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Getting parent volunteers is difficult, but not impossible

SUMMARY

  • The article on schoolvolunteersshare.com provides a lot of statistics that come from surveys of school volunteer leaders and PTAs. Of these leaders, about 40 percent believe their group is constantly being asked for more volunteer support, and about 50 percent feel their group is constantly being asked for more financial support. Approximately 80 percent say their group has 20 or fewer regular volunteers, and of the schools that have larger volunteer bases, nine percent say they have 30 or more, which is down from 21 percent in 2013. These volunteer groups are overworked and dwindling.

  • The article discusses a number of reasons why PTAs often are low on volunteers. Some parents are scared to put themselves out there, while others are worried that saying yes to just one job will result in them getting never-ending requests for help. Many simply don’t have the time. A big issue for regular volunteers, meanwhile, is volunteer burnout—they’re already spread so thin that taking on anything else is an impossible task for them to consider.

  • There are some ways organizations can decrease the potential for volunteer burnout. They can schedule fewer events and activities and aim to get more out of their big-ticket ones. They can split up volunteers to make sure it isn’t one group taking on all the hardest work. They can create more “shifts” at longer activities to prevent volunteers from having to give up huge chunks of their day. These are all examples of some strategies to decrease burnout. 

INSIGHT

Volunteers are a precious resource for school districts. It’s hard enough to attract them, let alone retain them. Therefore, schools need to make sure they’re treating their volunteers well, which means both showing their appreciation and avoiding overworking them.

Flex Academies can help prevent volunteer burnout by developing fully fledged afterschool programs and before and aftercare that do not require parent volunteers to run, which frees them up to be used for other events and takes a massive burden off the shoulders of your PTA.

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