by Michelle Ciulla Lipkin

  • Make sure you ask parents what they are interested in getting involved with. You want to make sure that parents like what they are doing. Some parents might love the idea of hanging out at school on election day helping to run the bake sale, others might prefer doing work from home on the computer, while others might like to help in the classroom. Give people choices that make them happy.
  • Don’t get too many volunteers. If you are going to ask for people to help, make sure they have something to do. If you ask for 20 people to come help set up the school fair, be sure you have assignments for those 20 people. There is no surer way to get rid of a volunteer than to make them feel like they don’t have a role to play.
  • Be appreciative and enthusiastic. Make sure every volunteer is thanked when they offer to do something, as they are doing it, and after it is done. Every volunteer wants to feel that they are useful.
  • Make sure everyone is asked. You want all parents to feel that they have a role to play on the PTA if they would like to play it. Often times, a PTA might have the same people helping out all the time because they aren’t asking others to lend a hand. Always ask everyone. You’ll be surprised what wonderful volunteer might show up one day.
  • Listen. Volunteers don’t want to do just the dirty work. Listen to their ideas. You may find another parent leader in your midst. It is important to not shut down people’s enthusiasm. Let them talk. Let them give input. Then, ask them to help.

December 2012