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 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 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 recruit and welcome new volunteers into the fold. These people are responsible for letting outsiders know 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 as you go; this is known as crisis management. However, identifying good jobs before they’re filled will make your group more robust and efficient. Then you can 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 create odd jobs like making copies or working with students on their multiplication tables.
- Social Media Specialist: In charge of posting pictures from previous activities and 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 you can create 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 periodic encouragement notes or small gifts to let people know you notice and appreciate their efforts? This can be continued throughout the school year and can even be another job description for someone.
Your PTA is not just there to accomplish things and fulfill outward needs. You also have to work to strengthen the group from within.
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Clay Boggess has been designing fundraising programs for schools and various nonprofit organizations throughout the US since 1999. He’s helped administrators, teachers, and outside support entities such as PTAs and PTOs raise millions of dollars. Clay is an owner and partner at Big Fundraising Ideas.