After a slow start to the year we are up and running and raring to go at www.hallsforhire.com.au! We have started on our long list of upgrades, some of them you will start to notice in the next month, most of them you won’t (but we do!), and we are super excited that these upgrades will make the site easier to use, run faster, get your listings seen more and work better for everyone!

As we move forward, we know that many of you are also looking forward to how you can engage the next generation to support your hall and your organisation (maybe even help run the hall itself?!). So this week we asked Kerry Grace from Evolve Network to talk about how to do just that!

Chances are you have fond memories of your hall which tell you how important the community asset is. But have the young people in your community had the same chance to engage in the benefits of your community and your community meeting space?  Probably not.


It’s not just the generation gap, volunteering for your hall will most likely appear towards the bottom of a list of competing priorities such as sports, online gaming, television soaps, friends and social life, social media and perhaps homework and assignments. But all is not lost. The younger generation are not entirely un-engagable! Try some of the following strategies on for size:

1.       Go to where the young people are:  Don’t wait for them to come to you, they probably won’t. Go out and find them! Know a young person? Whether it’s your grandchild, a committee members child, a next door neighbour, make sure they know about your hall and why they should care about it. Go to schools and speak to a music, history or art class, visit career advisor's, talk to sporting groups, (if you are a Guides or Scouts group you already have this made!). Speak with your ‘hall hat’ on and make sure they see your passion, hear your story and understand the importance of your community and their volunteering experience.

2.       Involve them in decision making:  Why not go the whole mile and engage young people in the process of making decisions either as part of your committee / a member of a sub-group or a youth representative. Get them to design their role and teach them the ropes of governance. Don’t think for a second that young people won’t be interested – granted, many won’t however you might just have the opportunity to nurture the governance skills of a future fortune 500 company leader, a not for profit manager, or for that matter your future chairperson.

3.       Make working with you appealing:  Of course the hall needs to be swept but that doesn't mean sweeping needs to be the sole role of your young volunteer. Ask them what they care about, what they know and design a role to fit. Teach them that even computer programmers need to sweep the floor on occasion! Gen Y’s have a burning social conscience. They want to help you because it’s a good community minded thing to do – but they also want to nurture the things they care about and have fun at the same time. The more you can create room for this, the more appealing your cause becomes.


 4.       Check your booking terms:  Do you want young people to book your hall?  It’s not necessarily going to be doom and gloom. Every time you allow a young person to book your hall be it for their 18th birthday party, a band performance or Karaoke night, they are building those fond memories about the hall and growing an attachment to the community asset. Is your hall accessible to young people? It starts with the booking form. Ask a group such as your local school’s student representative council to read over your hall hire terms and conditions and gauge their response and suggestions. (You can always add in security charges or conditions if you are concerned) 

5.       Share your story:  Of course we are all more likely to engage in a cause and support people we care about. Let them get to know you, share your story, make your ‘why’ big. Imagine young people sharing that story – that is volunteer attraction gold.

 6.       Understand that volunteers may be transient:  How will you capture the skills of your volunteers and share them? Can you priorities skill sharing as part of your organisational objectives? Why? Because young people have a lot to teach you and it’s more than likely that after a short window of time they will move on. If you are located in a small country town where your largest export is your young people you’ll be particularly aware of this. How can you nurture a culture of skill sharing? Who knows, your young volunteers may also come to value the skills that you’d like to share with them too!


Would you like some more ideas about sustaining your community hall and creating action in your community? Kerry Grace runs an online program that we found and love, Kickstart My Community. The program is for people who love their community and are ready for action.  It’s very similar to a computer helpline but with your community in mind.  Find out more here
 or contact Kerry Grace at Evolve Network on 02 6568 1162 or kgrace@evolvenetwork.com.au

Kerry Grace is a values based consultant based in regional Australia who facilitates resourceful, collaborative and strengths based solutions. Kerry works with individuals and collectives of people (in business, not for profits and common cause communities) to connect with what matters and undertake immediate action to fulfil their purpose.