Three Tips for your School Parent Volunteer

Schools rely heavily on parents to fill critical tasks during the calendar year.  By now the calendar is filled with the jobs from room parent, to book fair, carnival and fundraising activities to name just a few.    Some helpful best practices tips for volunteer management are discussed below.

Lay some groundwork.  Brainstorm a vision for volunteer involvement at your school. What can be accomplished with a full force of volunteers working together? How can more parents become involved? What are some of the key jobs you would like to see parents doing? What is the atmosphere when they walk in the door? What new programs could you offer if you had more volunteers?  Reach out to other organizations and schools for ideas.  Developing this vision will help provide direction to your mission.

Develop a program binder.  A binder will help ensure that key information is located in one place and can be easily followed by new people who become involved in your group.  It is not necessary to reinvent the wheel if the key person leaves the school.  Maintaining a binder is a simple tool that can stay in place as a long-lasting volunteer program is developed.  Many online tools are available for easy access to documents and to insure nothing is lost.

Provide job descriptions for your volunteers.  What skills are needed?  It is important to match the right person to the job.  Should two people co-chair the task, with the one chairing and the co-chair in the queue learning?   What is the time commitment?  What resources or guidelines can be provided?  Is the task longer in scope?  Develop a steering committee.    List specific details in the binder and notes on what should be repeated and items that didn’t work.

Create a positive environment.  Communicate with your volunteers on orientation and training sessions.  Provide supervision or mentoring for committee chair persons.  Provide the resources to volunteers so that they can be successful.  Make volunteers feel that they belong.  Always recognize volunteer contributions and show appreciation.


Valarie Minetos, Business Development Manager of CrestWare, Inc. (providers of AuctionStar® software and services) has chaired and consulted on silent auction fundraising events. Valarie was drafted into fundraising by her children’s soccer teams, where she became enamored with helping non-profit organizations through the application of technology and volunteer management. She has published several articles in Ronald McDonald House Charities Headquarters “Flash Facts”, Ronald McDonald House Charities “Hearts and Hands” and Advancing Philanthropy magazines.  She leverages extensive commercial experience including small business management, sales and marketing management and accounting in various positions with Prudential Insurance Company, Prudential Health Maintenance Organization and Chevron Corporation, as well as international business experience with the National Bank of Greece.


Valarie holds a Bachelor of Science and MBA degrees in Marketing and International Business from the Ohio State University and an MBA from the Ohio State University.


You may reach Valarie at 713.665.1231 or

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