As a sorority or fraternity member, you know your organization needs support in many areas. That’s where one of your most important stakeholder groups comes in: parents.
Besides members themselves, there are few people who are more invested in your sorority or fraternity’s success than your parent community. Along with significantly contributing via dues, they can invest in your success in non-financial ways, such as running philanthropy events and mentoring members of your chapter. Let’s dive into some additional engagement opportunities to leverage parents’ passion for your chapter.
3 Ways to Engage Parents as Volunteers
Offering numerous ways to help out allows more parents to make their mark on your fraternity or sorority. You can boost your parent engagement approach by allowing parents to:
1. Gift pro-bono services.
Your chapter needs professional-level expertise to tackle certain challenges. Fortunately, every parent has unique skills and experiences that can be assets for your chapter. Ask parents to volunteer their professional expertise to achieve tasks like:
- Budget analysis and management
- Web design and management of your chapter’s online presence
- Philanthropy campaign management
- Event coordination
- Executive board training
- Chapter house maintenance
- Recruitment management
To determine who would be a good fit to provide pro-bono services, send a survey out to your parents asking about their interest in volunteering, skills, and availability. Then, review the responses and pinpoint where help from parents would be the most impactful. Once you’ve reached back out to parents and confirmed their support, debrief them about your chapter’s goals and other details pertinent to their role.
2. Act as mentors.
One of the biggest reasons that students join your chapter is to access the personal development opportunities offered. Recruiting parents as volunteer mentors for members is a great way to provide those opportunities while saving time and money spent on sourcing. Follow these steps to launch your parent mentorship program:
- Determine which members would be interested in having a mentor and what they’d like to learn about
- Ask each student to poll their parents about their skills, experiences, and interest in being a volunteer mentor
Once members have asked their parents if they’re interested in volunteering, leadership should facilitate mentorship meeting scheduling with your chapter’s volunteer management software.
3. Sit on an advisory committee.
Consider asking your parents to sit on a volunteer advisory committee to provide feedback on how the chapter can improve. Keep these important aspects in mind while crafting your asks for parents:
- Diversity and inclusion. Your chapter members come from a variety of backgrounds, so you should allow a diverse array of parents to join the advisory committee.
- Meeting schedule. Ensure that if your parents have to miss a meeting, you record it or at least provide notes for them to review afterward. Also, confirm that parents are able to provide feedback and vote on measures even if they can’t attend a meeting by providing virtual surveys for them to fill out.
- Unique experiences. Understanding each parent’s unique interests and skills and tailoring the ask to them is crucial for getting the best fit for the position.
Once you ask your parents for help and form the committee, ensure your parent community clearly understands the powers of the advisory committee so that the committee is productive instead of being a distraction for your leadership team.
How to Incentivize Participation
Remember that your parents are likely busy juggling work, hobbies, and family. You can secure their involvement in your chapter’s activities despite their busy schedules by:
- Making participation convenient. Your parents are donating their time to your chapter, so the least you can do is make it easy to do so. Help your parents make room in their schedule for your chapter by offering multiple time slots for activities, adding a virtual component, and providing instructions and expectations for them in advance.
- Leveraging management software. Completing all of the aforementioned steps is simple with the right volunteer management software solutions in your tech stack. OmegaFi recommends looking for management solutions that are tailored to sororities and fraternities so you can leverage the most relevant features.
- Sending personalized thank-you letters. Expressing your heartfelt gratitude to parents can turn one-time volunteers into regular supporters. Fundraising Letters suggests sending parents handwritten thank-you letters with messages from their child to make the message even more genuine.
- Publicly recognizing standout parents. While personalized letters are a great way to engage all of your parent community, you can inspire them to level up their support by recognizing the biggest parent contributors publicly. For instance, you can shout out a “Parent of the Month” on social media. Also, you can immortalize your most influential contributors by adding a Parent Wall of Fame to your chapter house and inducting one parent each year.
Remember why your parents care about your cause: their child. Make sure that each parent’s cold is the one touching base with them in any parent promotion and appreciation initiatives so they feel a deeper connection to your chapter.
Now that you know how you can recruit parent volunteers for your chapter, it’s time to secure their support! As long as you make it simple for them to lend a hand, they can help you shape your chapter’s legacy.