Find out when Teacher Appreciation Week happens this year and get resources you can use to make Teacher Appreciation Day a success at your school. FutureFund provides a survey you can send to teachers at your school, a supplies checklist, and more.
Volunteers are essential for keeping a PTA organized and running well. When your volunteers feel supported, they sign up more often and work harder to make your fundraisers successful—so using the right tools and strategies to attract and engage them is a key part of your school group’s long-term success.
FutureFund supports PTA volunteers with tools that help your team stay organized and in the loop. Here’s a guide from our team you can use to help your PTA attract new volunteers and enhance parent engagement.
Attract New PTA Volunteers with FutureFund
Our platform comes with powerful tools that can help you successfully run your calendar fundraiser more effectively than ever before. These include:
- A built-in messaging system you can use to announce your fundraisers or events and provide details.
- Opportunity to create volunteer sign-up lists to optimize parent and community involvement.
- Payment processing for membership dues.
- Easy-to-use parent and volunteer directory.
- Powerful financial reporting tools to help you track your earnings, stay compliant, and plan future fundraisers more effectively. And save time for your volunteers.
Table of Contents
- Recruiting Members
- Holding Membership Drives
- Communicating With Members
- Improving Volunteer Engagement
Recruit All Year Long
While back to school time is usually the most popular time to recruit new hands for your community projects, keep in mind that every fundraising event is an opportunity to expand your volunteer list.
You never know when your next group of volunteers will be ready to sign on the dotted line, so make sure to have sign-up information available and ready. Create QR Codes that are linked directly to your sign-up forms so you can automatically register new members and organize their contact information within your secure database through FutureFund.
Cast a Wider Net
Don’t just depend on school parents for your volunteer pool. Consider the community members and their strengths when looking for volunteers for your events! Include high schoolers, college kids, and various other professionals while looking for hands to fill the event gaps.
Also, keep in mind that events and event prep aren’t the only places where volunteers are needed: the school itself might need some extra hands during the school day or any event that they’re putting on separate from the PTO/PTA.
Sweeten the Deal
Don’t be afraid to throw in a few freebies or emphasize the benefits to your volunteers for their time:
- Trying to appeal to some high schoolers? Remind them that volunteer hours and giving back to their community will look GREAT on their college applications.
- Were you able to swing some free movie passes or other donations from some local shops? Offer them to your volunteers in exchange for their time during an event or the event prep.
With incentives like these, you’ll not only show your volunteers your appreciation, you’ll give them something tangible to take home after they’re done helping with your event.
Holding Membership Drives
Plan Drive Times
Hold annual membership drives or plan them at specific intervals throughout the year. These drives can be planned as “events” with the sole purpose to recruit members into the PTA and the volunteer pool or they can be often paired with other school-related events as well, such as back-to-school or registration nights. Set up a table with PTA information, and use FutureFund’s messaging tools to issue updates or reminders.
Utilize Current Members
At drive times, utilize current members to recruit! Having outgoing volunteers to man the PTA table and ask people to join is a vital step in holding a successful membership drive.
Your volunteers should also be able to share information about the membership benefits—including information about membership dues. You can even incentivize membership sign-up by offering half off members fees during the first month of school—and you can set this type of exclusive pricing within your FutureFund account.
Sign Members Up Virtually
FutureFund makes the process of signing members up seamless with its digital sign-up forms and member registration opportunity.
Bonus: Once you the members are signed-up, you’re able to use a secure online database that holds everyone’s information in one spot, saving everyone a headache and keeping everyone in the know.
Communicating with Members
Utilize FutureFund’s Messaging Tools
FutureFund makes managing PTA members incredibly easy by giving you a single platform you can use to sign-up, communicate, and engage your members. Create custom sender profiles and audiences, and reach out to volunteers in specific positions to seamlessly coordinate fundraising efforts.
Follow Up with Everyone
Anyone who signs up to volunteer for events deserves a call back or a quick chat for the generosity of their time.
Even if it’s just a quick interview to confirm their availability and their comfort levels with different aspects of the event process, it’s important that they understand that you see them and you appreciate their willingness to help. This makes people feel valued and encourages them to volunteer in the future.
FutureFund makes it easy to follow-up with your members by allowing you to keep a digital volunteer directory. This provides a safe and secure way to store parent contact information, and lets you customize permissions so that only the people who need access can see it.
No Gatekeeping Allowed
We’ve all been the newbies in a given situation, and feeling confused and out of the loop isn’t fun. Make sure all of your volunteers are on the same page for their tasks.
Also, if anyone seems lost, feel free to give them whatever tips and tricks that you found useful at that stage in the volunteer process. We want to make sure that everyone feels included, comfortable, and confident with their job, so that they know they’re a valuable part of the volunteer team.
Patience is Key
Be aware that it will sometimes take several conversations before a potential volunteer is ready to report for duty. This is perfectly okay. Just be mindful of when someone crosses from thinking about it to being uninterested, and respect their need for space if they request it.
Improving Volunteer Engagement
Flexibility is a Must
Try to give a job to anyone who is available, even if their availability is only once every other week to once a month. If one of your volunteers has young kids and they’re having trouble finding a babysitter, try to give them a job where they can bring their kids with them. Your volunteers will notice you going the extra mile to accommodate them, which will inspire them to sign up again and again.
Maximize Volunteer Potential
Try to pair volunteers to activities within their wheelhouse if at all possible. For example:
- Did any artists offer to help out at an event? Add a face painting station or art class booth to your next fundraiser!
- Know any engineers or physicists? See if they would be willing to host a paper airplane building class and subsequent paper airplane contest for the kids in the community!
Trying to match your volunteers with their comfort levels will not only let them know that you value their contribution, but it will allow them to feel like their time volunteering for your event was their time well spent, which is a win for everyone involved.
The number one rule of any event or gathering is for everyone to have fun! Your volunteers are signing up because they want to contribute to the school and give back to the community. They’re more likely to sign up again if everyone is having a memorable time while enriching and providing entertainment to better the community.
Highlight Time Commitments
You may find it useful to have the jobs organized by the time commitment required on your volunteer sign up sheet. This way, the parent is aware of what they’re signing up for and they can pace their volunteer and non-volunteer time in a way that’s comfortable for them.
Let Volunteers Participate from Anywhere
Provide as many volunteer options as possible from as many locations as you can. Let parents know that simple tasks like cutting out paper shapes or updating and monitoring a voting website for a virtual event is the perfect job for someone who wants to volunteer but is stuck at home.
Brag a Little
Don’t be afraid to brag about the club or your events to parents face to face. If other parents see how proud and enthusiastic you are about your events, they’re more willing to get involved and join in on the fun.
Save the Guilt Trip
It can be disheartening to put a lot of time and energy into an event only to have a fraction of the committed volunteers show up to help execute it. Try not to pile on the guilt to those that showed up to help.
Starting an event on a low note can be contagious to anyone who encounters the vibes and can take an event from stellar to draining. Instead, make sure the people who did show up know how much you appreciate their efforts!
Try Not to Micromanage
Don’t micromanage your volunteers. There are plenty of ways to do the same thing and letting them conduct their activity in a way that’s comfortable to them will be more fun and less stressful to your volunteers and to you. This, in turn, will encourage them and build their confidence in their own abilities and make them more likely to volunteer in the future.
Make sure to remind your volunteers about how thankful you are for their help and remind them that the event would have been possible without them. Because let’s face it: no matter how good of a planner you are, there’s no way for you to be everywhere and doing everything at once.
See What FutureFund Can Do for Your Volunteers
Saving your volunteers time and reducing their stress makes them happier, and more likely to participate in your fundraising activities—which in turn helps your school group meet your financial targets. By streamlining communication and automating key processes in one easy-to-manage database, FutureFund gives you the tools you need to make volunteering easier than ever.
Get started with FutureFund here to learn about the specific ways that we can help your PTA attract, engage, and retain volunteers. For more details about some of the key tools we offer, browse the FAQ below.
Frequently Asked Questions
How can I use FutureFund’s messaging system to gain more volunteers?
FutureFund’s messaging system lets you:
- Send messages to every parent in your school community or filter your audience to reach specific groups.
- Create unique sender profiles to make sure the message is always coming from the appropriate party.
- Use customizable message templates to save time when broadcasting updates or announcements.
How does FutureFund save time for volunteers?
FutureFund is designed to streamline key aspects of fundraising and selling—which means your volunteers can spend less time raising more money.
- Pre-Built Fundraising Campaigns: Every account comes with templates for different fundraiser types ready to customize and launch—no need to create a campaign from scratch ever again.
- Real-Time Analytics: See every donor and their contribution as soon as they make it, and track your campaign progress with helpful data visualization tools.
- Payment Processing: Accept payments via all major credit and debit cards and record purchases made through other methods like cash and checks as well.
How does FutureFund increase parent engagement?
FutureFund reduces unnecessary paperwork and automates key administrative tasks so that your parent volunteers can do more meaningful work in less time. Key features include:
- Volunteer Sign-Up: Make it easier for volunteers to sign-up by uploading all the forms they need to your account—so they can spend less time on paperwork.
- Online Directory: Track all your members across different levels and store their contact information in a secure database that’s easy for your admins to navigate and edit.
- Messaging System: Keep the people who need to know in the loop with customizable messaging tools that make it easy to reach your whole organization or specific audiences.
- Parent Site: Provide useful resources to parents by creating a dedicated hub for them—plus use it to provide your members with discounts and other perks!