77.34 million. That’s how many people donated their time to a nonprofit organization last year. 6.9 Billion. That’s how many volunteer hours Americans served last year. Volunteering is a selfless act that is rarely turned down, but not all nonprofits are able to handle the influx of people wanting to serve during the holidays. These charitable organizations operate year-round and need support year-round as well.
Despite millions of volunteers and billions of hours spent giving back, nonprofits find a major discrepancy in the aid they receive. In many cases like this one, a lot of the volunteers who offer to help only do so during the holiday season. Donations of food and volunteer hours are largely accumulated between Thanksgiving and Christmas when the spirit of giving is high. This group of volunteers is sometimes known as “fair-weather volunteers.”
“Festive volunteering might seem like a good thing to do but, in most cases, it primarily benefits the volunteer,” says Coastline Housing’s Operations Manager Derek Mace on the topic of fair-weather volunteering.
To truly serve nonprofits this holiday season, ditch the fair-weather service. These three volunteer tips will give you a new perspective on giving back before, during, and after the holiday season.
1. Make a Donation in Lieu of Volunteering
Small nonprofits usually have their staffing needs met and have difficulty accommodating extra volunteers during the busy holiday season. Donations of money or supplies can go much further in the hands of trained staff. Consider donating money or supplies to your favorite cause rather than volunteering this year. Not sure what to donate? Read on to find out how to give your favorite nonprofit the perfect holiday gift.
2. Fulfill a Nonprofit Wish List
A wish list isn’t exclusive to Santa Clause on Christmas Eve. Your favorite local nonprofit likely has a laundry list of supplies or tasks you can cross off for them without being there physically. Toiletries, nonperishables, technological services, or recurring monetary gifts are popular needs in the nonprofit world.
3. Think Outside of the Volunteer Box
If you’re stumped on how to best give back this holiday season, consider organizations that are lesser-known. Mobile giving apps are an easy way to find these causes and it’s becoming the preferred method of donating to nonprofits. With apps like Givelify, you can search for causes that matter to you and donate to them in just three taps.
Get creative with how you give back his holiday season with these volunteer tips. Volunteering is a great option, but it’s not the only option. Donating money or supplies can be just as beneficial, if not more so, than being present physically. Nonprofits across the country can use help year-round, so spread the joy every day, from any time and anywhere.