How your company can volunteer this holiday season

The end of the year can be a busy time for any organization: year-end financials, more products and services offered, holiday parties, everyone wrapping things up on their way out the door for holiday vacations. But if your organization is looking for activities more substantial than the annual holiday party, it’s also a time of year where you can step up your charity game.

Volunteering is a great organizational activity at any time of year, but this time of year there are even more opportunities to give back to the community.

Volunteer opportunities this holiday season for your workplace

Donate gifts to children

Collecting toys for well-known groups like Toys for Tots is always a popular option around the holidays. There are also organizations, like the U.S. Postal Service’s Operation Santa, that work with schools and other community groups to collect “Dear Santa” letters from disadvantaged kids. Gifts can include toys, of course, but many of these children also need cold-weather basics like coats, gloves, warm clothes, etc. Individual employees can take a child’s letter, or you can encourage teams and groups within the company to go in on it together to contribute items to make a kid’s winter warmer and brighter.

Host an item drive

The holiday giving season is a great time to collect items for nonprofit groups and shelters that need it. Many cities have local organizations that collect coats and other warm gear for local people. Local shelters may need basic items like personal hygiene products, food items, school supplies for kids, or clothing. These needs go on year-round, but the extra items you collect this season can help agencies prepare for the coming year, helping people well into the new year.

You can partner with local organizations to see exactly what they need, and what your employees can help provide.

Feed the community

Organize volunteer shifts with food banks, soup kitchens, Meals on Wheels, or other agencies that help feed the community. Time and a human touch are precious resources that often get overlooked during this season. Spending some time cooking, serving, or cleaning can be a way for your company to engage with the community and contribute hands-on help that is always much needed (and much appreciated).

Host a fundraising event

This time of year may not be the most outdoor-friendly, depending on where you live, but if your company has a lot of sporty (or cold weather-hearty) types, consider having a fundraising sporting event, like a fun run, a walk, or (brrrr!) a polar plunge. You can pick a cause or agency that you’d like your company to support (or have employees vote on it), and rally volunteers to spend a little time outside in the cold for a good cause.

Build someone’s dream home

Throughout the year, many communities are affected by emergencies or other issues that displace people from their homes. Consider partnering with groups like Habitat for Humanity to work shifts on building homes for families in the community. Not every volunteer has to be a master carpenter—there are tasks that people at any skill level can do.

Match employee donations

To make employees’ donation dollars go further, consider implementing a matching donation program, where your organization submits equal donations to the charity of choice. You can have a set recipient as an organization, or let the employees choose where their matching donations will go. Either way, it fosters a sense of community knowing that everyone is pulling together to raise money for a good cause.

Making it easy for employees to give back is a winner all around—it builds community inside your organization, and outside as well. And once you’ve got the seasonal volunteering going, you may find that everyone wants to keep it going year round as well!

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