The holiday season is here – and with it are opportunities to spend time with family, take days off from work and, often, a greater sense of wanting to help those in need. So the holidays should be a great time to volunteer, right?
Actually, volunteering ANY time of year is a great idea. But if you are motivated to volunteer this holiday season, you might want to contact your local United Way to find a volunteer opportunity that is right for you.
It’s a fact: the demand for volunteer opportunities at the holidays often exceeds the need for volunteers. While it is wonderful that people are inspired to volunteer, it can be frustrating for the organizations – who need volunteers year round and can’t always handle the surge of interest, and for volunteers – who may be disappointed that they can’t serve when they have the most time and interest.
United Ways are responding by helping nonprofits get the word out about their needs now and throughout the rest of the year. For example, “Five Thing You Need to Know Before You Volunteer this Holiday Season” from United Way of King County offers great tips for holiday volunteers. Heart of Florida United Way produces a holiday guide with opportunities for volunteer holiday meal service, holiday volunteer opportunities, agency donations/wish list items, and other opportunities. You can find the guide on the home page of Heart of Florida United Way’s website. In addition, Heart of Florida United Way is organizing a volunteer event focused on hunger and homelessness in early 2014, since many of the volunteer requests are focused on feeding people over the holidays. United Way of Greater Philadelphia and Southern New Jersey also produces “The Holiday Network”, and directs companies and other donors to it as requests to volunteer come in.
And if the holidays come and go and you are still wanting to do more to advance the common good? Take our pledge to be a volunteer reader, tutor or mentor. Helping a child stay in school and on track will make a difference – for many holidays to come!