I had the privilege of talking to parent group leaders at our recent PTO Today Expos. Connecting with folks in our community and on Facebook and Twitter is great, but there's nothing like talking face to face with passionate PTO and PTA volunteers. It was so fun to hear about what various groups are doing for programs and events. You can probably guess what most of our conversations centered around... how to get more volunteers and how crazy the end of the school year is!  I was impressed by how many leaders said they don't let up on volunteer recruitment in the spring, despite busy family schedules.

I found it interesting that many leaders said they had considerable success signing up volunteers at spring Family Movie Nights. What I heard is that families have so much going on this time of year, that the last thing they want is have another event that requires a lot of band width.  Word is that families love the low-key aspect of Family Movie Nights. A table set up with volunteer sign-up sheets near the snacks inspires parents to contribute to future events. Parents are much more likely to sign up for a shift when they feel like part of the school community and after they had a good time a school family event. Leaders also told me that finding a volunteer to run a Family Movie Night is easier than most because you can hand them a kit with:


  • Step-by-step planning guidelines

  • Themes, ideas and tips

  • Fun snack ideas

  • Invitation flyer

  • What you need to know about movie licensing

  • Promotional event letterhead



One mom, who runs their Family Movie Nights, said that they start movie nights off outside. They light their playground and let the kids play for 45 minutes. Kids love it because they get a kick out playing on their playground at night and parents love it because the kids get their wiggles out.  After a bit of fresh air the families head inside to get cozy on sleeping bags to watch a movie. Apparently there is something about the relaxed atmosphere that makes parents want to give back to the school and parent group by volunteering an hour or two.  Give it a try and let us know how it goes!