21st century parents are typically dual income and are busy. Their primary asset, time, is at a premium. Many of the schools say the same thing, “80 percent of the volunteering is performed by 20 percent of the people.” Well, that’s probably going to be true in most organizations. The primary reason is that ~99 percent of your volunteering needs requires time; therefore, there is a smaller subset of your community that can provide such time.
Also, people choose where to spend their time based on interest and value they can add. Why are we asking a computer science parent to come in to sell raffle tickets, or a marketing expert to clean-up after an event? It's not that those things don’t need to be accomplished, but there could be other ways to engage those individuals who have not normally participated.
Volunteerism doesn’t just have to equate to time. It can equate to intellectual capital, advice, equipment, information, a well-timed social media post, data, and much, much more.
Schools need more of our help than just the traditional time spent on events. Private schooling is a competitive business. Catholic schools cannot just rely on the church patronage as their sole source of enrollment. Schools need a plan, a message, marketing channels, social media strategies, technology integration, capital plans, and more.
Do schools really know the backgrounds, skills, and talents of their parent community? If you did, there may be opportunities to tap into the intellectual capital of your community to accomplish many of these important items. And, YES, this is parental engagement.
As a school and Parent Group, think beyond just service hours, event helpers, raffle ticket sellers and such. Add other “strategic tasks” such as marketing reviews, social media posts, technology support, connections to local business sponsors, and advice on capital plans. Match your needs with the skill sets and interests of your parent community. This will create a synergistic relationship that benefits both parties, and more importantly, the success of the children.
Updated on: 03/03/2023