not. Take a few minutes to explain the big picture of the project: how it fits into the whole of your organization.
If you can find two students to work together, then all the better. I think it’s much easier for multiple students to enter an unfamiliar environment and do new things than it is for a loner.
Lastly, I think that providing some snacks and drinks go much further in expressing appreciation than inviting students to your yearly appreciation event. Cards are nice too, but a little something to make the time go faster has always made quite an impression on students I have worked with.