Keeping volunteers engaged over the holidays

The holidays are a great time to stay connected with volunteers and the organization they serve using these suggestions.

The holidays are notoriously a busy time of year, and in so many respects it can go by so quickly. However, if you’re a volunteer manager, the holidays can be a time when you feel especially disconnected from volunteers. This may be because of the hustle and bustle of personal obligations or because there tends to be so many deadlines organizations naturally encounter at the end of the year. Regardless of the reason, Michigan State University Extension has some suggestions that can help you feel connected to volunteers throughout the holiday season.

  • Stay connected through social media. Posting a message, asking a question or linking to some research they can look at might only take a few minutes, yet is a great way for volunteers to feel as though they are still receiving information from you or the organization you represent.
  • Plan a service learning or community service project that volunteers can lead or be involved in. The holidays are a great time to engage adult and youth volunteers in service that benefits members of the community.
  • Send an email. It can be as simple as that. Send an email to volunteers letting them know about future opportunities for volunteers, upcoming events and activities, or ideas for programming. Keeping volunteers thinking about what they can do next is a great way to keep them engaged when there is a lull due to the holidays.
  • Do something simple to bring together volunteers and their families. For some volunteers, creating opportunities for them to be with their family and volunteer is a huge bonus opportunity, especially at the holidays. Consider a pot luck celebration, doing some caroling or putting together a craft that can be donated. It’s not likely volunteers and their families will want to commit an entire afternoon or morning to an activity, but they may be able to give a few hours.

Creating a sense of belonging or affiliation is important to volunteers. When they go for a period of time without connecting to you, your organization or other volunteers, you stand the chance of them moving on to another organization.

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