Many people choose to volunteer during the holiday season. If you plan to volunteer this year, though, you should schedule your participation with the non-profit organization you want to work with soon. That’s because whether you’re planning on ringing a Salvation Army bell, serving food at a homeless shelter, or visiting a hospital to spread good cheer, it may take time to find a project. The same goes for group engagements.
Why is it that during this, the "Season of Giving", it's so hard to volunteer?
Many volunteer opportunities require training. Organizations that rely on volunteers — like tutors, hospital candy stripers, library group readers, or museum and zoo tour leaders — need them to show skill proficiency. They also have to understand the organizations’ rules.
Other organizations require a time commitment. In many organizations, much of the work that’s done is completed by volunteers. The time the volunteers invest help the organization’s leaders create plans around the number of people who can be assisted and the types of services that can be provided. By asking for time commitments, the organization's leadership team can see when certain volunteers' commitments are ending and can plan to adjust their plans accordingly.
Many people also want to volunteer right now. Regular volunteers have already signed up for their "volunteer days" when the influx of one-time-only volunteers begins. Some organizations simply don't have enough room for the new additions. They may suggest a project that can be done on one's own that would support the organization like a coat, toy, or food drive. Some organizations, however, may suggest moving your personal volunteer day to January, when there are donations to sort through and the influx of volunteers has dwindled.
Often groups can be accommodated, but they may not be able to get their preferred date. In these instances, groups may be able to volunteer midweek. Do be warned, though, groups tend to choose their dates at least a month out.
If your organization wants to volunteer this season, consider bringing a give-back event to you! Our event designers can design a program around other events like happy hours or meals. They'll even provide options so that you and your team can give back to the cause of your choice -- hunger, homelessness, education, or veteran aid.