Filling a volunteer roster can be difficult. And making the most of your volunteers’ time is an additional challenge that is often missed by even the most seasoned planners. Before your next big school function, try these recruiting tips to get all the help you need. Then, show your appreciation with creative thank-you gifts for volunteers to keep them coming back.
Before the event
Involving families is crucial to the success of any event. In fact, the more involved a parent is, the better a student’s academic performance. Here are some ways to get parents and other family members more involved:
- Remind them about the importance of their involvement and give them choices. At the beginning of the year, share all the upcoming events and ask them which ones interest them most.
- Offer incentives when they sign up to volunteer. School spirit giveaways, such as hats or headbands, make perfect gifts.
- Offer childcare. If possible, allow volunteers to bring their children to an event and provide onsite babysitting.
- Instead of long shifts, ask volunteers to give just an hour or two. A whole day of volunteering may not be possible for some.
- Be flexible! Offer opportunities that can be done at home before the event for those who have limited free time.
During the event
After you’ve secured your volunteer force, it’s important to make the most of their time. Try these tips:
- Make it easy for attendees to identify volunteers by outfitting them in matching trucker hats or baseball tees.
- Ask volunteers about their interests, hobbies and careers. Then, make use of their strengths when deciding who should do what at the event. This will help keep them engaged.
- Set goals for every role. This helps volunteers stay on track, make quick decisions and feel accomplished.
- Pair new volunteers with seasoned ones so they can learn by example.
- Make sure all volunteers know how to contact the event manager in case of questions.
After the event
When a volunteer feels appreciated, they are more likely to volunteer again. Here are a few ways to say thanks and make them feel part of the team.
- Ask for their feedback.
- Recognize volunteers in the next school newsletter and on social media.
- Highlight their impact on the school.
- Whether they gave 10 minutes or 10 hours, show appreciation with a creative thank-you gift for volunteers, such as wireless ear buds or a pop-up planter kit.
Retain your volunteers
After showing your appreciation, don’t forget to ask them to volunteer again! With your thoughtful gift and fond memories of the last school event, they’ll be sure to give their time in the future.
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