Thanksgiving is supposed to be a time for family togetherness and fun, but it’s rarely that simple.
Between making travel plans, accommodating everyone’s personal needs, and navigating family dynamics, the last weekend in November can be a stressful time. And for those of us who cannot be with family, it’s hard not to feel lonely.
Some organizations plan Thanksgiving-themed Turkey Trots on the holiday in order to raise money for a cause. For the reasons listed above, convincing folks to get out of the house and volunteer on a holiday doesn’t require too much arm-bending. A group activity? Check. Community-oriented? Check. Exercise before gorging yourself for six hours? Check.
Turkey Trots are family affairs, low key and often associated with parades and costumes. Showing potential volunteers the benefits of volunteering on Thanksgiving morning will certainly lead to a fun and well-attended event. Here are some tips for communicating with your future Turkey Trotters:
Start early. Folks tend to plan their holidays months and months out, and without proper warning, the idea of taking Thanksgiving morning off from cooking will induce a lot of stress in holiday hosts. Recruit early and often, especially within family-oriented settings (kids’ sporting events, outdoor recreational areas, clubs, etc).
Emphasize physical and communal activity. A Turkey Trot solves the problem of getting large groups organized the morning of a holiday, getting their energy out, and feeling like they’re contributing to a cause (instead of just sitting and eating all day). For single folks or small groups, Turkey Trots can help them connect with their communities.
Keep in touch. Plans change quickly, and it’s easy to feel overwhelmed during this time period. Make sure your volunteers know that you’re excited to see them, that their decision was a good one, and that they’ll leave your Turkey Trot feeling engaged and fulfilled (before filling their bellies). This will help minimize your last-minute cancellations.
Volunteering on Thanksgiving is great for everyone: the volunteers feel the spirit of togetherness, have a way to structure their day, and get quality time with their families and the community. Your organization gets more recognition in the community and more resources to do your work. Holiday volunteer recruitment can be as satisfying as pumpkin pie.