When my kids were younger, I loved volunteering in their classrooms. Whether it was art, gardening, music, classroom parties, or reading, it enjoyed seeing my own kids – and their friends – laugh, play and learn together.
Much as I loved volunteering, I couldn’t help noticing that a small group of parents (usually, Moms) were doing all of the heavy lifting in the classroom. When I asked my teachers and fellow parents why that was happening, the most common reply was “in many families, both parents work, and they are just too busy to volunteer”. That definitely rang true. I myself was working full-time and was often having trouble fitting my volunteer commitments into my not-always-flexible work schedule. Yet I thought it went beyond us being too busy, that there were some other barriers at play.
So I created SimplyCircle, an online teacher-parent communication service, which – among other things – helps teachers get more parents to volunteer in the classroom. Here are 5 simple tips that should help:
1. Ask parents to help! You know the saying “Ask and you shall receive”? Well, if you don’t ask, you definitely shall not receive. When you need parents to volunteer, the first step is to tell them when and where they can help!
2. Accept help, no matter how small. Many working parents can’t commit to volunteer every day (or even every week) in your classroom. But they are happy to help once every once in a while when their work schedule permits it.
3. Make it easy to sign up. Tools like SimplyCircle make signing up for a volunteer commitment as easy as a click of a button. And you know exactly who is coming to the classroom to help!
4. Remind parents about their commitments. With SimplyCircle, volunteer reminders are built right in. So parents don’t forget about their commitments, and you don’t have to worry about reminding them.
5. Thank the volunteers. Showing appreciation to parents who volunteer is one the best ways to make sure they come back. A simple thank you note (which you can send via SimplyCircle, without having to look up individual email addresses), or better yet photos of the kids from the activity they volunteered for, should do the trick!
Here’s how you can use SimplyCircle to get more parents to help in your classroom:
- You create a private circle for your class in just minutes on SimplyCircle
- You invite parents to your circle
- You share photos, updates, calendar, volunteer signups, private messages and anything else you want with parents – it’s that easy!
With SimplyCircle, you can ask parents to volunteer for a one-time event (like a classroom party), or for recurring events (like art class that happens every Monday), or to bring items or food. And don’t forget to share photos from the volunteering event afterwards. Don’t worry, SimplyCircle is 100% private and secure. All photos are shared only with members of your circle, and nobody else can see them. Parents LOVE seeing photos of their kids, and it will keep them coming back for more!
I hope these 5 tips will help you get A LOT more parents to volunteer in your classroom!
SimplyCircle has a completely free plan with basic features, and an inexpensive premium plan with every feature that you could possibly need, including volunteer signups. (It costs just $9.99 per month). Try it out for free today!