Practical ways to get more parents to volunteer
You may feel good about how organized your school PTA board is and how efficiently things get accomplished. Your members work well together and there’s definitely a sense of cohesiveness. But what do people outside your board see? Hopefully they find your group to be warm and inviting. Unfortunately, even healthy organizations can unintentionally give the wrong impressions at times.
If you had a new parent walk in with an interest in volunteering, what would she experience? It can be easy for a first-timer to feel a bit alienated. Are your leaders chatting amongst themselves and not really reaching out to new parents? Here are some ideas that may help make your school PTA more volunteer-friendly.
Have an Active Volunteer Welcome Committee
You can’t do it all. So make sure to assign one or two members to be in charge of recruiting and welcoming new volunteers into the fold. These people are responsible for letting outsiders know that they are needed and welcome.
There’s a wealth of knowledge and some potentially great ideas out there. And who knows? That new mom that walks in for the first time may have an idea that helps solve a problem.
Have Designated Jobs that Make Volunteering Easy
Make it easy for new volunteers to plug in by having preassigned jobs that are interesting and diverse. It’s one thing to think of things as you go; this is what’s known as crisis management. However identifying useful jobs before they’re actually filled will make your group stronger and more efficient. Then you’ll be able to fill these jobs based on previous volunteer experience and interest.
Examples of jobs that can be created are:
- Event Coordinator: Planning and setting up events like teacher lunches.
- Classroom Helper: Works with teachers to come up with odd jobs like making copies or working with students on their multiplication tables.
- Social Media Specialist: In charge of posting pictures from previous activities, promoting events and service opportunities on your PTA Facebook page.
- Community Service Coordinator: Organize a toy, clothes or food donation campaign.
- Student Awards Organizer: Coordinates and creates awards and fun activities for academic, character and attendance achievement.
The jobs that you can come up with for your school can be endless.
Show Parent Volunteer Appreciation
Perhaps the best way to make your school PTA more volunteer-friendly is to constantly show your parents who give of their time ongoing appreciation. And you don’t have to wait until the end of the year luncheon either. Why not give out periodic encouragement notes or small gifts just to let people know that you notice and appreciate their efforts? This can be continue throughout the school year and can even be another job description for someone.
Your PTA is not just there to get things done and fulfill outward needs. You have to also work to make the group stronger from within as well.