The Year of the Volunteer

Every year around the holidays, we hear about stories of people performing kind acts for one another around the world. A go-to kind act for many people is the act of volunteering. Whether that is helping with a toy drive, serving up dinner at the local soup kitchen or spending time for another worthy cause, volunteering always sees an uptick of involvement during the holidays. It’s heartwarming to see so many kind people participate in the holiday season by giving generously through volunteering. But, what happens after the holiday season?

Most nonprofits see a drastic decline in volunteerism after the holiday season, but that’s when your help is needed most. There’s still work to be done at the majority of nonprofit organizations near you. Remember that food you donated during a recent food drive? Volunteers are needed to help sort and distribute food to those in need. Remember the donation you made to your favorite charity? Volunteers are needed to help log and track all the donations that have arrived during the holiday season. Every day tasks such as sorting, organizing, packing, making thank you calls or folding mailers, are needed.

Not only is volunteering great for the community, but it’s a valuable use of time for the volunteer as well. Some benefits of volunteering include:

  • Finding a sense of community and be connected to others
    • Gives a mood boost and helps fight stress, anxiety and depression
    • Improves self-confidence, especially in children
    • Allows people to stay active and get some fresh air depending on the nonprofit
    • Sharpens people and communication skills

These are just a few of the great benefits of volunteering. So, why isn’t volunteering a year-round practice? It’s true that many people volunteer throughout the year, but it’s not nearly the numbers seen during the holiday season. It’s time to make every season volunteer season!

Don’t know where to start? Here are a few tips for finding a place to volunteer:

  • Pick something that speaks to your passions or interests. Do you love the arts, animals, children or veterans? Select an organization that you’ll be excited to support.
    • Meet with the staff or volunteer coordinator before committing. Make sure that their needs are in alignment with what you have to offer and the time you have available.
    • Start small and only commit to one or two activities or days. Make sure that you get along with the team and that you find the work fulfilling.

Check out, or for volunteer opportunities in your area.

It’s that easy! By volunteering you’re embracing kindness in the form of being helpful. You’re showing kindness to your community and those that live in it.

Let the year of the volunteer begin!

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