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How to Thrive as a Parent Volunteer Group

By Clay Boggess on Apr 21, 2015
How to Thrive as a Parent Volunteer Group

How to unlock hidden potential in your school's volunteers

There’s more to a successful parent volunteer group than being able to get things accomplished and check off a long list of tasks and objectives. So often the people who have committed to helping out become discouraged as the year unfolds because the group is all about getting things done and not enough emphasis is place on appreciating and utilizing the abilities of its volunteers.

Consequently, the group can lose its cohesiveness and as a result start to whither over time. Getting future volunteers to join can thus become an even more difficult task.

Here are some things that groups may overlook that they should probably consider before they do anything else.

Show Parent Appreciation First

It’s hard enough to get people to volunteer in the first place. Add to the fact that 20% of those who do commit to volunteering will probably end up doing 80% of the work anyway. It’s a given that most people will say no.

Therefore, your main objective should be to first make each parent volunteer group member feel valued. Then help them see the importance of being a part of a greater cause, and last work on your goals and objectives. A positive approach that incorporates teamwork and working together to make decisions and accomplish reasonable goals will have far greater implications as the year goes on. You may be surprised at what you’ll be able to accomplish.

Base Your Goals on Volunteer Strengths

Unless you know where your strengths are you probably won’t be fully effective. Have you asked your volunteers where they feel they can contribute and what their visions are for the organization?

For example, if your parent volunteer group is small but you’ve set a lot of ambitious goals, it’s fairly easy to see why people may eventually become frustrated from exhaustion and overwork. It’s great to have objectives planned out in advance but you need to first make sure that your group is going to be able handle these tasks efficiently.

Instead, consider your group strengths first, then incorporate a list of prioritized objectives based on what everyone’s agreed upon. You’ll be able to accomplish so much more if your group is harmoniously unified.

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