The One Thing You Have To Tell Parents

by Tim Sullivan



In these last few weeks of summer or first few weeks of school, your PTO or PTA is going to be tempted to share dozens of different messages with parents. In my experience, way too many of those early messages involve a big fundraiser or order deadlines or fundraiser prizes.

If you want a great year, start by being really careful with your early messaging. Reduce or eliminate the fundraising pitches in those first weeks and instead focus in a big way on one of parents’ real biggest fears—the black hole of volunteering. It’s true—many parents have the impression that getting involved a little will mean they get sucked into a volunteer vortex they can’t escape from. Here’s my full article on the fear of the black hole, and how to overcome that with parents.

Address it. Talk about it. I’d make it the topic of my back-to-school speech. Emphasize that your group celebrates and thrives because of volunteers who can only give a little bit. (Note: Please make sure that is actually true, because it’s essential.)

All of your other efforts, including fundraising, go way better when you broaden your base of volunteers. That’s your most important job, so start there. Good luck!

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