The most treasured volunteers in a school are the parents volunteering in the Parent Teacher Organization (PTO). They give the gift of their time, talent, and leadership towards school initiatives. One of the most vital roles they play is to be the driving force behind PTO fundraising campaigns.
Parents are busy ensuring that their children are supported, loved, and doing well in school. Carpools, after-school activities, and homework are enough to make a busy parent’s mind spin. Then we ask them to be involved with the school’s PTO. If you’re fortunate enough to get a parent that not only wants to join but wants to be an active participant, you’ve just hit the parent jackpot.
Therefore, the staff and team members of a school must ensure they are maximizing the skills and time of each parent who raises their hand and says, “Yes, I’d love to be a part of the PTO fundraising campaign.”
With that idea in mind, we’ve outlined some key ideas to motivate parents and inspire them to give their time and skills.
Welcome Parents Warmly
We all know that first impressions matter, and that’s also the case with parent volunteers. Be welcoming by providing coffee and pastries and some social interaction before or after your PTO meetings. Host some planning committee meetings at private homes, so that everyone can bring drinks or food to share. Make it a social event, and you’re sure to get some new parents looking for social gathering opportunities.
Put together a Welcome Packet with information about the school and key leadership members of the PTO. Include the mission and activities that are already planned for the year ahead and the big ‘why’ that the PTO is working together to bring awareness and funding to the school. Capture stories of students and how their days have been affected by the work of the PTO. Illustrate not only the importance of the organization but how students are influenced by the funds raised and volunteer time given.
Discover Their Strengths
Once a parent has joined the PTO make a point to reach out to them one on one. Maybe it’s by email or phone but the goal is to make a personal contact with the new volunteer. You want to get to know them a bit more and why they have chosen to say ‘yes!’ to volunteering. What level of involvement can they commit to?
Ask questions and listen to their response. Take notes because this is a crucial step in identifying where the parent is best suited to fit into the PTO structure. You want to uncover their strengths, time commitments, passions, and willingness to participate. You want to discover their strengths and suggest placement in the organization which best suits their characteristics and strengths. The more they feel a sense of winning and acceptance the more likely they will be to stay involved and create the momentum that you look for from a volunteer.
Make the Case
When it comes to PTO fundraising campaigns, the case for why funds are needed is a critical moment for parent volunteers and their buy-in. People are motivated for different reasons. People need to be inspired to know where they’re going, what they’re going after, and why their work, time, and effort will make a difference.
Do you have a fundraising goal for the year? Do you have participation goals? Share them. Do you have several events that entail different levels of strategy and participation? Outline them. Is the money that needs to be raised going towards a specific program? Paint the picture.
The more people understand what needs to be done and why they need to do it, the more likely you will be to have buy-in and participation from parent volunteers.
Celebrate the Wins and Give Thanks
After the parents have successfully completed their PTO fundraising campaigns, they need to be celebrated, acknowledged, and thanked. An important step in this part of the relationship is ensuring that the team and staff of the school track the volunteers, their participation level, and the amount of money raised.
A great way to track all of this data is through p2p crowdfunding software that not only allows you to track the donor but the student or event participant that has the relationship with the donor. This software works for Fun Runs, service campaigns, school sales contests, and all of the best PTO fundraisers. The parent volunteer may be a donor, but they also can be the lead relationship to other key donors. The team will want to track that relationship to ensure that everyone is thanked for their gifts and participation in the campaign.
Conclusions on Motivating PTO Volunteers
A key to success in ensuring that parent volunteers not only stay involved but also successfully help to fundraise for a PTO is by treating them the way that they would like to be treated. It’s as simple and beautiful as that.