The Holiday Project
In order for a charity to offer donors the ability to have their contributions be tax-deductible, the charity must be registered with the IRS as a non-profit organization. The Holiday Project is registered as a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization. See our IRS letter. Local geographic areas can offer the advantage of a tax deduction to potential donors, as long as contributions are to The Holiday Project and they are deposited in the national account.
If you receive donations, send checks made payable to The Holiday Project, along with a Report of Deposited Funds -- Word -- PDF -- to Sally Cooney Anderson, The Holiday Project Treasurer, 32 Aspen Hill Drive, Fredericksburg VA 22406.
Ask a local restaurant if they would be willing to donated 15% of their sales on a specific day. Then enroll as many people as you can to eat there on the chosen day. Have a representative at the restaurant to let people know that part of the cost of their meals is going to The Holiday Project. If possible, put tent cards on every table.
For many years, Holiday Project volunteers brought small gifts with them to give to the people they visited. Traditionally, gifts have been our largest expense. For the past few years, incoming funding has been minimal and even though we do not incur expenses for salaries or office space, we do pay for one telephone number, an e-mail service, internet costs, IRS 990 preparation, and a few other things that keep us in business. We have come to the time when we can no longer provide gifts to our Visit Team Leaders. We do; however, have some suggestions:
Hand Made Cards
Lots of people love to make cards. When outside a room of someone you are visiting, check to see if the resident's name is on a door sign. You can write that person’s name on the card before delivering it. It is a good idea to sign the cards The Holiday Project. That helps us spread the word about what we do.
Download a card template.
Watch these videos for instructions on a low-cost creative gifts.
Lap blankets can either be sewn, crocheted or knitted, as long as they are made in a tight weave for warmth. They can be of different widths and lengths. The sewn ones take 1 1/4 yards of fabric. The width can be the width of the fabric. There is a thin layer of batting between two layers, often of differing fabrics. Crochet and knit lap blankets can be anywhere from 36" to 48". Each blanket can be individualized by the creator. Be creative.
Ask Singers to Join You
Everyone loves holiday songs. Consider contacting a local choral group and inviting them to join you.
When you call the facility to set up your Visit, or even on the day of your Visit, you may discover that visitors can no longer go room-to-room. Even if you are told this and that children are not allowed, please do your Visit anyway. Residents will really appreciate that you came.
What if Children Arrive?
Some facilities have age restrictions for visitors. If children too young to visit arrive, try to accommodate them. Ask if they can remain in the lobby area with their families. There are often residents who can come to the lobby for the Visit. In addition, these families can be greeters for everyone who enters and leaves the facility. They can also sing holiday songs.
Animals may be allowed to join visitors, with prior approval from the facility. Sometimes, proof of shots is required ahead of time. One Visit Team Leader noted, "We had a service dog with us last year and the residents of the nursing home loved him. It worked smoothly because the owner had his service dog paperwork with him and I had cleared it with the nursing home in advance."
Never give a resident anything to eat or drink without the approval of someone who works at the facility. Residents may tell visitors they can eat anything, but it is not always true. If you bring food, double check sugar content ahead of time (if possible, bring labels). At the facility, it's fine to share with other visitors and staff but make sure to ask employees before sharing with residents.
Ice Cream Social
Just about everyone loves ice cream. You might even be able to get it donated. If the facility thinks this is a good idea, schedule a date and time to have a party in a common area of a facility. Make sure a facility employee is always present to tell you if any residents cannot eat ice cream ... and remember that if a resident or a patient asks you to help with anything that involves touching, feeding, or moving, always ask a staff member to help.
A Visit Team Leader reported that people were bringing instruments on the visits. "It makes such a difference, especially for those of us in our group who don't have very good singing voices!"
Volunteers & Volunteer Recruitment
Do you have a Local Volunteer Center?
One of the best ways to enroll volunteers is through a local Volunteer Center. Check the Internet to see if there is one in your area. Remember to do this in the Fall as many Centers publish Holiday Volunteer Guides before Thanksgiving.
Christmas in July
Don’t wait until the Fall. Why not organize an event in July to introduce people to The Holiday Project and enroll Team Leaders. See how it's done in Houston. See an example of a Flyer.
This is a nationally recognized education resource and free referral web site. Clients include schools, colleges, camps, libraries, and more -- every major and minor demographic in the education system. One of their directories is a Volunteer Program directory. You can utilize this service by registering a profile. To see the directory, go to http://www.k12academics.com/national-directories/volunteer-program To register, go to http://www.k12academics.com/node/add/volunteer-program If you have questions or need additional information, contact Chris Glavin at firstname.lastname@example.org
The Holiday Project lists Visit information on VolunteerMatch. To have your Visit information listed, contact Joanne Sorresse. You have two choices:
1. List Visits individually. Email Joanne the following information: Visit Team Leader name and email address, name of facility being visited, address of facility, date and time of Visit.
2. Register your location with one contact person. Email Joanne the following information: Contact Person name, email address, phone number, list of zip codes for the georgaphic areas where Visits will be held.
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