Best Practices for Youth Engagement

MaximilianEyleMaximilianEyle Posts: 14 ✭✭✭
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edited December 2022 in Grants & Scholarships

We are preparing to launch a new program that would invite funding proposals from local youth (12-24 age range). We want to make the process accessible and invite creative approaches for applicants to share their vision and ideas.

I'm curious to hear some ideas about the dos and don'ts when it comes to getting teenagers excited about applying. We have considered allowing (but not requiring) video proposals, but I'm sure there are many other approaches that we haven't considered.

What have you done that worked? What guidelines would you recommend?


  • Good morning, @MaximilianEyle . I came across this blog on the Foundant website (Resources section) that might be useful:

    I'm also tagging our Product Owner, @SammieHolzwarth , who is or was involved in youth philanthropy and may have some suggested resources.

    All best,


    #nextgen #youthphilanthropy

  • SammieHolzwarthSammieHolzwarth Posts: 14 ✭✭✭
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    HI @MaximilianEyle,

    As Ashley mentioned, I have worked with our local Youth Giving Program for roughly 5 years. While in our programs it is students evaluating grant applications from local nonprofits and not students applying I think keeping the process engaging is important.

    We have decided that applications really shouldn't be more than ten questions and that if you can frame questions in a fun one way the answers will be great. Here is one of my favorites "If you could have one superpower what would be, and how would you use it to solve a community need?"

    That said, video is also always super engaging.

    The other thing I have found is that the network effect really works with this demographic, having them recommend or share the opportunity will create excitement.

    Excited to hear more about your program and to hear others' thoughts for creating excitement!


  • MaximilianEyleMaximilianEyle Posts: 14 ✭✭✭
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    Thank you so much for the replies and ideas! I appreciate the feedback.

  • KatherineScottKatherineScott Posts: 6 ✭✭
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    I used to work with youth grantmakers who often asked other youth to apply through an initiative called Youth Philanthropy Connect (which has since closed). Systems like Foundant are easy to use, but you can do a video about how to submit with your face/ webcam (to make it personal). If you want a free place, screencastomatic does this. Make the questions short and easy to get to the idea of what they want to fund. There are great resources for your on philanthropy for kids (like One fact I love is just how much change happens in the community as a result of a youth project. If you can, make it so they can see the whole application ahead of time (before making a login) and how to know if they can apply. I wonder how you can get the application to trusted adults at youth centers, teachers, and other teen engagement programs to help support youth. My favorite grant application ever as a grantmaker was from a young person and his class. The youth had been homeless and wanted places for babies to sleep at shelters. It was a basic request and the lowest cost one, but it meant the young person and their whole class had talked about his experience being homeless and his fear for the babies in the shelter. It was a big move and a need that others had not funded before.

    I am curious- have you thought about having youth help review proposals? I wonder how they might invite their peers to share great ideas, if so!



  • MaximilianEyleMaximilianEyle Posts: 14 ✭✭✭
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    edited February 2021

    Thank you,@KatherineScott! I really like your idea of creating a video guide that shows them how to apply. Also, we agree that reaching out to community partners to help spread the word and encourage participation would be an important step to increasing engagement. I'll also be sure to run the idea of inviting youth into the review process by our team to see what they think. Thanks again for sharing your ideas.

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