If you’re starting a new Young Life ministry or just looking to expand your existing network, a great way to do that is by connecting with Young Life alumni. Young Life alumni are those folks who have attended Young Life club, Campaigners, camp or served on staff, or as a volunteer leader or on committee. Young Life has been introducing kids to Jesus Christ and helping them grow in their faith for 80 years. There are literally millions of adults whose lives have been forever changed through the ministries of Young Life. Every time I have had the privilege of speaking at a church service there are always people who come over after the service to tell me about how they were involved 10, 20,30 or 40+ years ago. Young Life has a long-lasting impact on people and finding people that we can reconnect with the mission as a friend, volunteer, donor, parent or committee member should be part of our area building strategy.
A survey of practicing Christians was conducted by the Barna Group in 2018 for Young Life using an online panel that was a representative national sample. There are stunning results in the report that our active Young Life communities should be aware of as we search to connect with champions or red hot vision carriers in our areas.
Slow down and read that again! Barna’s findings on faith influencers is likewise astounding: 39% of the alumni surveyed indicate that they were introduced to Jesus through Young Life and 68% of those alumni were inspired to share their faith with others. The Barna report may be available on the staff resources website or by request from your Area Director or Regional Director.
Unfortunately, because the entry on the Alumni & Friends Database is self-reported by the contact, I would estimate that there are hundreds of thousands of unregistered alumni across the country and many of them are living in your communities!
Fortunately for us, there is another database that has 165 million active users in the United States and 660 million worldwide users, millions of them who have Young Life connections. That database is called LinkedIn.
The search tools on LinkedIn and their paid Sales Navigator platform allow users to search using a variety of filters including: geography, industry, past companies, schools attended, and keywords. When a member completes their profile, they will often include volunteer experience as well as interests which may be companies they follow and LinkedIn groups that they follow. A search for the keyword “Young Life” in the Greater New York City area returns over 1,000 results. You can more narrowly or broadly target geographic areas as well.
I have recently moved to Orlando, Florida, and have found great success in connecting with Young Life Alumni as I build a network and book of business to develop contacts in the real estate industry for title insurance. Instead of just cold-calling realtors and lenders, I have searched geographically for Young Life alumni who work in real estate. You can do this as well as you look to build your Young Life leader and committee teams.
Say, for example, that you would like to bring someone with event planning experience onto your committee – search within your geography within the industry for event planning using Young Life as a keyword. Alternatively, former volunteers make great future volunteers so do your search and look for those who have been on staff or list volunteer experience with Young Life in their profile. You’ll be pleasantly surprised by the results!
Use the power of LinkedIn to locate and connect with Young Life alumni to grow your network and your ministry. See if they are in the Young Life & Friends database also and, after you have made connections, invite them into Alumni & Friends.