|Organizing and implementing the Youth Count requires a strong communications campaign to engage local stakeholders, recruit volunteers, engage organizations and businesses to participate, and encourage youth to come and be counted. CCEH has developed some materials to facilitate the Youth Engagement Team’s ability to effectively reach all of these groups.|
The Youth Count is a statewide effort, but depends on grassroots work in every region. Spreading the word is a combined effort from CCEH and the regional Youth Engagement Teams. Informing people about the youth count through widespread means of communication, such as social media, newspapers, and radio, is important to engage more volunteers, inform homeless youth or young adults that may want to be counted, and educate the public on our efforts to end youth homelessness.
In order to facilitate this effort, CCEH has produced several templates for widespread use to inform people of the youth count and engage organizations and volunteers. In order to access the editable versions of these templates, please email email@example.com.
For more information on volunteering recruitment, click here.
Outreach to volunteers should target young adults between the age of 18 to 25, since focus groups have found that both youth and young adults preferred having the survey administered by an individual above the age of 18.
While it is our recommendation not to have volunteers under the age of 16 participate as volunteers for the Youth Count, this is up to the regional coordinators and YETI leads to decide.
Place posters and flyers advertising the Youth Count as a volunteer opportunity in schools, colleges, and universities through their Student Life Centers, Community Services or Engagement offices, through the social work department, or volunteer clubs.
Be sure to share and post on social media about the Youth Count, targeting community organizations such as those mentioned above.
Reach out to local and regional media outlets with press releases to get the word out about the count. Also consider suggesting that reporters participate in the Youth Count as part of their coverage of the event. A sample press release will be provided when regions can coordinate the release. For more information, contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
The type of communication that would be best to connect with locations depends on the type of location and the goal of the engagement.
There are a wide variety of location types that we are seeking to engage in the youth count.
The purpose of engaging schools is to increase awareness among youth and young adults to encourage them to be counted as well as volunteer. For schools, we have developed a school engagement packet which includes materials to introduce the Youth Count and elaborate on the different levels of involvement. Check out these resources in the school engagement packet below.
For 2018, we are working to engage schools to participate in the School Engagement Packet, Youth Count, and ending youth homelessness by presenting the lesson plan in the packet to their schools during National Homeless and Hunger Awareness week from November 11th -18th.
If your school or a school you are involved with would like to sign up to participate, click here!
♦ Youth Serving Organizations
Youth serving agencies have a wide range – from youth departments of a public library to free clinics or parenting centers – and can function as Come and Be Counted locations, organizational connection, and indoor hotspots.
While these are important points of engagement for the Youth Count, you may also want to have as many youth serving agencies as part of your region’s Youth Engagement Team Initiative as possible. If you are a member of a youth serving agency and would like to be connected to your YETI, please contact email@example.com.
Youth serving agencies can also be Come and Be Counted Locations where you can place volunteers to survey youth and young adults. If the organization’s staff is taking on the task of administering the survey, than this is an organizational connection. If volunteers will visit the organization along their route, then this is an indoor hotspot. Regardless of which category the location falls under, youth serving agencies are an important part of the YETI and the Youth Count!
While businesses are not what we traditionally think of as youth-serving agencies, they can be a popular indoor hotspot for youth and young adults. For example, Dunkin’ Donuts may offer free wifi, or wireless internet, which can provide homeless and unstably housed youth who may not have internet at home or mobile data services with an internet connection. While staff may not be able to administer the survey, they can provide a key hotspot location and share advertising material about the count.
Businesses, as members of the community, are also stakeholders in ending homelessness. While they may not sit on your Youth Engagement Team Initiative, they can be funders to the Youth Count and other regional initiatives.
♦ Outdoor Location
While outdoor spots like under bridges, behind buildings, or public parks may frequented by youth and young adults, it can be challenging to leave communications material in these spaces. Any information or posters that are placed should direct youth to resources, such as to call 211, and a Come and Be Counted location.
Youth Engagement Team Initiatives regions were budgeted a certain amount to spend on offering survey incentives in 2017. We hope to be able to renew this funding in the 2018 fiscal year. These incentives are intended to encourage youth to participate in the survey.
Examples of these incentives include:
- Five-dollar gift cards to popular food locations
- Headphones or other youth-friendly gear
- Coupons for free fries or coffee from nearby locations
While some funding for incentives has been provided in order to engage more youth and volunteers to participate, many Youth Engagement Teams are reaching out further to ask for further contributions for local businesses or community foundations.
♦ Matching Incentives
If you are purchasing a large amount of incentives, such as five-dollar gift cards or coupons, from a business location ask them to match sponsors for you to get more incentives! This can be a strong negotiation tool in determining where to purchase incentives.
Regional Youth Engagement Team Initiatives can pursue grants for the Youth Count incentives and work or for their greater work as a collaboration to end youth homelessness in the region.
If they feel comfortable doing so with you, volunteers encouraged offer to call 211 with any youth or young adult that indicates a need for services. 211 provides services beyond housing, such as referrals and connections to food security services, healthcare, childcare, etc.
All YETI leads have received a template and some follow-up cards from CCEH. Some Youth Engagement Team regions are providing additional material for volunteers to hand out to those taking the survey. Please make sure to check in with your team or regional leads for more on this material.
As we do not want volunteers or other groups to print this material independent of their YETIs, follow-up material is available by contacting firstname.lastname@example.org.