Ideas to Help Attract Volunteers
WACSSO understands the continual challenge faced by P&Cs to attract and retain volunteers. Whether it is to assist with an event, or fill an Office Bearer position on the P&C, getting busy parents to gift their time can be difficult. We've put together some resources to assist P&Cs with recruiting and retaining volunteers.
Some tips to assist P&Cs in recruiting volunteers:
- Shout it from the rooftops! Use social media and email lists, if the school is amenable place notices by each classroom and if you're a parent, chat with other parents at school pick-up or school events to spread the word about your need for volunteers. Reach out to former volunteers to see if they'd like to rejoin. Remember that volunteers do not have to have a child enrolled at the school. Be creative with your social media, and make it fun!
- Emphasise the benefits of volunteering. Highlight the personal benefits of volunteering, such as developing new skills, making new friends and contributing to the community. Ensure everyone knows how essential the P&C is, and that without them, there would be no canteen, uniform shop, school fete, disco, colour run or whatever is particularly popular in your community. Highlight the benefits to students as well - helping at school has proven benefits to children's education and social outcomes
- Make your pitch short and pithy, but clear. Clearly define the roles and responsibilities of the committee. Let potential volunteers know what is expected of them, the time commitment, and what kind of tasks they would be involved in.
- Get current committee members involved. Encourage current and former committee members to spread the word and reach out to their own networks.
- Be flexible. Offer a variety of volunteer opportunities with different time commitments to accommodate different schedules and interests. Where practical, allow online attendance to meetings and ensure meeting times and regularity will work for most. Importantly, make sure meetings are run efficiently, run to time and are not longer than needed.
- Put effort into retaining your current volunteers. Thank volunteers for their time and effort, and make sure they feel valued and supported in their role. There are some great resources to help with volunteer recognition on the Volunteering WA website. Ensure meetings are run efficiently and that the P&C invests as appropriate in software that will assist volunteers in performing their roles well.
- Employ staff where practicable. Can you afford a paid canteen manager and uniform shop manager or bookkeeper? Perhaps it's time to invest in employees.
- Engage local businesses. Perhaps a local bookkeeping service will provide one of their employees on a pro bono basis to assist the P&C Treasurer.
- Contact Centrelink about providing you with a volunteer under their 'Volunteering and mutual obligation requirements' program, or any other program for which your P&C may be eligible.
- Ask other P&Cs in your area about their hints and tips. If you're not sure where to start, reach out to your State Councillor who can help connect you with other P&Cs in your region.
- Get people to commit to volunteering a set number of hours every term to help the P&C. Use a resource such as the “We can’t do it without you’ flyer and have people sign up as a ‘2-hour Vower’ in an area they have a personal interest in.
- Last, be BLUNT. If fundraising is getting done, the canteen is operating well and uniforms are being sold, the school community will assume the P&C is operating well. Sometimes a skeleton P&C can work wonders but eventually, it will take its toll. You can be too competent for your own good. Sometimes you just need to tell it as it is. If there are not enough volunteers and members to run fundraising, canteen and uniform shop then these services are under risk and may need to be shut down. The school needs to know this!