Many people first offer to assist the PTA by volunteering on a stall. A positive experience is likely to encourage closer involvement, but tales of bad experiences can spread fast among the community, making the job of recruitment even harder. The easiest people to recruit should be those who’ve volunteered before, and building a reputation for taking care of PTA helpers will improve the chances of people saying yes next time you ask.
It’s a family event
Reassure helpers that their PTA commitments won’t take over by making sure they can enjoy the event with their children. Parents of older children might be happy to man a stall all afternoon, but those with younger ones will most likely need some family time. Offer short slots of half an hour for first-time helpers.
Stick to the rota
Don’t leave volunteers stranded on a stall beyond their agreed slot. Make sure everyone has a copy of the rota with their shift time and the name of the person due to replace them. Give them a number to call if the next shift doesn’t turn up or in case of queries or emergencies. If someone lets you down, ask your helper if they can wait while you find a replacement and accept their answer.
Check on stallholders at regular intervals so they can nip to the toilet or grab a drink when needed. Small gestures such as free cups of tea will make a world of difference.
Provide a space for volunteers’ children to play while you set up and clear away. Or let them have extra free turns on the bouncy castle. Provide discounted tickets for helpers – try rewarding an hour of volunteering with a half-price ticket and offer free entry to those who help out for two hours or more. Give volunteers who are manning a stall a free slice of cake and a drink at the end of their shift to help boost morale!
Always ask your volunteers for feedback. Use Google Forms or arrange an online or in-person meeting. Seeking feedback will help volunteers feel listened to and included.