‘Tis the Season for Innovation and Engagement in Your Volunteer Program

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You may have seen this post earlier this week on Katya’s Nonprofit Marketing BlogKatya is COO of Network for Good. Check out her blog to learn about nonprofit marketing, fundraising, social media and doing good in the world better and faster.

The holiday season is coming up and nonprofits are already being deluged with reminders and ideas on using the final months of the year to hit up donors for cash.

And why not! In a truly wonderful coincidence, at precisely the same time religious and cultural tradition is tugging at the hearts of millions of Americans, the IRS is right there too, nudging folks to save on next year’s taxes by giving today.

The Holidays Are a Season of Service, Too

While your nonprofit may not raise money year round, you still probably recognize the power of campaigning during the holidays. Well, for smart organizations, the same goes for volunteer engagement.

From Halloween through the New Year, the same spirit that drives financial giving also inspires supporters to give their time – which is why each year we see huge spikes in traffic at VolunteerMatch.org right around now.

But even if your organization doesn’t usually have special holiday volunteer programs, you can still create opportunities that align with your mission while also bringing in tens or even hundreds of new volunteers through your doors.

For example, a social services agency can put together an event for families to design holiday gift cards for those they help. This may be a fairly low-priority need for the organization, but remember: every volunteer can later be engaged to help in more impactful ways, and odds are good they’ll eventually give money, too.

For ideas to get you started, begin at VolunteerMatch.  A simple search for active opportunities with the keyword “holiday” may open your eyes. Here’s a link you can use to more than 800 examples.

It’s About Trying Something New

This is just one example of how nonprofits can think creatively about leveraging their volunteer programs in innovative and strategic ways. As a nonprofit manager, it’s always a good idea to try new methods to build your own capacity and be an asset for your organization. We know this to be the case when it comes to raising money – and it’s true about volunteer engagement, too.

(Photo: rikki’s_refuge)