Make the Christmas spirit last by volunteering all year round!

'Tis the season… for a lot of Christmas volunteering! Christmas undoubtedly brings out the charitable side in most of us, so it is only natural that this is also the season when companies want to give back too. But what about the other 11 months of the year?

For companies which give their employees one or two days off a year to volunteer, it makes sense that they would opt to choose one of those days to fall around Christmas. Giving employees time to volunteer in December is wonderful, as it reinforces the giving spirit.

Despite all this holiday cheer, the focus on Christmas volunteering, I believe, has its pros and cons. On the one hand, this is an important time of year for many people. For those who are struggling during the holidays for whatever reason, receiving extra help goes a very long way. On the other hand, what about the rest of the year?

I recently talked to a volunteer who mentioned watching an episode of the TV show, “How I Met your Mother”. Ted and Robin (two of the main characters) want to volunteer at a homeless shelter providing food to those in need. They are told that they should go home, that the charity already has too many people volunteering. I was asked if this really happens.

The answer is, of course it does. While many charities are still looking for volunteers for Christmas events, there are also many which are simply at capacity and are having to turn away volunteers. They have to plan well ahead so by this time many have already organised all the volunteers they need.  

So why not spread the cheer all year round? Giving your time for others isn’t something that needs to or should happen only at Christmas. It could be even more valuable to reinforce this mind-set as a company as well. Being a part of a responsible company doesn’t mean being responsible only during a set time of year, but throughout the year.

I do not mean to diminish the amazing work by our volunteers or their companies this Christmas. We’re working with lots of companies and their volunteers at this time of year, and they are making a huge difference to the lives of others. Nothing should lessen the importance of their contribution.

Corporate volunteering can be a fun, productive and insightful activity for employees. So, why not look into New Year’s volunteering, Valentine’s Day volunteering, Earth Day volunteering, or everyday volunteering? Companies and their volunteers can make an impact at any point in the year. So my recommendation is to make the Christmas spirit last by volunteering year round!

Thank you to all of our wonderful volunteers this Christmas season, you really do make a difference.