You can never have enough booster club members and willing helpers, right? Yet, booster club membership recruiting and retention is a problem for many groups. You may be frustrated at why this is. Are people too busy these days? Is there something your group can do, new strategies to remedy your parent volunteer difficulties?
There are two main viewpoints when it comes to booster club memberships. One is from the club’s perspective, and the other is potential volunteers. Members make organizations stronger, but clubs are not the only beneficiary. Booster club membership recruiting efforts must also attract volunteers by ensuring there’s something in it for them.
This booster club article focuses on the start of the new school year. It explores practical ways to attract, engage, manage, and retain your club’s membership. Let’s start by reviewing why parents don’t volunteer.
8 Reasons Parents Don’t Join Boosters
Before addressing new booster club membership ideas, you must recognize what doesn’t work. Try to be transparent in your critique as you do this. You may think your recruitment drive is great. But if the results don’t line up and you struggle to attract volunteers, something needs to change.
Also, acknowledge there are often multiple reasons parents don’t join.
Typical Reasons for Not Volunteering
Quite often, the primary reason is current members simply don’t ask parents to volunteer. Or, members ask potential volunteers in a way that’s unappealing.
Other reasons that prevent parents include some of the following:
- Lack of free time; other commitments
- Parents feel underqualified
- The club comes across as insular and unwelcoming
- Poor communication and access to club information
- Mixed messages around volunteer roles, skills, and commitments
- Volunteer roles lack clear definition
- Intimidation or pressure by board members
- Students don’t want their parents to get involved
|It’s much easier to address the problem once you know what deters your booster club volunteers. If you’re unsure, consider sending out a questionnaire to gather feedback. Use the list above to form some of your questions to parents and other potential members.|
It is the job of your current board of directors and club officers to revitalize booster club membership through attraction. We cover more on that in How Best to Pitch Parents later in the piece.
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A lawsuit can happen at any time and result from an honest mistake or misinterpretation. Ease your board of directors minds with protection against legal action due to discrimination, mismanagement, and other alleged wrongful acts. AIM’s Directors & Officers(D&O) Liability Coverage protects against claims made by a claimant to your club’s serving officers. Our D&O coverage gives your officers the confidence to successfully lead your group.
6 Ways to Reach Out to Potential Booster Club Members
Word of mouth is an excellent way for current and past booster club members to invite new potential volunteers. But on its own, word of mouth is unlikely to attract enough people. So instead, be bold and widen your net when campaigning for helpers. Craft a positive, consistent recruitment message that inspires parents and other community members to take action and get involved.
Here are six effective ways to reach out to potential booster club members:
- Network; attending parent-teacher nights and other school events
- The hard ask. It may surprise you how many will jump at the chance
- Hold an open meeting for curious parents to attend
- Phone parents directly
- Reach out online via social media and locally-focused websites, webapps, and forums
- Ask newsletter subscribers to ask people they know to volunteer
Who to Target With Your Booster Club Membership Recruiting
Booster club membership typically consists of people from within the community, especially those with students at the school. Your primary target group is parents, family members, and guardians with registered students to participate in programs.
But don’t forget grandparents.
More grandparents than ever get involved with their grandchildren. Also, senior supporters tend to have more time to contribute and a lifetime of experience to share. Your secondary target group can include people who don’t have participating children but are keen to volunteer. Consider additional family like cousins, uncles, and aunts, even close family friends.
|Track down high school alums and their parents. This demographic has strong ties to the school and is often keen to give back by getting involved. Alumni volunteers can make a tremendous physical contribution and are also the most loyal benefactors to have in booster club donor pools.|
How Best to Pitch Parents?
Your elevator pitch should be short, easy to digest, and appealing. It covers the most significant points but without diving deep into specifics. A compelling pitch typically includes your club’s mission and purpose. It also highlights the importance of involvement and how parents can help. But most importantly, it answers the question, what’s in it for me?
What’s in It for Me? The Surprising Benefits of Volunteering
You already know the value of volunteers for your organization, but what’s in it for them? Why should anyone give up their precious free time as your unpaid helper? This is your chance to highlight the full benefits and encourage parents to participate.
Six significant benefits of booster club membership for volunteers:
- Gain more self-confidence
- Learn new skills
- Meet new people, make new friends, improve social skills
- Become part of the community
- Have lots of great fun
- Volunteering is satisfying
Once a volunteer gets actively involved, great things start to happen. Studies show that giving oneself for the good of others and the community has wide-ranging benefits. Volunteering makes us happier, boosts self-confidence, advances careers, and improves our health .
|Fact! Volunteering Benefits Physical & Mental Health|
According to a 2020 study, a few hours of volunteer work each week reduces mortality risk. Researchers also found that older volunteers enjoyed better physical functioning, higher levels of physical activity, and an improved sense of wellbeing ..
Volunteering’s Real Impact on Schools
It’s not only volunteers who receive gratification and other spin-offs for their generosity. Quality volunteer support raises your club’s profile, school pride, and improves the school experience for students.
Fundraising helps bridge budgetary gaps that occur when funding extracurricular activities. Your club’s funds help to buy new equipment, essential supplies, and the ability to travel and participate in area competitions. And, volunteers assist teachers, coaches, and school administrators through time and resources to make their job more manageable.
How Volunteering Impacts Students
The students your volunteering supports gain massive benefits, too, and that’s the point. A study by the US research group Brookings Institution found that children of parent volunteers are better behaved. They also have higher attendance records and achieve better grades. And the funds you raise enrich student experiences by supporting extracurricular programs   .
The Power of a Call to Action
Your pitch to potential helpers should always include a call to action or CTA. For example, you could invite prospective volunteers to register with your club. Or ask them to volunteer themselves for a specific role. On the other hand, your CTA might invite the reader or listener to attend your organization’s next event to learn more.
The key to a successful CTA is making it specific, direct, and actionable for the person. They should come away from the interaction with a precise idea of what to do next and how to do it.
So whether you pitch via email, newsletter, social media, or other mediums, always remember to add the CTA.
Ensure New Volunteers Feel Welcome
Personalize all new membership communication to make new members feel welcome in your club. That includes electronic contact as well as real-world interactions.
This personalization should be included on forms, email updates, invites, etc. Also, encourage new members to share any ideas and regularly praise and thank them for their efforts. A show of approval and appreciation goes a long way to keep volunteers motivated. Members who feel appreciated are more active and enthusiastic in helping out.
Lastly, a diverse membership appeals to more people. A diverse, equitable, and inclusive membership makes your booster club a welcome place for all parents.
|A diverse membership brings a broader range of opinions and experiences to the table in paid and voluntary organizations. As a result, diversity helps your club adapt faster and grow stronger.|
Managing Your New Booster Club Members
Recruiting new members is one thing; holding on to them is something else. High retention rates result in better success and reduce your reliance on constant recruiting efforts, so managing your valuable volunteers is critical. They not only need to feel welcomed but appreciated, too.
The first step is to have a straightforward mission statement. This way, everyone knows what the club stands for and the goal it is trying to achieve.
Assign Roles Based on Time, Skills, and Ability
Assign roles to your volunteers based on time commitment, interest, and skill. Giving someone a job they have no interest in or ability to successfully carry out is deflating and demotivating. The easiest way to avoid this crisis is to simply ask your members what they’re most interested in and suited to.
However, sometimes, there are tasks no one wants to handle that need to be done. Your best course then is to create a rotating schedule of volunteers so no one feels singled out for the worst tasks.
Go Easy on the Expectations
Never forget these are volunteers, not paid employees. Over time, you will learn what each person is willing and capable of. But never be overly demanding of your helpers, even if things get hectic. It’s better to scale back on commitments than to overstretch your teams.
Recognize and Appreciate
Showing appreciation for your volunteers through recognition and rewards is a great motivator. A pat on the back, a celebratory meal, or a gift box of your club’s merchandise are a few examples. Acts of appreciation instill a sense of achievement and help your people feel valued.
|Get on first-name terms with volunteers who don’t mind. It’s a sign of common courtesy and shows you have taken the time to get to know your helpers. Also, people tend to respond more positively when addressed on a first-name basis, and that’s great for motivation.|
Help New Members Become Initiative Drivers
There will be volunteers who want extra responsibility and desire a more formal role. When you spot leadership qualities in parents, consider helping them to become initiative drivers. These people have an air of professional maturity and accountability and can work with minimal supervision.
Every booster needs willing volunteers in its leadership pipeline ready to replace committee chairs, officers, and board of directors positions when their term is up.
Closing Comments on Booster Club Membership Recruiting
The start of your school’s new year should be an exciting time for booster clubs, not stressful. The tips and suggestions outlined here are proven strategies. They will help you drive interest and increase membership and member retention through positive actions.
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