Become a Guest Columnist

Guest Column Guidelines

The Basics

Submissions: All submissions should be shared with The Youth Cafe’s editorial staff at

Suggested length: 600-1,000 words

Exclusivity: The Youth Cafe only publishes original, exclusive content that has not already been published elsewhere. For more details, please see the “reprint” section below.

Pitches: If you have an idea for a guest column, please contact to discuss.We will be happy to work with you to refine your idea for the The Youth Cafe audience.

Audience: The Youth Cafe audience is made up of your peers — emerging young leaders and champions and leaders looking for strong, forward-looking, visionary opinions that advance debate and showcases innovative solutions to pressing youth development challenges. Your column should be directly relevant to the youth development community’s work and provide your peers with practical ideas about how to make an impact.

Timeline: The turnaround time for op-eds depends on a variety of factors. Some of these include how time-sensitive the op-ed is, whether edits and revisions are required and the capacity of The Youth Cafe’s editorial staff. As much lead time as possible is always appreciated! If you have an op-ed that is tied to a specific day, event, conference, or news hook, let us know in the body of the e-mail so we can be sure to build it into our schedule. We’re always happy to discuss pitch ideas in advance of those events, even if you don’t yet have a draft written.

The Writing

Your column should make a clear argument or stake out a clear point of view. Consider these suggestions as you write:

● Think backwards from a headline (e.g. Why more organizations should engage in public-private partnerships; The problem with Earth Day).

● Focus less on the “why” than the “how” (ie., don’t dwell on why a particular cause is important but detail what various stakeholders working with young people should do differently now to achieve results).

● Consider organizing your ideas around a number of suggestions (e.g. Three ways to make your partnerships more effective; Five things I learned from working at the International Youth Foundation).

● Back up your argument with real-world examples, telling anecdotes, respected research and independent reporting. If you refer to another article or research paper, please provide the URL links. If you have statistics or data, please provide a link to the source.

● Instead of focusing the op-ed on one particular program or policy, instead focus on the lessons learned from these programs or policies that could be applicable elsewhere.(We’ll take op-eds outlining successes, but we learn just as much from the failures!)

● We are happy to provide examples of strong op-eds that have really resonated with our audience to help you think through how to craft an impactful piece for The Youth Cafe.

Style: Our audience is looking for opinion pieces that stimulate discussion and affect change. Your column should be conversational and easy to digest. The Youth Cafe will not publish press release-type content that simply describes or champions individual development projects or causes. If you refer to your own organization, please do so only as a way to further your argument or make industry-wide recommendations for others to follow.

Sponsored op-eds: The Youth Cafe’s Advertising Strategies team offers paid op-eds that allow you to focus more on your company, program or initiative. Whereas our news op-eds need to take a broader view of the industry with limited mentions of individual projects or policies, our sponsored op-eds are identified as paid content and allow you to showcase the achievements of your organization -- especially those which could help other global youth development actors operate more effectively. If you have a promotional budget and prefer this style of op-ed, we’d love to connect you with our colleagues on the Advertising Strategies team.

The Process

Editing: The Youth Cafe editor will review your column for style and clarity. Any substantial changes will be cleared with you before publication. The Youth Cafe retains final editorial discretion and is not obligated to publish your work.

Photo: Your column will run with an illustrative photo. If you have rights to any relevant photos or would like to suggest where we might find a relevant photo, please share this information with us. Please include a description, as well as the name of the person or organization we would credit for the photo.

Byline: Your column will carry your byline, which will link to your profile. If your column has been approved for publication, please follow these steps:

● Send us your photo, location, short bio (2-3 sentences) and the email address you’d like to associate with your account, so that a profile can be created for you by The Youth Cafe staff. If you’re active on social media, you’re welcome to include your Twitter handle as well.

Publication: Our op-eds are published on The Youth Cafe homepage. They are usually promoted in our newsletters and on social media.

The Promotion

Social media promotion: Once your column is published, we will send you a link to it. Please promote this link, tagging @TheYouthCafe, through your and your organization’s social media outlets including Twitter, Instagram and Facebook.The Youth Cafe will be doing the same. Feel free to contact The Youth Cafe editor to coordinate this promotion.

Reprints: 48 hours after publication on The Youth Cafe, other websites, including your own blog or organizational website, may reprint the first three paragraphs of the column before linking to the complete column on the The Youth Cafe website. The Youth Cafe should be prominently credited as the original publisher. Please contact The Youth Cafe editor with questions about this policy.