Schools, groups, and clubs understand the importance of parental participation in their efforts, but they are also aware that parents have a lot of demands on their time. Often, even though the best intentions are there for over-worked and tired parents to show up, giving of their time can become another “to do.”
However, there are ways that you can get parents involved in helping you raise awareness about your cause, and even to raise money. What follows are some ideas and strategies to help you engage parents.
- You have to maintain awareness of the fact that parents have a lot of demands on their time. They would likely love to get involved in something that would benefit their children, but they have to conserve energy. So, always remember the importance of thinking creatively.
- Make things easy for parents and when you want them to become involved in something or help you support your efforts, be specific and clear about what you need them to do. By providing them with clear directives they can do, it’ll help them be there for you.
- Don’t assume that parents who can’t attend your meetings are not interested in being involved in the work you do. Parents who have lots of demands on their time and have insufficient time should be spoken to directly. Explore opportunities that they may be able to do virtually or other ways that they can help your organization.
- Be welcoming of all parents. Sometimes parents feel that they don’t belong to the community. Perhaps you live in an area where many parents speak another language other than English, or there’s some experience in their own lives that becomes an obstacle for involvement. Look at the totality of your parental “universe” message parents in different ways. Often parents who feel disconnected simply don’t know how to become involved.
- If you need parents to be involved in your group events, invite them to participate for only a couple of hours during the entire school year. If they provide you even a few hours and feel that they’ve helped, it’s an excellent way to have parents become more connected to your school or group.
- When you’re looking to communicate with parents, get the message across in different ways. Some parents will read the flyer, but others might miss it, so an email gets their attention.
- Acknowledge the effort of parents. Thank them for what they do, even if it’s a little bit. Give them praise and let them know that you appreciate every bit of effort that they can provide you.
- Parents want to spend as much time as they can with their children, so creating opportunities for families to enjoy their time together (and with you). If you can create events and even fundraisers where families can spend it having fun, it’ll go a long way toward getting parents involved with you.
- Develop ways to integrate learning into your marketing and fundraising. One of the ways we’ve discovered that schools have significantly appreciated is with our Micro-Enterprise Curriculums, which are aligned to Common Core, and integrate learning with fantastic school fundraisers.
Learn More About Parent Engagement
To find out more about getting parents involved in your school or group efforts, watch Joe’s video and hear what he has to say about getting parents involved by clicking here.
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