Avoiding School Volunteer Nightmares

adult surprise happyThis is a sponsored post by VolunteerSpot.

Most moms of school-aged kids can tell at least one nightmare story, but wise moms know how to avoid the drama and volunteer for the right things. Are you Room Mom material or more of a book fair coordinator? Maybe you just want to show up for an hour once in a while. Volunteering at your child’s school can be overwhelming and inconvenient if you’re not in the right spot. When you find the right role and follow a few simple guidelines, volunteering can be painless and dare we say fun?


Volunteer right for your type

Understanding broad personality types (especially your own!) can help you decide where and how to plug in. Outgoing extroverts get bored easily when not working toward a goal. As a result they tend to take on too many projects. Born leaders live for systems and processes, sometimes to the alienation of the people helping carry out their plans. They thrive with an online organizer like VolunteerSpot.com for coordinating armies of parents. All without engaging in an endless, mind-numbing chain of Reply-All emails. Perfectionists like leadership roles but need to remember to delegate. Whatever your personality type, the better it aligns with your volunteer role, the fewer nightmares you’ll have.

Use your nice words

When you volunteer or ask for volunteers, be sure to use the manners you teach the kids. Even with the best of intentions, it’s easy to get caught up in PTA politics and petty differences if you’re not careful. Remember, we all have different talents and time available. Not everyone can whip up Pinterest-worthy cupcakes and crafts; some parents just want to send napkins and paper plates. Pitch in where you can and gratefully accept any help others offer. Generally speaking, school volunteers want to do their best to not only look good for you, but to also look good for their child and their child’s teacher.

Think long-term

Look around at the parents of your child’s friends and classmates. You’re going to spend a significant amount of time with these people over the years. At one point or another, you’ll need their help. Kindness goes a long way in securing a future and frequent volunteer, and it’s a much better strategy than freaking out. Tracy M. thought she was being pro-active when, as the first parent volunteer to arrive at a crowded book fair, she started ringing up sales. “The woman in charge came in raving that ‘I ALWAYS work the register’ and then proceeded to physically push me out of the chair. I was ON THE FLOOR!” Needless to say, Tracy has not signed a clipboard since.

Although volunteering may prompt nightmarish visions, it’s really not that scary. Don’t be crazy cash register lady and you’ll do just fine.

Do you have a school volunteering nightmare to share?



VolunteerSpot is proud to save teachers, school leaders, and parents hundreds of hours by simplifying the task of signing up, scheduling, and reminding parents -- reducing your busy work and leaving you more time to focus on what’s important. Room Moms use VolunteerSpot to coordinate weekly readers, recess and classroom helpers, holiday parties, field trips, potlucks, and more!

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