How to Get More Out of Your Volunteers During the Holidays

December 14, 2016 | 1,946 views

How to Get More Out of Your Volunteers During the Holidays

How to Get More Out of Your Volunteers During the Holidays

‘Tis the most wonderful time of the year. Unfortunately, it’s also the busiest and most chaotic time of the year. For non-profit organizations, this can mean fewer human resources on hand during a time when demand is at peak level.  


Sound familiar? Here are five things you can do to get more out of your volunteers during this festive, but busy time of year.


1. Think Beyond Your Usual Suspects

Some people were built to serve. It’s in their DNA. Others look for opportunities during the time of year where people are reminded to give back – namely, the holidays.

Service groups are often formed in churches, parenting groups, schools, chambers of commerce, and other organizations. These groups come together during the holiday season to give back to their community. Seek out volunteer resources from them. Even though they might not always be the first to step up, you might be surprised at how eager these people are to volunteer now.


2. Gamify the Volunteer Experience

Want to keep people showing up? Make the volunteer experience fun. Play a game with your volunteers to encourage them to log more hours with your organization. Offer prizes to the volunteers with the most hours, track hours like a game, and keep your team excited to show up.


3. Make it a Family Affair

Finding childcare is a huge limitation for many family members. Whenever possible, make the volunteer experience a family affair. If you need extra hands with some heavy lifting, heavy machinery, or other adult-required tasks, try to offer a way for kids to get involved in other areas of your project. For example, if you run a food bank, kids can count cans while the adults unpack pallets.


4. Make a Volunteer Schedule

Ever heard the expression, what gets scheduled gets done? In this case the expression can read, who gets scheduled, shows up. Putting volunteers on the schedule forces them to mentally commit themselves to helping your organization. Use a scheduling app to treat your volunteers as employees of your organization so they feel more invested in showing up.


5. Recognize and Reward the Sacrifice

Volunteering should be a rewarding experience. Recognize the sacrifice they’re making to help propel your mission forward and reward them with gifts of gratitude. Even something as small as providing snacks during their volunteer hours can go a long way in motivating them to show up.


Get More by Giving More

The more you can show your volunteers your appreciation for their hard work, the easier it is to encourage them to show up. Make the experience fun and rewarding, while also treating it like the commitment it should be, and you’ll get more out of your volunteers during the holidays.


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 again in 2010, 2013 and 2014.

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