6 Tips & Tools For Getting More Parents Involved This School Year
With the right tech tools and go-to tips & ideas, getting more parents involved and participating in the classroom and at school-wide events is a breeze this year. And by 'more parents' we mean new, fresh faces that help relieve the load the same ten parent volunteers oftentimes end up carrying. Don't miss these top 6 best practices:
Go digital - Emails, eNewsletters, school websites, class blogs and social media are your friends when it comes to building a loyal and active parent volunteer community. Strategize this school year with your IT director and socially savvy parents, and focus on reaching parents where you know they are at - online. Check out how to use Facebook for Volunteer Engagement & Twitter for Volunteer Engagement
Get creative - Ask parent volunteers where they would most like to help out and provide jobs and volunteer opportunities that call on everyone to share their special skills and talents. Keep in mind some parents may not feel that they can be of any real help with a particular event or position that you need covered; for instance, a father might feel like he sounds like Ben Stein when reading a story to the Kindergartners, but he loves sharing his fix-it skills and can lead the bird feeder building craft time. Or a mother might actually hate baking but is dying to help with the community garden. Read Back to School Volunteering
Get 'talking' – Find out how your parent community is communicating and make sure that you are involved in the same methods. Some people don’t do anything beyond reading their email while others depend heavily on Facebook. If you offer all the options you can to make communication easier, you are more likely to be seen, heard, and helped. *Note: If some parents never respond to your tried and tru methods, reach out to them on an individual basis.
Give parents a voice – Ensure methods for feedback that help parents know they are heard. Have a specific school email set up for parent feedback or an online google form they can fill out post-volunteer activity. Everyone needs to know what works and what doesn’t to prep and strategize to make the next go-around even more successful.
KISS (Keep it simple silly!) – Make signing up for events as simple as possible with VolunteerSpot's free online signup sheets! The freedom and convenience of signing up from their computer or on-the-go from their phone means more parents have the opportunity to get involved; and automated reminders help everyone keep their commitments! No more lost paper sign up sheets that always get lost or endless email threads that tend to veer way off topic.
Mind Your P’s & Q’s – A little gratitude goes a long way to keeping people involved and loyal to the GOOD work your school is doing. Personal thank you cards, emails, videos and special social media shouts are easy but meaningful ways to recognize your school parent's hardwork. However you do it, be sure to show appreciation and do it regularly!