Tips for Navigating Holiday Volunteers

Holidays encompass many things, including a time of service and giving.  Many people want to give back to their community through volunteer service and as volunteer managers, we should support these volunteers just the same as we support our existing volunteers. Here are some tips for navigating holiday volunteers so they feel welcome in your organization.

5 Tips for Navigating One-Time Holiday Volunteers

  1. Prepare the Staff 

    Single-day volunteers are likely full of questions and it can be a barrier if only the Volunteer Manager knows the answers. Prepare the staff with a document about the volunteer positions and some general FAQ questions and answers about the volunteer event. Chances are, people will also call your organization to learn more, so prep your front-office staff as much as possible! 

  2. Be Clear in your Expectations

    Single-day volunteers may not be familiar with your organization or the event, so be as detailed as possible when describing the opportunity. Information such mobility requirements is just as vital as the date and time commitment. Ensure you include all information that could keep someone from fulfilling the role properly, as well as organizational expectations. Doing so will help the prospective volunteers self-select the opportunities that are right for them. 

  3. Open Options Early – Recruit, Recruit, Recruit!

    Holidays are jammed-packed with activities and people only get busier as the end of the month nears. Posting your available volunteer positions early allows for single-day volunteers to plan their schedules.

    Recruiting volunteers to ensure the task will be completed is also very important. Consider partnering with a local company who will sponsor a volunteer service day with their employees, or work with a local congregation to recruit their members. Post your holiday opportunities in the organization’s newsletter, publish in the local newspaper, or use websites like to post your single-day event.  Connect with the Green Valley/Sahuarita Volunteer Clearinghouse to post your volunteer opportunities year-round on a monthly basis.

  4. Flexibility

    Flexibility is also key. Keep volunteer positions open until a few days before the event starts. If the event runs several days or weeks, remove the first options as they pass but continue to keep the rest of the month open for those who find themselves with a few hours to spare. 

  5. Cater to Groups

    Holidays are also a time of family bonding. Consider opportunities where  children and teens can volunteer with the rest of their family. Doing so gives the organization a chance to bring in and share their mission with new families. It also allows for existing volunteers to share what they do with their loved ones.

    Bonus Tip: Bring them on Board! Single-Day Volunteers may be completely new to your organization and are just learning about the mission. Take the opportunity to give information about upcoming volunteer orientations and ongoing volunteer needs. You might just recruit another committed volunteer!

Keep the holiday spirit 

The last of the year can be one of the most stressful times, but it is also a time of great joy. Remember to not only be thankful for the volunteers that choose your organization to work with but show your thankfulness. If you have the budget, giving thanks can be with physical items like lunches or gift cards. But thanks also comes in sincere greetings in how glad you are to see them this holiday season. 

Spread the joy by tagging SAVMA in your holiday photos that showcase your volunteers and use the hashtag #ProsperityThroughService.


Compiled and Written by: Sierra Horsey

Edited by: Jessica Dennes