The holidays are a time for family, friends, food and…volunteer recruitment? Bear with me.
For many volunteer managers at organizations like food pantries and homeless shelters, the holidays are the busiest time of the year. For others, the holidays can seem like a ghost town, as people go on vacation and your next volunteer events are scheduled for after the New Year.
Wherever you fall on this spectrum, the truth is holidays are a great opportunity to recruit new volunteers to your organization, and here’s why:
People want to volunteer. Especially during the holidays. Take it from us – VolunteerMatch traffic goes up by at least 15-20% each year during the holiday season.
So think of the holidays as volunteer training wheels – planning a holiday event will attract new volunteers who are just looking for a place to give back, and give them a reason to walk through your door.
Here are some great examples of holiday-related events you can plan to attract new volunteers. You can also just “rebrand” your existing events with some holiday flair to get those seasonal folks to sign up!
- Help give kids brain candy at Halloween | Books for Treats
- Visit Elderly with meal and gift on Easter, Christmas and/or Thanksgiving | Little Brothers Friends of the Elderly – Cincinnatti
- Pet Food Drive Volunteer for the Holidays | The Senior Hub. Inc., Respite Care Program
It Doesn’t End There
Once you’ve attracted new volunteers with special holiday events and opportunities, it’s important that you help them form a more lasting connection with your organization. When at the event, be sure to introduce yourself personally, get to know them, and thank them for their time. After the event, follow up via email and even phone to thank them again and let them know the impact they made in just that short period of time.
Finally, make sure to include them in any future volunteer communications – they should know how easy it is to become more involved! If you give them a great experience that they know made an impact, chances are they’ll want to do it again and again.
Don’t Limit Your Holidays
“Holidays” happen all year round! Get creative to attract volunteers for Easter, Memorial Day, Passover… and feel free to take advantage of other types of holidays and special themes, as well! For example, October is also Breast Cancer Awareness Month, National Diabetes Month, Adopt a Shelter Dog Month, Domestic Violence Awareness Month, Apple Month and Sarcasm Month. So now all you have to do is plan a “Sarcastic Apple” volunteer event…
How does your nonprofit organization take advantage of the holidays to recruit new volunteers? Share your tips below!