Tips for Volunteering in Winter Months


In last week's blog, we shared a list of tips to keep the volunteer momentum going all year long. Since that post, we were blasted with our first winter storm that dropped over a foot of snow on most towns in our area. In response to the weather, we decided to offer follow-up this week with tips to consider when volunteering in the winter. 

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Tips for Volunteering In Winter Months

Check in advance! Be crystal clear on your agency’s weather policy from the word go. Check the weather forecast and call your supervisor, check for news updates, or check your E-mail and social media alerts announcing delays, closures or other changes of plans.

If you’re very concerned about the weather and the agency stays open, stay home. While we love volunteer commitment as much as our agencies do, you should never put yourself at risk when roads are getting slippery. This especially applies if you have a lengthy drive to your agency. Volunteer coordinators will understand the treacherous conditions faced by drivers and will be happy to reschedule your hours for another time, assuming they haven’t done so already.

Know when to leave! If you’re at your agency and snow rolls in unexpectedly, make everyone aware that you’re leaving, and plan on leaving before the snow starts sticking to the ground. In all likelihood, you won’t be alone; parents need to pick up kids from early dismissals and agency staff members are just as mindful of hazardous conditions as you are. It’s likely that the agency will be closed early anyway.

Is your agency supplied? If you do happen to get stuck at your agency during inclement weather, make sure that you’re well stocked. Work with your agency to make sure that you have everything you need to stick out the snow, including fuel for generators if need be. Getting snowbound is never fun, but you can make sure you have everything you need.

Get Creative! You may even be able to turn snowstorms into another volunteering opportunity. If you’re physically able, it’s likely that your agency will need help removing snow from parking lots, sidewalks, parallel parking streets, or mailbox deposit areas.

Alternatively, many volunteer opportunities are for providing assistance during weather like this. Volunteer roles like water deliveries, grocery shopping on behalf of people who can’t leave their homes are something we see posted very frequently on and the need doubles during the bitter cold when sidewalks are frozen.

Take it Online! There’s nothing better than a work-from-home day when the snow is falling and you have a warm cup of cocoa on your desktop. Why not see if your agency could use help remotely? Can you update their social media? Do some data entry? Maybe you can help with letter writing or graphic design?