You’ve made it past the first few months of school and now – as your PTO, PTA, or Boosters Club gets ready to begin fundraising in earnest, you’re realizing you might have a little problem. While parents were eager to sign up to be on your board in early September, everyday life can get in the way for volunteers as we near the end of October. Meeting attendance might be falling and parents might be less than enthusiastic about signing up for their shift at the bake sale.
Here are a few tips to keep parents engaged and to encourage them to keep volunteering:
- Host a mixer! It might seem a little counter-intuitive, but if you host a mixer (ice cream social, anyone… or perhaps something a little more adult focused – such as a happy hour at a local restaurant) for parents to get to know active board members, and to see who they’ll be volunteering with, it could help them to feel a little less apprehensive about signing up to chaperone the annual holiday sale.
- Institute a one and done rule. It’s sad, but true – parents may be slow to sign up because they’re afraid that if they sign up once, you’ll try to get them to volunteer every time. If you tell parents that if they sign up once they’ll have met their obligation for the year it will make them more eager to pick an event that interests them – and it may actually encourage them to sign up for more than one event since it will feel much more optional than obligatory. If you can lay out the entire year’s events in advance so they have their pick of events, even better – they’ll be able to take the long view of their calendar and pick an event that works for their schedule, rather than randomly cramming their volunteer time into an already busy time for their family.
- When in doubt – offer up some food! If it’s darn near impossible to get parents to attend meetings or sign up for events, consider offering pizza, coffee, bagels, etc. You’ll be surprised how many people the promise of a free slice of pizza can draw in.
- Show your appreciation. Make sure that those who do donate their time are thanked for their efforts. Nothing turns people off faster than a “thankless job.” When you’re asking parents to give up time with their own child for the benefit of everyone else’s child it may make them a bit bitter if they don’t feel that their sacrifice is being recognized. Be sure to thank them in person, but also in the school newsletter, via an email distribution list, or whatever means your organization usually uses to communicate with the greater community.
At Pay4SchoolStuff.com we’re dedicated to helping your parent organization run as smoothly as possible. Whether you’re planning a classroom holiday party or a community bake sale, let Pay4SchoolStuff.com be with you every step of the way!
To learn more visit Pay4SchoolStuff.com!