8 Ways to Recognize Volunteers and Increase Involvement

8 way to recognize volunteers and increase involvement in your PTO/PTA. There's a secret to getting and keeping more parents involved in your school group. It's not as hard as you might think. Get the skinny here.

Volunteers who give of their time or money deserve to be recognized early and often!  It’s a great way to foster a positive experience and it leads to greater involvement.

After all, when’s the last time you stayed involved when you didn’t feel appreciated?  Ummmm… that’s right, you didn’t!

Don’t make the same mistake with your parent volunteers.  No group can be successful without lots and lots of help!

Here are eight different ideas to recognize volunteers in a way that will keep them coming back to help time and again!

Shout it out!

Publicly praise and thank volunteers and leaders!  Make sure to recognize people who play both big and small roles in the PTO.  And don’t just pick your friends to highlight either!  That plays into the clique stereotype that all PTOs face.

Some quick and easy ways to publicly thank volunteers for their help are through announcements at meetings, a short blurb in your school newsletter ‘s Volunteers of the Month section.  See if your school will read a thank you during morning announcements.  Kids love it when their parent’s name is read and are excited for their involvement.

Send an email

I don’t know about you, but whenever I get an email personally thanking me for volunteering at XYZ function, it makes me want to continue to give of my time to that organization.  I like to get these small kudos.  It helps me to feel it’s a good use of my time because my efforts aren’t going unnoticed.

Make a Note

Better yet, write out an actual note and send it home to the volunteers via backpack mail.  Wouldn’t the recipient feel special, especially given how rare written cards are these days?

Be Random

Randomly pick a meeting during the year to host a volunteer appreciation dessert.  Or, for a really low key and low cost event, surprise meeting attendees with chocolate!  Bottom line- it doesn’t have to be fancy and your gesture will really be appreciated!

Use Social Media

Shout out thank on social media following events.  Publicly tagging people (or if they’re uncomfortable with that, just list their first name) is a great way to recognize volunteers and helpers.
“Thank you to Annie, Peter, Tracy and Paula for their help at last night’s spaghetti dinner fundraiser!  The event wouldn’t have been a success without you!”  

(Want some free social media images to use in your posts?  Click here!)

Snap a pic

Take a picture of volunteers in action at an event and add them to your group’s social media accounts or post them on your PTO bulletin board is another way to thank them. Again, kids will see the picture and will likely tell their parents all about it, further cementing the volunteer’s motivation to continue!

Don’t wait

Make sure to check in with your volunteers during the event itself.  Ask if they need anything (water, a break!).  This is sure to make them feel appreciated!

And the Oscar goes to

Host your very own Volunteer Award Ceremony!  Make sure to have more than one category and get creative!  How about Most Inspirational?  Carnival King/Queen? A bubbles award for always having a bubbly and enthusiastic attitude?  A Seinfeld award for making something out of nothing?  Have fun with this!

Hint- instead of thinking of different award titles, think of the volunteer individually and come up with an award based on their strengths!  It may be easier!

Over to you!

Which of these ideas are you most excited to try?  The PTAs I’ve been involved with have never had a fun awards ceremony like that one I described- I’d like to see that implemented! How about you?


Even more help!

Getting parents involved in PTO shouldn’t be as hard as it is.  That’s why I created the Membership Master Plan.  It features fully customizable letters, flyers and events that are tried and true ways to ignite parent participation.  Check it out to see how your group could use it and grow as a result!

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