Our latest data shows that less than 5% of parents take on the lion’s share of volunteering and fewer than 15% regularly get involved. It’s food for thought when you’re among the few who feel obliged to help create happy, thriving communities in your schools.
Classlist is a totally free parent communications and fundraising app for schools, used by more than 300,000 parents in 20 countries. You can create a private parent community on the app and set up events, sell tickets, manage RSVPs and recruit volunteers in minutes! Check it out today.
As PTA regulars, you know that volunteering matters – not just to raise funds to fix the water fountain or replenish stationary supplies. When parents are involved in school, it becomes a happier place. Children realise their parents are interested in their education. They learn the value of being part of a community. Parents get an insight into life in the classroom and forge stronger relationships with the teachers.
So, how to boost your volunteer numbers? Work out why parents aren’t signing up and then make it easier for parents to get involved.
Why don’t parents join the PTA?
The three main reasons are simple:
- Parents don’t feel they have enough time
- Parents don’t feel that they have the right skills
- Parents simply don’t know how to get involved
Your job is to help them realise they do!
The key things that PTAs need to communicate are:
- All parents are welcomed and wanted
- All parents have skills that can help the PTA – you’ll be amazed at what you can do!
- We’re grateful for any time you can contribute – even if it’s only 20 minutes a year
When you’re on the PTA, it seems obvious what you do. You liaise with the school; fundraise; put on social events; write annual reports; discuss what the students need…But that’s not necessarily obvious to other parents. So, it’s useful to advertise.
Start by defining the goal of your PTA. Here are some suggestions:
- Creating a positive, inclusive school community
- Providing extra opportunities for our children
- Fundraising for amazing equipment
- Offering the extras that enhance education
- Then create PTA Job Descriptions – main roles; supporting roles and quick ‘n’ easy one-off roles. The idea is to break the roles and responsibilities of the PTA down, so that duties can be divided up (less overwhelming for everyone) and parents can see - clearly - where they can play a role
Create a Willing Volunteers List
A Willing Volunteers List is just a list that parents fill in, detailing what skills they have and how they would be happy to help the PTA. You can either create your own list or set up a willing volunteers parent group on Classlist that parents can join.
Create PTA Job Descriptions
You’re far more likely to find people who are willing to volunteer if they know what they are getting into! We’ve found that PTAs which take a professional approach to recruiting volunteers are more successful. Using Job Descriptions is a quick way to get straight to the point. Here’s a pick and mix selection of PTA job descriptions you might like to use!
Main duty: To have the final say on PTA decisions.
- Key jobs: To make all committee members feel welcome and valued; to set the PTA agenda; to provide leadership; to co-write the annual PTA report.
- Needs to be: Enthusiastic, calm; good at listening; decisive.
Main duty: To support the work of the PTA Chair.
- Key jobs: To step in for the Chair when the Chair is absent; to work with the Chair to see the PTA runs smoothly and communicates well.
- Needs to be: Supportive, enthusiastic; energetic; organised.
- Main duty: To oversee the PTA’s financial affairs.
- Key jobs: To manage accounts; do banking and maintain up-to-date financial records.
- Needs to be: Reliable; organised; good with numbers.
Main duty: To keep up-to-date records of PTA activity.
- Key jobs: To organise PTA meetings; to prepare and distribute agendas and minutes; to build strong relationships with key school staff – including the office staff and caretakers.
- Needs to be: Organised; good at time management and friendly.
The Class Rep
Main duty: To support the parents in their class.
- Key jobs: To organise class coffees, answer parent questions, send out weekly reminders to parents.
- Needs to be: Be social and read the school newsletters.
Here's more about Class Reps!
The Comms Agent
- Main duty: To publicise PTA events and activities.
- Key jobs: To get to know as many parents as possible; to promote and communicate what’s going on; to enthuse other parents about what’s going on.
- Needs to be: Friendly; creative; good at writing.
Head of the Sub Committee
Main duty: To lead on organising part of a large event.
- Key jobs: To set up a community group in Classlist, meet up over coffee with their sub team to have a chat, no sorry, to organise their contribution.
- Needs to be: Interested and willing.
The Creative Director
- Main duty: To encourage parents to come up with fun event ideas.
- Key jobs: To ensure that all parents know that fundraising and event ideas are welcomed by the PTA and to ensure that they can put their ideas forward.
- Needs to be: Friendly, creative; can-do.
The Policy Wonk
Main duty: To read through rules and regulations to make sure the PTA are compliant with all legal requirements.
- Key jobs: To explain to the PTA what they are (and aren’t) allowed to do!
- Needs to be: Smart; detail-conscious; good at explaining.
The Risk Assessment Guru
- Main duty: To make risk assessments of any proposed PTA events.
- Key jobs: To discuss potential risks in any event with the PTA and help to consider ways of minimising or eliminating that risk.
- Needs to be: Detail-conscious; logical and thoughtful.
The Grants Officer
- Main duty: To investigate trusts and organisations who might donate money to the school.
- Key jobs: To look for wider opportunities for bringing money into the school.
- Needs to be: Good at writing; organised; ideally with a background in fundraising.
The Cake Chief
Main duty: To be the cake sale guru.
- Key jobs: To be the key figure behind school cake sales – encouraging parents to make cakes and buy cakes.
- Needs to be: Friendly; enthusiastic; fond of cake.
- Main duty: To be the alcohol guru.
- Key jobs: To be the key figure looking after alcohol at any event – taking care of the necessary licences; sourcing the booze and running the beer tent/ bar.
- Needs to be: Organised; responsible; clear-headed.
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