How To Provide a Good PTO Volunteer Experience


Three key questions to ask yourself (and answer yes to) to maximize the chances that your volunteers had a good experience—and will want to come back.

by Tim Sullivan


Lots of groups wonder how they can get more volunteers. But before you close out the year and get ready for the summer, it’s important to think about whether you did what you should have to get volunteers to come back in the fall.

Did you find meaningful jobs for them? Recently I heard about a colleague who tried hard to volunteer at her child’s school. She offered to fill an open position and was told, “We’re all set.” She offered to help with several initiatives that would have made participation easier for working parents—and was ignored or again told no thanks. In the parent group world, there is really nothing more deflating than offering to help and being told no. And it sends the message to your parent community that they should spend their time and energy elsewhere. So make sure you reach out to each and every person who offers to volunteer—and let them!

Make parent involvement a priority—get our top 10 tips for success

Did you have a plan? It takes time and planning to develop a solid team of volunteers, so try to find a member who can focus on volunteers. She can find out new people's interests, time commitments, passions, and skills. By tailoring tasks to individuals’ experience and interests, you’re more likely to keep those volunteers interested in coming back.

Did you show your appreciation? Don’t get caught up in wondering which contributions deserve express appreciation—all of them do. Remember to thank your volunteers often and sincerely, even if it’s only to say “great job!” in passing.

Originally published in 2015 and updated regularly

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