Booster clubs and PTO's can never have enough volunteers. After all, the more volunteers you have, the greater the success of your events and fundraisers!
But it always seems to be a challenge to get volunteers, right? Sometimes I shake my head when I realize we have hundreds if not thousands of parents in our school system and only a very small fraction step up to volunteer. Then I remember how busy people are: they work, they take care of their household, they have a family, they chauffeur and attend extracurricular activities like plays, sports, and concert. That doesn't leave much time left to do volunteer.
Thankfully, there are tactics you can implement that can increase the number of volunteers at your next event.
Tactic #1: Focus on the Benefit
Begin by defining the value of the volunteer's contribution. Every volunteer opportunity creates a valuable benefit for your students, your teachers, your school, and the community. Make sure you point out what that benefit is! Examples: "In just one hour, you can generate $1,000 to fund student opportunities when you work the register at the school store." "Show our teachers/coaches your gratitude by serving food at this year's Appreciation Luncheon."
Tactic #2: Persuade, Don't Beg
The typical way that booster clubs and PTO's ask for help from volunteers goes something like this: "We need your donation! Please support us!!" That is begging. There's no benefit to the reader. And even more important, it's too vague.
Tactic #3: Be Concise
Make every word matter. More words = less chance they will be read. The person you are asking to volunteer is also being asked questions constantly by their family, their employer, their friends, their neighbors, businesses they shop at, and advertisers. When you write a volunteer solicitation email, re-read it 24 hours later (and before you send it). Remove as many words as possible without changing the message. You'll be surprised how concise your request can be.
Tactic #4: Ask What They Do
Once upon a time, I met a board member from our booster club. I asked him "what kind of help you need?" His answer was genius: "What do you do?" When I told him I build websites, he nearly fell over. He was so excited. "We need a website! You could build one for us!" And that's how I got roped in. I expected him to say things like "we always need help, just give us your email address and we'll let you know when a need comes up." But instead, he asked what my interest was, what my skills were, and then he found a way to utilize my expertise to help the club. You can do the same thing the next time you talk to potential volunteers. Ask them what they do. You'll be pleasantly surprised to see the wide range of experience you could tap into in your hometown. But only if you ask.
Tactic #5: Make It Easy
Make sure your website makes it as easy as possible for people to volunteer. Have a prominent link on every page of your site that says "volunteer!" When you send an email asking people to volunteer for an event, include a simple, clickable link in the email to the sign-up form on your website. Something like myboosterclub.com/help. Avoid using complicated, long links that are overloaded with gibberish characters and numbers. If BoosterSpark powers your website, your members can log into their account and very easily complete sign-up forms on your site.
Tactic #5: Show Gratitude
Your events simply would not happen without volunteers. You need those volunteers. The fastest way to lose a volunteer is to let them think you don't appreciate them. The size of their donation is irrelevant. Whether they donated a napkin, their time, or $10,000, every donor appreciates being thanked. Be sure you send a personalized "thank you" email after each donation is received. When you use a BoosterSpark.com volunteer sign-up form, you can schedule an automatic email to be sent following the event to each of your volunteers thanking for their donation.
Tactic #6: Social Proof
Social proof is a psychology term. It means "when I see other people doing something, I tend to think I should be doing it too." You can establish social proof by acknowledging your volunteers on your website. Future potential volunteers will see past names and subconsciously think "oh, I guess this is something I should be doing, so I'll volunteer" especially if they see names they recognize and respect.
Your BoosterSpark-powered website can list the names of volunteers and donors. This feature can be enabled on a per-event basis, and volunteers can opt-out if they prefer to remain anonymous.
Example of a Benefit-Oriented, Persuasive, Concise, Easy, Grateful Volunteer Solicitation Email
Here's an example of an effective volunteer solicitation email. I sent this to all parents when we coordinated a staff appreciation breakfast. We sent this email out to all parents, and we made sure to spell out how their donation would benefit teachers. The sign-up form asked parents to donate all of the food, drinks, paper products, and labor to feed 150 people. This email successfully attracted all of the donations we needed:
Want to show gratitude for everything INSERT_SCHOOL_NAME staff does to help our kids grow into successful, happy adults?
During Staff Appreciation Week, parents and the INSERT_BOOSTER_CLUB_NAME will provide breakfast for INSERT_SCHOOL_NAME faculty on INSERT_DAY_AND_DATE.
We need your help. Could you:
Please let us know by clicking the following link. Thank you!
Easily create a professional website for your booster club! BoosterSpark lets you hit the ground running — why reinvent the wheel when we've already figured out what effective booster club websites need? Choose the sections you want on your website, use our content templates as a starting point, and customize to fit the needs of your club.
Easily send email to groups you select (your members, volunteers, sponsors, board, committees, etc) as needed.
Why send your users to a cumbersome, clunky third party website? When you have a BoosterSpark website, you can easily build sign-up forms and integrate them on your club's website. No more sending long links of gibberish to your audience; simply tell them to visit a simple link on your website to sign up!
When volunteers sign up on your website, BoosterSpark saves that information in your account. You'll be able to send reminder emails, thank you emails, and can invite past volunteers to future volunteer opportunities, meetings, and events.
BoosterSpark is the easiest way to manage member information. No more paper forms, no more confusing spreadsheets. Members can join your booster club on your BoosterSpark website. They — not you — enter their information, pay online, and their information is saved in your account. All major credit cards are accepted, and you won't need to pay for a costly merchant account.
Send emails to members any time. Thank them for your support. Invite them to meetings, events, and fundraisers. You can even send them an email next year inviting them to renew their membership!
Tap into a new revenue stream by letting sponsors buy sponsorships on your website. Local newspapers have disappeared, making local businesses desperate for ways to reach local families. Your sponsors will be able to manage their own page on your website! They can upload their logo, photos, offers, and more.
Additional features and services coming soon!
✔ Website |
✔ Website Text Templates
✔ Admin Panel
✔ Domain Name
✔ Membership Sales & Database
✔ Volunteer Signups & Database
✔ Online Sponsorships
✔ Credit Card Acceptance
✔ Tips & How-To Guides
Build a sense of community. Foster spirit. Publicize fundraisers and events. Solicit donations, sponsorships, memberships, and volunteers. Increase your club's success! Sign up now to be the first to know when BoosterSpark launches:
BoosterSpark was created by a dad who wore many hats at his kids' school booster club, including president, vice president, event coordinator, publicity coordinator, website coordinator, social media coordinator, volunteer recruitment, member recruitment, and event volunteer. He's also the owner of a website development firm established way back in 1996.
During his tenure as booster club president, his club's team increased the amount of funds available by partnering with local businesses, increasing paid memberships, introducing new fundraisers and revenue streams, and improving communication with the community. Now he is focused on bringing that success to as many booster clubs as possible!