Get Parents to Volunteer for School Events | Jen Cosgrove | Skillshare

Playback Speed

  • 0.5x
  • 1x (Normal)
  • 1.25x
  • 1.5x
  • 2x

Get Parents to Volunteer for School Events

teacher avatar Jen Cosgrove, School Volunteer Leader and Trainer

Watch this class and thousands more

Get unlimited access to every class
Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Watch this class and thousands more

Get unlimited access to every class
Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Lessons in This Class

7 Lessons (13m)
    • 1. Class Preview

    • 2. Set Key Dates

    • 3. Figure Out Volunteer Needs

    • 4. Make it Easy to Say "YES!"

    • 5. Spread the Word

    • 6. Say Thank You!

    • 7. Wrap Up & Questions?

  • --
  • Beginner level
  • Intermediate level
  • Advanced level
  • All levels

Community Generated

The level is determined by a majority opinion of students who have reviewed this class. The teacher's recommendation is shown until at least 5 student responses are collected.





About This Class


Learn how to get busy parents to volunteer so your next school event will be a big success!

Veteran school volunteer leader, Jen Cosgrove, will walk you through proven steps for getting parents to volunteer for school events of any type or size.

You’ll learn how to:

1 - Set Key Dates: Using volunteer-sign-up deadlines to motivate parents

2 - Figure Out Your Volunteer Needs: Creating manageable jobs for leaders and helpers

3 – Make it easy for parents to say “YES!”: Offering specific volunteer opportunities using online and paper sign-ups

4 – Spread the Word: Repeat a positive message across all channels

5 – Say THANK YOU: Appreciating your way to easier recruiting in the future

This class is for any new or experienced volunteer leader, like event chairs, board members, and volunteer coordinators, who need proven steps for getting busy parents to volunteer.

Meet Your Teacher

Teacher Profile Image

Jen Cosgrove

School Volunteer Leader and Trainer


I’m Jen Cosgrove, and I create valuable resources for caring, hardworking school parent group leaders, like you. My goal is to help you do even more good for your kids and your school, with less time and stress.

I’ve served as a school volunteer leader for the past eight years. During that time, I've helped raise hundreds of volunteers for auctions, field day events, dances, enrichment programs, talent shows, community service events, fun runs, annual appeals, golf tournaments, product sales, ceremonies, and more.

I really appreciate what you do!  Your caring, creativity, and effort help kids achieve more.

You deserve a ton of thanks.

And lots of help from other parents!

That’s the focus of my Skillshare classes: sharing proven s... See full profile

Class Ratings

Expectations Met?
  • 0%
  • Yes
  • 0%
  • Somewhat
  • 0%
  • Not really
  • 0%
Reviews Archive

In October 2018, we updated our review system to improve the way we collect feedback. Below are the reviews written before that update.

Why Join Skillshare?

Take award-winning Skillshare Original Classes

Each class has short lessons, hands-on projects

Your membership supports Skillshare teachers

Learn From Anywhere

Take classes on the go with the Skillshare app. Stream or download to watch on the plane, the subway, or wherever you learn best.


1. Class Preview: Hi. My name is Jen Cosgrove. I'm a school volunteer leader and online instructor. This class will help you get the volunteers. You need to make your school events a big success. Parents are so busy these days and that includes you. So how do you get him to volunteer? This class will show you how I'll walk you through the easy to follow steps that I used to get volunteers for all kinds of school event from small to very large. Whether you're a new or experienced school ball into your leader. If you need proven steps for getting busy parents to volunteer this classes for you for your project, you'll share information about your event. Sure, whatever details you'd like and get positive feedback. Also, every event has its own challenge. So please ask questions about your event in the community area. Don't hold back. Really. I would love the chance to help save you so stressed and also celebrate your success. So let's get started. I'll see you in class 2. Set Key Dates: welcome. This class is about getting busy parents to volunteer for school events, so they're a big success. So let's get started. Step one is to set key dates. If your event date has already been set, great. If it hasn't then picked one now you work backward from the event date to set another key date. You're going to your sign up deadline. If your group hasn't set deadlines for volunteer sign ups in the past, this may sound a bit odd. It sounded odd to me the first time I heard other school volunteers recommend this step, but it makes perfect sense when you think about it. When we want parents to do things like said in orders for a fundraiser, we give them a deadline. That way. Organizer's could make decisions and take actions that are bound by other deadlines. Volunteer Sign up deadlines, Help with planning. We wouldn't dream of putting on an event. We didn't have enough money, and we should look at our volunteer needs the same way. By making sure you have enough volunteer support to plan and carry out an event, you'll avoid a common problem where a small number of volunteers get stuck doing all of the work for an event that leads to burnout and makes it harder to recruit other volunteers because parents are afraid the same thing will happen to them. Clear deadlines and consequences help motivate parents. A school group leaders tell parents. We can't do it without you. They have to mean it. And they're positive ways to send this message to parents, which will cover in the video for Step four. For now, let's think about what your volunteers sign up. Deadline should be. And if you need more than one, if you have a lot of leadership roles to fill, like subcommittee chairs or coordinators, set a relatively early sign up deadline for those positions and then set a separate deadline for smaller roles. For example, if you're planning a large event like a fun run or auction and the planning timeline is three months, set your timeline for leadership roles during the first planning month. If you don't have enough volunteers willing to serve a subcommittee chairs or other leader rolls by that point, they're running a big risk of sticking. A small number of volunteers with an unreasonable amount of work and having an unsuccessful event. For smaller jobs like event Day tasks and shifts, consider setting the sign up deadline about three weeks out from the event. If you have a lot of event date positions to fill and sign ups are falling well short, you need to know that before you try to carry out the event, scaling down the event or even cancelling it might be necessary depending on the level of volunteer support. Whatever deadlines you choose, it's important to communicate them clearly and positively, with plenty of reminders. Will cover how to do that in the video. For Step four, you'll even find a sample announcement. You can add it to fit your event, and my recommended resource is so be sure to download that she using the link in the your project section of this class. In the next video, we'll walk through the process of figuring out your volunteer needs 3. Figure Out Volunteer Needs: Step two is to figure out your volunteer needs. Your specific needs will vary by event, but volunteer jobs tend to fall into two main categories. One is leadership roles. Leadership roles involved planning and coordinating other volunteers to help carry out plans. Common leadership rules for an event include co chairs, subcommittee chairs and coordinators who were responsible for planning the event schedule. Format, budget, marketing and more. Leaders helped recruit and coordinate helpers, which is the second main category of volunteers. Leaders ask helpers to do task level jobs, like creating a flyer or filling gift bags or the work shift jobs, like selling tickets or serving food during set time periods. No matter what size event you're planning, one of the most important things you can do to make sure you get the volunteers you need is to make jobs manageable. The key is to split jobs into smaller parts lots of smaller parts, as busiest families are today. It's usually easier to find five volunteers to do. Five small jobs were two volunteers to do to media jobs and three to do small jobs than it is to find one volunteer to do one really big job. This is true for leadership roles and helper roles. Take a dance committee, for example. Recruiting co chairs is often easier than recruiting a single chair. All the planning and coordination work that needs to be done can also be spread out to make it easier to recruit subcommittee chairs and their helpers. Each leader should also be encouraged. Break up their committee or coordinator responsibilities as much as possible. Take the marketing subcommittee, for example. One of their main jobs will be to create and distribute flyers. That job can be broken down into creating and distributing. Distributing could be broken down into a lot of parts by breaking jobs down into parts. You give yourself the flexibility of recruiting for volunteers to do big jobs like all flyer distribution online and offline or medium jobs like handling online flyer distribution or small jobs, like posting flyers on bulletin boards around town or even really small jobs, like posting a single flyer at a grocery store. Not only that, but you'll create a wide variety of manageable jobs that can be done at school and away from school. They can fit any schedule or situation in the next video. We'll cover how to get more parents to say yes to volunteering for the jobs you created 4. Make it Easy to Say "YES!": Step three is to make it super easy for people to say yes to volunteering back to the dance event example and step to you learned how to break up your volunteer needs into a wide variety of manageable jobs. Now it's time to create clear job descriptions for those roles. The best job descriptions are brief and specific. People are much more likely to sign up for specific jobs that fit in their schedule. That vague open into jobs where they have no idea how much work is expected and when. Here are a few examples of the job descriptions that could be created for the food subcommittee on the Left is a leadership role description on the right or help her job descriptions. You want to give parents enough detail to figure out if a job will fit their schedule on what their main responsibilities will be, and notice just how small the helper jobs could be sliced and diced so that there is manageable as possible. Once you created clear job descriptions, you could make it really easy for people to sign up online, sign up tools like side of Genius and sign up dot com offer big advantages over playing email broadcasts and paper sign up sheets. I do recommend that your group also offer paper options, however, which I'll cover in a moment online Side of tools. Make it easy for groups to reach parents, track sign ups and update volunteer openings throughout the planning process. They make it easy, prepares to review and sign up for opportunities and the automatic calendar. Reminders. Help ensure that volunteers show up when needed. Online. Sign of tools basically work the same way you enter job description details into the software to create an online form that lists all your jobs. Then you share that form through all available online channels like your group's Web page, email and social media have to say I've always excited to see how quickly the sign ups grow . After I sent an email. Families, everyone who opens a sign up form could see who's already signed up, and that helps create a snowball effect. As much as I love the ease and effectiveness of online side up tools, I also recommend offering paper Sinus. My school groups have found that if we don't offer a paper sign up option, we lose some possible volunteers. Due to technology and other barriers. You can share paper, sign it forms at meetings and by setting them home with students. And a committee volunteer can also enter paper responses into your online sign up tool so you could easily track all sign ups and openings in one place. Making it easy to say yes boils down to creating clear job descriptions and offering convenient sign up options online and on paper. In the next video, I'll show you the best ways to spread the word about your volunteer opportunities to connect with the most parents. 5. Spread the Word: Step four is to spread the word about your volunteer opportunities. That's right. These are just jobs and tasks. Their opportunities to help the kids. That's the main point of school events, after all, to create positive experiences that enhance the education of our kids. So be really positive about your common goal. Be positive about the variety of volunteer options you're offering. Parents are all busy, but they still want to help their kids by letting them know that there are lots of manageable jobs that can be done at school or outside of school. You'll ease a big concern the voluntary won't fit in their schedule. Be positive and clear about what you need parents to do and when. Tell them something like this. Hello, families. With enough volunteer support, our group can hold a successful event that benefits the kids, So check out the ways you can pitch in and be sure to sign up by the deadline. If we don't have enough volunteer signed up by the deadline, we may need to cancel their then we don't expect this to happen, but we'll be sure to let families know is the deadline approaches If we don't have enough volunteers with your support, though we know we can hold another great event for the kids to help you send a clear, positive message about volunteering to families. I've created a sample announcement that you can edit to fit your event. It's on my recommended resource is sheet, so be sure to download it using the link in the your project section of this class. When you're ready, share your message across every communication channel that you have both online and offline to reach as many busy parents as possible, then repeat repetition is essential to reaching busy parents. That doesn't mean bombarding them every hour, but sending one or two announcements isn't enough these days. To get noticed in a full inbox, news, feed, mailbox or schedule, follow simple messaging plan of making your first announcement, weekly reminders and a final reminder ahead of the sign up deadline to get the responses you need across all communication channels. Of course, positive repetition is the key to spreading the word and getting the volunteers you need. In the next video, we'll cover the all important step of thanking your volunteers 6. Say Thank You!: Step five is to say thank you. Besides showing good manners, thanking volunteers for their help is also the first step to recruiting them in the future . Appreciation doesn't have to be flashy or a huge deal a sincere thank you when they show up for their volunteer job or as they leave or both goes a long way. Or if that's not practical, make sure someone from the committee or volunteer coordinator contacts them after the event by email or social media or phone. It's all great. This is important no matter how small the task, because every bit really does add up. And because volunteering tends to lead to more volunteering the science individual thank you's making an announcement of the event and after the event, thinking all volunteers in the committee and possibly singling out key contributors sends an important message to all families that we really appreciate our volunteers. It helps reinforce a positive perception about volunteering so that all parents, including the ones who didn't sign up this time, are more likely to sign up in the future. Sincere appreciation really does go a long way and makes recruiting easier and easier. Be sure to check out. My recommended resource is sheet because I've included a number of volunteer appreciation. Resource is you can download it using the link in the your project section of this class. 7. Wrap Up & Questions?: Congratulations. You finish the class, and now you're ready to start signing up. Volunteers T shirt. Upload information about your event like job descriptions are online. Sign of forms to your project page in class to get positive feedback. And please ask as many questions that you have about your school's event in the community area. I would love the chance to help save you some stress and also celebrate your success. If you've got a second to leave a review of my class great, I would really appreciate it. And be sure to click on the follow button to get notified about my new classes. And other resource is I share Thanks so much for taking this class. Keep up the good work and please let me know if I could be of any help.