Months before happy children tear into their presents on Christmas morning, the Salvation Army springs into action.
In Winston-Salem, N.C., Volunteer and Resource Coordinator Abigail Linville begins in early fall recruiting the hundreds of volunteers needed to make the Salvation Army's holiday efforts successful. Some will help register families for the Angel Tree gift program, while others volunteer with the Give a Kid a Coat campaign.
The largest group of volunteers — about 500 — will sort, pack and distribute gifts at the Salvation Army's warehouse in the city. "We don't have anything as big as Christmas," Linville says.
"Our seasonal volunteers are beyond essential. Without them, we couldn't serve the number of families we are called to serve. It would be an impossible task," she says. "They support our mission in every way possible. We serve families in need all year round, and our volunteers make that possible. They make our mission possible, which is to serve all who are in need without discrimination."
In all, more than 6,000 children receive gifts during the holidays. Thirty-two locations in Winston-Salem collect Angel Tree gifts, ranging from corporate offices and banks to Walmart stores and restaurants.
Linville fills volunteer slots by using SignUpGenius to advertise openings. She heard about the sign up site from the N.C. Association of Volunteer Administration, and jokes that she used to organize "on stone tablet." She's since passed the site along to the local Piedmont Regional Association of Volunteer Administration.
"When I came into the position it was in a little bit of disarray," Linville says. "I had to figure things out myself. I used my Excel spreadsheet before."
The flurry of holiday organizing means it's especially important for Linville to be able to contact a large number of people quickly. She relies on e-mail blasts to amplify her reach.
"For me (SignUpGenius) has been a lifesaver because I deal with so many people in such a short amount of time," Linville says.
SignUpGenius is happy to help Salvation Army bring joy to thousands of children on Christmas morning. That's genius!