Great Websites for Parent Volunteers

I believe the biggest pitfall of parent volunteering for schools or clubs is the reading of lengthy reply-all e-mails. I have lost days off my life slogging through those massive missives and the replies from fellow parents. And even after reading through, signing up for duties and saving them to a personal calendar, those beasts rear their ugly heads when a child gets sick and a parent needs to swap or change.

Once in a while an industrious parent will recommend an online organizational website to keep track of who is bringing the snack/paper plates/manning the playground for lunch duty/etc. But often those sites require a long signup registration process, they send oddles of spam to your in box and some require payment from your group or by individuals. Who needs that? Even a group’s use of a Google calendar requires all members of the group to acquire a Gmail account, and many people are very happy with their Verizon/Cox/Yahoo! addies and do not want another one thankyouverymuch.

But I have found some exceptional websites that I am loving in my “real life” as a mom involved in volunteering in my children’s school and activities. All four sites are free, do not require registration and offer helpful tools that I believe increase volunteer participation and decrease time spent reading reply-alls!

Take Them a Meal – This online sign up sheet does not require registration and allows a group of people to easily choose days to bring a meal to a family with a new baby, illness or in need of assistance. The program will remind you of your assigned day and makes it easy to include directions, food allergy info, meal choices and more. They also have a sister site, Perfect Potluck, which does exactly what you would think.

SignUpGenius – Another great group sign up site. I was introduced to this by our church’s Children’s Liturgy/Sunday school co-op coordinator (Hi Shannon!). It makes group coordination very easy, and again, the registration process is simple and they do not spam. I am now using this for lots of group volunteer efforts and most participants are loving it.

PTO Today – This site is full of free tools and templates to assist parent-teach associations and parent volunteer groups. I am a fan of the Parent Express E-mail tool, and I believe that the Auction Procedures and Forms share site will be very helpful to our school’s auction gala committee.

Volunteer Spot’s Room Mom Spot – I love the letter templates available here for everything from encouraging fellow parents to chip in for a teacher gift to end of year thank you letters. (Because when you have over-extended yourself and signed up to be a room parent or parent volunteer, every single minute saved is worth every bit of lack of personalization, in my humble opinion.)  Volunteer Spot’s main site also has great ideas, such as games for Field Day and you can use Volunteer Spot as your hub for all online organizing for your school or org (that however requires all participants to register online.)

Do you have a favorite website that has helped you in your organizational endeavors? Please share it with us in the comments!


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