Boosting support: Volunteers

It takes a lot of manpower to run a fair, so every volunteer counts - read our top tips on how to encourage people to sign up

A fair requires a lot of manpower, and every pair of hands counts – from the person seeking out raffle donations, to the people manning the BBQ, or those tidying up at the end! Encouraging volunteers is something PTAs often struggle with, so how can you increase your team?

Make it easy

Volunteering should be as easy as possible. Ensure all of your promotional material offers a clear, consistent way for people to offer their help, making contact details explicit.

Break it down

Don’t put potential volunteers off by letting them think they’ll be organising the whole event! Break jobs down so that people know exactly what they’re signing up for. If childcare is an issue, can one parent come along before the fair to help set up?

Seek out skills

If you need specific skills to help with the event – face painters for example – advertise this. Let potential volunteers know how important each role is.

Advertise your cause

If you have a specific project that the money raised will go towards, let people know. Otherwise, advertise what the PTA has funded in the past. If parents can see how the PTA has benefitted their children so far, or how it will in the future, it might encourage them to volunteer.

Embrace a captive audience

Does the PTA or school have any events scheduled in the run up the fair? If so, take advantage of the captive audience to give a speech. This is hard to ignore – especially if the request comes from the headteacher.

Pre-fair prep

Not all parents will be able to help on the day, but that doesn’t mean they can’t still do their bit. Provide a list of things that can be done in advance, whether it’s wrapping lucky dip presents or making a prop for a stall.

Add an incentive

How about running a volunteer raffle as an incentive, where all volunteers’ names are entered into a prize draw.

The final push

Create a rota of stalls and time slots and identify gaps to advertise in your final recruitment drive. Print this off and fix it to a board that can be placed on the playground, at assemblies, sports day, etc, and encourage friends to add their names – ideally in pairs!

Get organised

Before volunteers arrive on the day, have your core organising team get the bulk of stall stock out and ready to go – with a sign indicating which stock is for which stall. Draw up a map of where each stall is to be set up.

Utilise everyone

On the day, appoint someone whose sole purpose is to coordinate your volunteers as they arrive to help and have a list of jobs ready to be done.

Value your volunteers

Show that you appreciate everyone’s efforts by offering some ‘perks’, ie could their children have exclusive access to the bouncy castle before or after the fair?


More information on volunteers