Should Your Non-Profit Close During the Holidays?

November 13, 2019 | 270 views

Should Your Non-Profit Close During the Holidays?
Should Your Non-Profit Close During the Holidays?

The holiday season is one filled with unusual attributes. There are celebrations, parties, and very full social calendars. Families have holidays scheduled, and children are home from school.

Deciding to close down during the holidays can be a difficult decision for a non-profit board to make. As much as each person might personally like the time off, leaders hesitate to leave the phone and turn off the lights. But if staff, many of whom are volunteers, are not as available to help, there may be fewer people to keep things going. 

It might be impossible to consider a temporary hiatus if your services are particularly needed in the holiday season. But if you are not confined by the dates and if your agency is not especially focused on providing services around the holidays, then there are good reasons to take a break over the holidays.

Create Employee Goodwill

Everyone needs a break, and if the holidays are quiet, go ahead. Take a hint from manufacturing companies who simply close for a week or two over the holidays. These days are freebies given to all employees, and they really appreciate knowing in advance that every holiday will be available to them regardless of tenure or rank.

Employees return to work ready, with their own vacation time preserved. Rather than holiday parties, the time off creates goodwill with employees.

Reduce Overhead

The financial benefit for a non-profit is the reduced overhead during a temporary shut down. Labor for wage employees drops to nothing, and expenses are a little lower for lights, fuel, and other operating expenses. Saving a little now leaves a bit more to use for your charitable work after the holidays when donations tend to drop off.

Prepare to Close

Closing down an agency for the holidays does take some planning and organization. Notifying employees is key, and scheduling their time to assist with close-down and reopening might be necessary weeks in advance. Administrative tasks need tending to and can often be pre-set. Finances, accounts payable and other priorities must be in order to avoid issues but, by planning ahead, the time can be a welcome break for every level of employee. 

If the winter is not the time for you to close the doors temporarily, it might still be a good idea at other slow times for your organization. The time away will regenerate the giving spirit that you work so hard to instill and spread the rest of the year. Serving your clients is the top priority. Combined with thoughtful attention to the best time to schedule a company-wide break, you will serve your population with refreshed vigor, happier employees, and lower costs.

Author Profile Jon Forknell is the Vice President and General Manager of Atlas Business Solutions, Inc., a software marketing company specializing in employee scheduling software, including ScheduleBase employee scheduling software, and other business software solutions. In the past, Jon has been recognized by the U.S. Small Business Administration as a SBA Young Entrepreneur of the Year. Atlas Business Solutions was named as one of Software Magazine’s Top 500 Software Companies in 2004 through 2007, and 2010, 2013, 2014, 2016, 2017, and 2018.

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