Summary: Nonprofit organizations felt the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic in the same way other local, small- and mid-sized businesses have this year. With the holidays quickly approaching, many people start looking for volunteer opportunities to give back to their communities. In this article, we’ll discuss how to volunteer safely this season as the coronavirus crisis continues.

The holiday season is the perfect time of year to make a difference in others’ lives. Giving back in your community provides a feeling of purpose, and volunteering time, money or efforts can be some of the most beneficial actions human beings can make.

2020 has been a year unlike any other, and nonprofit organizations, like many other industries, were hit hard due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Many nonprofits had difficulty maintaining their normal level of service to their communities, finding it necessary to reduce their number of employees and volunteers, limit travel, and take additional precautions to help avoid spreading the virus.

However, throughout the crisis, volunteering actually increased across the United States. Volunteers flocked to organizations such as the American Red Cross, the Crisis Text Line, Big Brothers Big Sisters of America and more. Many people wished to feel useful, keep busy or learn new skills during the unpredictable times early in the pandemic, while others simply wanted to help those less fortunate. Volunteering for civil rights organizations and political organizations also increased throughout the late spring and summer months.

How to Volunteer Safely During COVID-19

With the holidays quickly approaching and the coronavirus pandemic surging across the nation, many people may be wondering if it’s safe to volunteer this season. Volunteerism traditionally increases over the holidays, with an estimated 1 in 4 Americans volunteering through an organization for a total of 104.9 billion hours. It’s clear many citizens feel it’s important to spread joy and make the season extra special for those who may be isolated and lonely or those who have been impacted financially by the pandemic.

Volunteering can still be done in a safe, effective manner this holiday season despite the ongoing COVID-19 crisis. Some of the best volunteer jobs that can serve your community and make a difference in the lives of others this time of year include:

Make a Donation

One of the safest options this year is to donate to worthy causes. Choose to support a nonprofit that aligns with your beliefs and values, whether it’s helping the homeless, political or civil rights organizations, your church, animal shelters, or those assisting with COVID-19 relief efforts. Donations can be monetary or material goods, like food, clothing or medical supplies.

Deliver Meals or Groceries

The most vulnerable population, aging seniors, may find it extremely difficult to leave their homes right now. Many nonprofit organizations, such as Meals on Wheels, work to prepare food, package and deliver it to those who need it most. Meals on Wheels published a survey that revealed since the beginning of the pandemic in March, the program has served 47% more seniors home-delivered meals. Additionally, the organization has seen a rise in its operating costs due to the increase in meal deliveries and the need to acquire safety supplies for their volunteers.

Help Out at a Local Food Bank

In-person assistance at a food bank includes sorting, packing and serving food, and organizations like Feeding America make a big difference in the lives of families struggling with hunger during the holidays. Volunteering at local food banks increases exponentially over the holiday season, so make sure to contact the one nearest to you as early as possible if you’d like to help out. You might be needed in the kitchen, to pass out or serve meals, or deliver food to those who can’t leave their homes.

Donate Blood or Volunteer at the Red Cross

One of the best volunteering opportunities not only during the holidays, but at any time of the year, is to give the gift of life by donating blood. The American Red Cross states that there has been a critical need for blood and platelet donations since the start of the pandemic. Additionally, 90% of the Red Cross workforce are volunteers, and their need for more volunteers is constant. They offer volunteer opportunities both within the community and remotely, and the organization works closely with public health officials to ensure those volunteering are as safe as possible.

Work Remotely or Online with Nonprofits

If you’re not comfortable volunteering onsite, many nonprofit organizations offer options to help out from the comfort of your home. Those with a creative side can create homemade cards to send to active soldiers, veterans or hospitalized children. Some organizations have online wish lists so you can easily purchase items they need and have them sent right to their door. and offer plenty of remote volunteer opportunities so you can continue to give back – safely – throughout the holiday season.

Keeping Volunteers Covered with Nonprofit Insurance from AmTrust Financial

Nonprofit organizations face unique risks, and that’s why AmTrust Financial provides a variety of lines of insurance coverage specifically tailored to their needs. We work with thousands of nonprofits across the United States to ensure they’re keeping their employees and volunteers safe. For more information about our nonprofit insurance, please contact us today.

This material is for informational purposes only and is not legal or business advice. Neither AmTrust Financial Services, Inc. nor any of its subsidiaries or affiliates represents or warrants that the information contained herein is appropriate or suitable for any specific business or legal purpose. Readers seeking resolution of specific questions should consult their business and/or legal advisors. Coverages may vary by location. Contact your local RSM for more information.


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