Build an annual calendar of all events and volunteer needs
Publish it on multiple channels so all parents see it (the class website, a paper handout, via email, on online volunteer calendars). Tip: Online signup sheets from VolunteerSpot.com make it easy for parents to choose when and how to help–with a click from their smartphones or computer. Automated reminders keep parents on track and personal assignments can be downloaded to a parent's Cozi calendar.
Reach out and start organizing
- Welcome Letter: Send parents a welcome letter including your contact information, important dates, and instructions about how to sign up to help. (Here is a sample letter to help you get started.) This is also a great opportunity to ask parents if they have special interests or talents they would like to share with the class (e.g. gardening, music, photography, cultural experiences).
- Get Support Early: Ask parents to sign up to help at the beginning of the school year for activities throughout the year. Offer options so working parents or those with young children can pitch in from home (e.g. sending snacks or treats, preparing and purchasing supplies).
- Budget: If there is a teacher holiday gift, birthday gift, or party funds needed, create a budget and alert parents at the beginning of the year. Be clear what is optional (teacher gift money) and what is mandatory (party supply and field trip fees).
- Delegate: Don't fall into the trap of trying to do it all yourself. Be specific about what jobs need doing and when, and invite other parents to participate in organizing parties and activities. Do identify your most active volunteers and call on them when you are short – and show your appreciation! They'll keep coming!
- Be professional and cautious to NEVER release contact information without permission or share sensitive information you may be privy to as a room parent.
- Be Proud. You're a great role model for all the children!
For more helpful tips on being a room mom, please see VolunteerSpot's Room Mom Survival Guide and Class Party Planner.
Room Parent Checklist - Condensed for Download
- CAPTURE DETAILS WITH THE TEACHER
- Define ongoing volunteer needs
- Record classroom activity dates and support needs
- Discuss contact preferences for teacher and parents
- Find out teacher favorites
- Decide on classroom party dates and plans
- BUILD A CALENDAR OF EVENTS AND VOLUNTEER NEEDS
- Publish on multiple channels
- START ORGANIZING
- Send parents a welcome letter
- Ask parents to sign up early in the school year
- Create and communicate the budget, if applicable
- Invite parents to participate throughout the year
- Be professional and cautious with sensitive information
- Be PROUD!
Karen Bantuveris is the founder & CEO of VolunteerSpot, a time and sanity-saving online coordination tool that empowers busy parents, teachers and grassroots community leaders by making it easier get involved. Karen lives in Austin, Texas with her daughter and husband. @VolunteerSpot @VSpotMom