March 30, 2012 :: Posted by - Tracy - Category - P.I.C.
It’s about this time of year that I begin to look ahead to next year. I know, it sounds crazy. After all, March Break has just ended. But if you look at your calendar right now, you will see that there are only 12 weeks left in the school year. Specifically, I begin to think about next year’s school council. Who will “graduate” in June and move on with their child? Will we be able to fill those vacant positions? How do we get more parents involved next September? What will next year look like?
Lately, I’ve begun to question the effectiveness of our current “recruiting” practices, knowing full well that there’s always room for improvement and that there’s got to be better ways to connect with parents. It’s one thing to advertise in the school newsletter, embrace technology and social media by posting here on this website, tweeting or putting it out there on facebook. But are we really connecting with parents? Or is this dissemination of information (and requests) more one-sided? Gulp. I’m thinking that despite my best intentions and efforts, it’s been the latter.
I came across this article in PTO Today by Liz O’Donnell. Although based in America, I think the message is very much the same. There’s some good information in here that I think all school councils can relate to, apply and learn from and why I’m sharing this here today. I know I’m learning more and more, and I’m being reminded, that it’s not about the volunteering itself…it’s about the relationships.
As always, I invite your comments and would love to hear from you.
9 Steps To Recruit More Volunteers
A common lament among PTO leaders is “We just can’t get volunteers.” And while it certainly might feel that way to an overcommitted, overtired board, it’s probably not completely accurate. By redefining your idea of a volunteer and changing how you respond to “I’d love to, but,…” you can tap into a wider group of parents than you might have thought were available and accomplish more than you imagined. Here are nine steps to build your volunteer base and enlist an army of unstoppable parents.
1. Set Expectations—Your Own
You’ve made the choice to serve on the PTO and you’ve thrown yourself into the role. Not everyone is going to share your energy and enthusiasm, and that’s OK. Accept that other parents may not be willing or able to log the hours you do, and be appreciative of the time they can give. The last thing you want is to send the message that a mom doesn’t care about her child because she can’t staff the book fair. Maybe she can make reminder calls or provide supplies for the event. Remember, most people start small before taking on the big tasks. The person who volunteers an hour this time may end up running the entire event in the future.