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Old 09-25-2012, 07:27 AM   #1
eliza61

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Volunteer organizers, PTA leaders, captains, need some help.

Some how I ended up being the captain for my H.S. activity committee (how this happen I don't know, my kids have graduated. ) Anyhoo, I got a whole bunch of folks who said they would just loooove to help and signed up but now won't show up.

Why do people volunteer if they really can't or don't want to do it?

Any way need some tips to motivate those who signed up to follow through.

Basically the committe is responsible for maybe 5 or 6 "events". Jr ring day breakfast, 100 day celebration, homecoming dance, teacher appreciation lunch, senior sports night dinner. stuff like that.

I've offered to hold meetings what ever night is convienent for majority. I've offered tele meetings, sat meetings, sunday meetings. you get my drift. At school, at my house, at starbuks..


I don't want to burn out the ones that chip in regularly. How do you gently nudge the others into helping. I mean they did sign up for it.
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Old 09-25-2012, 07:35 AM   #2
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Originally Posted by eliza61 View Post
Some how I ended up being the captain for my H.S. activity committee (how this happen I don't know, my kids have graduated. ) Anyhoo, I got a whole bunch of folks who said they would just loooove to help and signed up but now won't show up.

Why do people volunteer if they really can't or don't want to do it?

Any way need some tips to motivate those who signed up to follow through.

Basically the committe is responsible for maybe 5 or 6 "events". Jr ring day breakfast, 100 day celebration, homecoming dance, teacher appreciation lunch, senior sports night dinner. stuff like that.

I've offered to hold meetings what ever night is convienent for majority. I've offered tele meetings, sat meetings, sunday meetings. you get my drift. At school, at my house, at starbuks..


I don't want to burn out the ones that chip in regularly. How do you gently nudge the others into helping. I mean they did sign up for it.
Give it up, they're not coming.

They want the credit, or they had good intentions, but don't actually want to have to show up and keep up with the whole deal.

If you really want to give it a last shot, I'd send out a blunt ultimatum email like - 'I have tried X times to get the whole group who signed up to meet to discuss these issues, and I'm afraid we're at the point that planning has to move forward in earnest and we cannot wait any longer.

There will be a meeting at X time and place to make a firm schedule and divide responsibilities for whatever people are responsible for in this in your area, decorations committee, whatever. Anyone interested in going forward is more than welcome to attend, but those who attend will be expected to be available for meetings once a whatever and committed to whatever.

I appreciate the dedication of those who have attended previous meetings and thus want to try to move things forward more quickly from now on.Those who originally signed up but have not attended any meetings thus far and who do not attend this meeting or contact me will be dropped from this email list. Thank you for your interest; I understand we're all busy, that's why we need to firm up committees going forward.

Anyone with any questions can contact me at '1-800-Hate-You-People'

Eliza
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Old 09-25-2012, 07:49 AM   #3
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Cornflake is right, you have to be firm.

You can't be "gentle" when you are in this position. Everything has to be "matter of fact".

You have to have deadline dates. Oh and stop with the "offering to hold meetings for them when they can show". The meetings are held (within reason of course) when you can show up.

Basically a "no show/no contact" takes you off the list for being a volunteer for the event. You get booted.

Since you are "the boss", you have to make the final decisions to move forward to allow planning for the events.
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Old 09-25-2012, 08:08 AM   #4
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Contact each nonattendee personally and discuss work to be done and what that person can reasonably do. At the beginning of the school year, many families struggle to accomplish everything. Children, of course, are the priority. Getting mad and cutting people from your list gives you less potential workers. That's not your objective. Your objective is to get help from as many of your volunteers as possible. That doesn't mean that everyone has to show up at every meeting. Maybe some people only want to help with something that is later in the year. Schedule them for that. No one approach is right for every family.
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Old 09-25-2012, 08:22 AM   #5
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Contact each nonattendee personally and discuss work to be done and what that person can reasonably do. At the beginning of the school year, many families struggle to accomplish everything. Children, of course, are the priority. Getting mad and cutting people from your list gives you less potential workers. That's not your objective. Your objective is to get help from as many of your volunteers as possible. That doesn't mean that everyone has to show up at every meeting. Maybe some people only want to help with something that is later in the year. Schedule them for that. No one approach is right for every family.
They're adults.

If they can only do something later in the year, they were, presumably, free to contact the OP and ask if that's something she needs/they can do. Nothing about the OP sounds mad to me, just frustrated, and who can blame her?

Ignoring her attempts to coordinate anything shouldn't result in mollycoddling and chasing after people individually to work individual schedules and plans for every single person. That's ridiculous. Not to mention even if someone were so inclined (there would be pigs on air traffic control radar before I personally was inclined to go contacting each person all 'well, what can you do that will work within your schedule do you think?') these people have proven themselves nothing but unreliable.

They're not potential workers, they're potential trouble, when they flake on what they thought they'd be able to do but then, oh, gee, they had to get Sally from wherever and make dinner and... No one needs people like that.

They *volunteered*. .... or get off the pot, you know? If they want to help, they have to show up. Dump 'em.

Agree with Mystery too - schedule a meeting that's convenient for you, the coordinator, and that's that.

I mean if you say 'Saturday at 4' and 4 of 5 people email to say they really can't do Saturday, or can only do after 6 sure, switch, but in general, just pick something and stick to it.

Last edited by cornflake; 09-25-2012 at 08:28 AM.
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Old 09-25-2012, 08:33 AM   #6
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We were having this problem at school a few years ago. People would sign up, then the same few people who always did everything would be the only ones to show up. We finally had an outcall to the entire school, that said if we don't get X number of volunteers by X, we would have no choice but to cancel the event. People actually signed up, and came! Guess they didn't want their little snowflake to actually miss the event!
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Old 09-25-2012, 09:01 AM   #7
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After many no-show events (volunteers) and the same 5-6 people doing everything, we sent out the "NOTE".

Due to lack of volunteers the Children's reading event has been cancelled. The teacher's luncheon is being held as planned.

I am dead serious about this. We had more teachers who volunteered than parents. I would have done the luncheon myself. And YES we really cancelled many "student" events if no one volunteered.

By the time I left there was a core group of volunteers. Yes mostly the same people but enough that it could be divided and not burn them out.

Good Luck OP you really are going to need it!
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Old 09-25-2012, 09:08 AM   #8
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Contact each nonattendee personally and discuss work to be done and what that person can reasonably do. At the beginning of the school year, many families struggle to accomplish everything. Children, of course, are the priority. Getting mad and cutting people from your list gives you less potential workers. That's not your objective. Your objective is to get help from as many of your volunteers as possible. That doesn't mean that everyone has to show up at every meeting. Maybe some people only want to help with something that is later in the year. Schedule them for that. No one approach is right for every family.
That is nice in theory but just not realistic. Have you ever tried to contact people "on the list"? Let me tell you I had some interesting calls & emails.

And no one is "getting mad". You have to be able to assign the volunteers for the event so THEY can begin planning. Sometimes events are easy planning and sometmes they are not. Bottom line you have to allow time for planning.

It is not fair to make things last minute to the people that want to show up and help.
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Old 09-25-2012, 09:13 AM   #9
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Do they have to be responsible for all events? Why don't you break them into groups, based on interest, in terms of each event. It would be a lot easier to volunteer if they knew they only had to do Ring Breakfast or 100 days or whatever not the whole slate of activities.

If that does not work, then a bluntly worded emails that simply explains that the following events will be cancelled due to lack of interest in arranging them. Put it back on the community. If these are much loved and anticipated events, then the community needs to step up and make sure they happen.

Good luck.
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Old 09-25-2012, 07:12 PM   #10
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First, if you don't use www.signupgenius.com or www.volunteerspot.com, I highly recommend these websites for signing up volunteers for their commitments.

Lastly, and most importantly, put everyone in charge! Seriously. Figure out a way to ask each person to be in charge of some aspect of the event. If someone is in charge of the lemonade stand, or the clean-up of XYZ event, or whatever, they will be less likely to wimp out.

Having meetings at night and serving wine/beer doesn't hurt either!

Good luck!
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Old 09-25-2012, 09:47 PM   #11
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Could it be possible that some dont want to plan, they just want to help that day? I hate planning, I hate meetings, I just want to show up and be a worker bee. I have no desire to be in charge.

Our school has had to cancel or threaten to cancel to get volunteers though.
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Old 09-25-2012, 09:56 PM   #12
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The PP has a good point.

Some people are not leaders. They're willing to help - they just have to be told what to do.

To the few people who attend the meetings, plan everything out with them. Then use the people who don't attend meetings to contact for a specific task.

"Mrs ---, we'd really appreciate your help for XXX! Would you be willing to do XXX on this day, at this time?"

Really... that's probably what you'll have to do with these people if you're going to get any work out of them.
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