Free events planning guide!
The holiday season is marked by the spirit of giving back, spreading goodwill, and coming together as a community to support one another. In November and December, many individuals and families are looking for places where they can make a difference.
That’s where your organization comes in!
In this blog, we’ve curated 30+ creative ideas for holiday events and volunteer opportunities that can help your organization facilitate positive community impact during the giving season. Let’s dive in.
Holiday Event Ideas
Engaging your community members in meaningful holiday events can help strengthen and grow your organization’s impact. Here are some festive ideas for holiday events that your volunteers will love:
Holiday of the Holidays
- Host an inclusive holiday event for all faiths in your community.
- Hold a charity gala with silent auctions, catered food, and guest speakers. The proceeds can go towards supporting your mission, or that of another community organization.
Virtual Holiday Party
- Virtual gatherings are an inclusive way to facilitate networking, online donations, and holiday cheer.
Festive Charity Auction
- Partner with local businesses to raise funds for your organization through an online or live auction.
- Invite local musicians or chorus groups to perform at a holiday concert. Ticket sales can directly benefit your cause or other community organizations.
Family Sponsorship Program
- Design a program where donors can sponsor families in need during the holidays, providing them and their children with gifts, meals, and clothing.
Cause-based Craft Workshop
- Coordinate a craft workshop where guests create crafted items to be sold for charity.
- Create either a virtual or in-person giving tree that allows supporters to purchase items from your organization’s wishlist.
- Create a holiday-themed event for both runners and walkers. The proceeds can go to a specific cause or your organization.
- Spark some friendly competition with a holiday-themed fundraising challenge that encourages supporters to meet fundraising goals for your program.
Holiday Talent Show
- Showcase the talent and skills within your community with proceeds benefiting your cause or program.
- Host an online, informational webinar in which you educate the public about your mission and collect online donations.
Volunteer Appreciation Event
- Show appreciation for your volunteers’ hard work throughout the year.
- Encourage your supporters to donate non-perishable food items for local food banks and shelters.
Charity Bake Sale
- Host a holiday bake sale in which your supporters bring in their favorite baked holiday goods. Proceeds can benefit your organization directly, or can be donated to a cause.
Pet Supply Drive
- Collect toys, food, and other pet supplies for local animal shelters or for the pets of underserved community members.
Holiday Ornament Decoration Workshop
- Organize an ornament decoration event that invites the community to come together to make ornaments. Display these ornaments at your organization’s events, sell them at fundraisers, or distributed to community members.
Resources for Holiday Events
- [Webinar] Planning Successful Volunteer Events
- How to Get Volunteers for an Event in 8 Steps [+ Free Planning Guide]
- A Guide for Nonprofit Fundraising Events: The Profits and Expenses of Hosting Hybrid and Virtual Fundraising Events
- 7 Top Tips for Recruiting and Organizing Event Volunteers
Holiday Volunteer Opportunity Ideas
Tailor these volunteer opportunity ideas to fit the cause and mission of your organization. Remember to keep it fun, inclusive, and to always express appreciation for the dedication of your volunteer team!
- Ask volunteers to write letters of appreciation and support to military personnel who are deployed during the holidays.
Visit Nursing Home Residents
- Invite volunteers to come and spend time with the senior residents in your community.
Knit or Crochet Warm Clothing
- Many people lack essential warm clothing during the winter months. Ask your crafty volunteers to knit gloves, blankets, hats, and scarves for local shelters.
Caroling for a Cause
- Create a caroling group who sings a variety of holiday songs for nursing homes, hospices, community spaces, and hospitals.
Care Package Assembly
- Invite volunteers to help create and distribute packages containing essential cold-weather items to program clients.
- Gather a team of volunteers to design and send personalized e-holiday cards to supporters, donors, and clients.
- Run a phone outreach campaign directed towards past supporters and donors; express appreciation for their past contributions, and offer ways for further involvement with your organization.
Social Media Management
- Recruit your tech-savvy volunteers to build online momentum for your end-of-year campaign.
- Enlist a team of volunteers to collect donated items from community members or businesses.
- Recruit volunteers for a special fundraising team that helps to plan and host fundraising events for your organization or cause.
- Ask your volunteers to help decorate your program’s offices or community spaces with festive, inclusive, and welcoming holiday decorations.
- Invite a team of volunteers to spread holiday cheer by preparing and delivering warm meals to community members in need.
- Recruit volunteer photographers who can capture images of your holiday events and volunteer activities. These images can be used to promote future events or may be shared in your annual report or volunteer newsletter.
Event Set-up/Tear-down Crew
- Gather your supporters together to help bring your holiday event to life! Ask these volunteers to help move tables, set up chairs, put out food and drinks, and everything else needed to make your event a success.
- Launch a gift-wrapping extravaganza! Your helpers can wrap donated gifts for community families in need, or you can offer your wrapping services to the community on a donation basis.
Resources for Holiday Volunteer Recruitment
- Volunteer Recruitment Ideas: The Definitive Guide + 16 Proven Strategies for Getting Volunteers
- [Free e-Book] The Volunteer Manager’s Guide to Volunteer Acquisition
- [Webinar] Volunteer Recruitment: Current Trends, Challenges, and Solutions
- Volunteer Recruitment: How to Write Social Media Captions that Work
We hope that these ideas have inspired you to engage with your supporters, raise funds, and build meaningful relationships during the holiday season. Whether you’re holding a virtual holiday fundraiser or collecting toy donations, there are so many creative ways that your organization can join in on the holiday season while facilitating positive social change!