why parents don't volunteer for PTO PTA or school

Why Parents Don’t Volunteer

Does your PTO have trouble getting volunteers for events and programs?  

Do you find that it’s the same 5 or 10 parents pitching in each time and it’s a struggle to get new volunteers?  

The reason for this may be a simple fix.

Read on to get to the solution!

Mistakes You’re Probably Making

Not getting others on board

PTO leaders can make the mistake of having a bit of tunnel vision.

They get in so deep into event planning that they fail to stop to make sure that others know what’s going on until it’s too late to ask for help.  

I get it, and I’ve so been in this situation.  

More than once I been so busy figuring out all the pieces, that I didn’t stop long enough to get some volunteers on board.

And then I’ve regretted it when I’m stuck doing all of the work.  

I really do believe that a lot of parents don’t sign up to help with PTO events because they don’t know that volunteers are needed or that the event is even happening since packed PTO meetings are more of the exception to the rule.

So don’t make the same mistake!

Asking Once

All too often there’s one and only one “general call” for volunteers and that’s it.  

To get parents’ attention, PTOs have to ask for help in a few different ways, not just one.  

In addition to a blurb in the PTO newsletter, make sure there’s a post or two in the PTO Facebook group.

Plus a flyer that goes home at least 2 weeks before the event, along with sign up sheets posted on the PTO bulletin board at school, etc.

And maybe an announcement to students that the event can’t happen without their parent’s help.

Even more may have to be done, depending on the level of help you need.

For more ideas on how to publicize events, check out this post.

Use My Secret Weapon

I go above and beyond the general “all call” to get volunteers.

In fact, my secret weapon that works just about every time!

And that’s to personally ask parents to get involved.

When I was first involved in PTA, none of my other friends were on board with helping out.

For whatever reason, they just weren’t into it.

But I kept after them and asked my friends to get involved in different ways.

I would let them know that we were in it together.

Sometimes, one of us would watch all the kids, leaving the other two to do hands on volunteer tasks.

Fast forward a few years and pretty much all of my friends were involved.

I truly believe it’s due to the fact that I kept asking them to get involved.

And then when they came, I made sure it was a good experience!

Not sharing details

The other mistake that is often made when seeking out volunteers is that the details aren’t well communicated.

And by this I mean that parents don’t actually know if they can volunteer because there’s not enough information provided.

Too often, parents are only seeing “We need help at Carnival. Contact Danielle if you can volunteer.”

How the heck are parents supposed to know what they’re getting into?

Whenever you’re looking for volunteers, you have to communicate not only that you need help, but what type of help and when and where and for how long help is needed.

Can kids come or do volunteers need to get child care? What’s the time helpers are needed?

Most parents will run like the wind from volunteer requests that are too open ended.

The reality is that the a heck of a lot of parents don’t volunteer because they fear getting sucked down into the PTO black hole.

Inside the black hole is a never ending list of things that need to be done that they can’t fathom handling.

And to avoid that bad possibility, they don’t step up to volunteer entirely.

Watch this!

Give this video a watch if you want even more help with this getting more volunteer for your PTO and for school events!

Why Parents Don't Volunteer for PTO / PTA in your School

Recommended Resources

PTA PTO Parent Involvement Success Kit in rainbow theme

If you’re serious about changing the way that your PTO recruits volunteers, then you’ll want a set of tools to use to help you along the way.

The Parent involvement Success Kit not only will make it easier to get volunteers, but you’ll grow your membership base with ease with the step by step plan that’s easy to customize to your PTO and school as well as implement!

Over to you!

Hope this post has helped uncover some reasons why recruiting new volunteers is tough and the ideas and solutions sparked some inspiration to change that for your group!

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