School Volunteers, 4 Easy Tips
School volunteers are a valuable asset to our schools and very often they are under used or not utilized to their greatest potential. I always like to encourage school administration to think about volunteers like the beer loving character, NORM from the award-winning television show “Cheers” that ran from 1982 through 1993.
NO…. I am not encouraging you to serve beer to your volunteers. But I am encouraging you to look at the following four tips that Norm and the crowd at Cheers had to teach us.
Lessons about School Volunteers from watching…NORM:
When Norm walked in the door at the bar everyone in the bar would yell…. NORM!
It is so critical that when volunteers come to your school, everybody knows their name and they are always glad the volunteer came. This starts with the receptionist, a big smile and a greeting followed by the volunteer’s name gives that person a sense of belonging. This feeling of being part of something big is one thing that keeps people involved and continually returning.
Norm had a seat to go to and he always went straight to that exact seat.
Routine is a great way to assist volunteers with feeling comfortable at your site. They should know right where to go and that is their space every time that they are volunteering. Maybe it’s a certain desk in the front office, or the same teacher every time, but this needs to be their spot and they need to feel comfortable to go there and get started. Again, building the feeling of belonging and being part of the system that is at work.
Once Norm got to his seat a beer was always waiting for him.
Sam and his team of bartenders always made sure that Norm did not have to wait for the object of his reason for being there. We should do the same with our volunteers (again… I’m not advocating handing out a beer) but I am advocating to have their work there and at the ready. Volunteer’s time is precious. They want their time to be well spent and beneficial to the organization/school. If you create an environment where that volunteer can come in and get to work, you build that esprit de corps. Volunteers who have that feeling of pride and loyalty are priceless.
Every night when the bar was closing, I’m guessing Sam would tell Norm that he would see him tomorrow.
Volunteers need to know that you want them to come back and the only way for them to know that is for you to ask them back. Make a date… if you will…. See you next Wednesday? Thanks for today, we’ll see you tomorrow? Many potential volunteers claim they never volunteered because no one ever asked. Don’t let that be an issue in your school or organization. Know what you need done and then ASK!!
“Be glad, there’s one place in the world
Where everybody knows your name
and they’re always glad you came
You want to go where people know,
people are all the same
You want to go where everybody knows your name”
Volunteers do just that, especially if you can create an environment where:
- people know them and appreciate them
- they know right where to go and feel comfortable there
- the work that they need to accomplish is waiting on them and they know what to do
- they are always asked back and made to feel of value