It is an exciting time for volunteer-based organizations. Recent research from the Corporation for National & Community Service indicates that volunteering remains active in the United States. Last year, 62.8 million people volunteered over 7.9 billion hours.
The news is even better for schools and parent-teacher organizations that rely heavily on parent volunteers thanks to the rise of the millennial parent.
Today, 48% of Kindergarten-12th-grade parents are Millennials (Born 1980-1998). About one in four Millennials is a parent already, and every day, 9,000 millennials become new moms. So why is this important to schools?
Maria Bailey, author of “Millennial Moms, 202 Facts Marketers Need to Know to Build Brands and Dive Sales” spoke with me recently and told me that there are three big reasons why Millennial moms are going to be increasing their volunteer activities at their child’s school.
- Millennial Moms LOVE Education: Thanks to their baby boomer parents, millennial moms developed a value for education and it is one that they want to replicate and share with their Gen Z children.
- Millennial Moms LOVE Volunteering: Almost 90% of all Millennials had to graduate from high school doing volunteer hours, so they have a real respect for giving back. Schools give them an opportunity and an outlet to volunteer.
- Millennial Moms LOVE Brands and Organizations with Heritage:Local school districts have a rich history in the community. Many Millennial parents remember going to school functions with their parents and will want to experience that with their children.
YouGov in partnership with Scholastic, which is in 100% of schools and relies heavily on parent volunteers, conducted a survey of more than 2,000 K-5 moms that had volunteered in their child’s school over the past two years. Here are a few nuggets from their study.
- Time to Focus on Age Diversity: 9 out of 10 of the parents are either Millennials or Gen Xers. As a matter of fact, its about half and half. This presents a new complexity on the way schools communicate with these two uniquely different parent types. Schools must now focus on “age diversity” as one-size fits all parent engagement plans are no longer useful.
- More Volunteers = More Funding Support: School volunteers have a strong, giving spirit. They not only give their time and talent, but they are also more likely to purchase fundraising products and donate funds to the school and their children’s classrooms.
- Ask For Volunteers: Nearly 6 out of 10 moms that did not volunteer at school said they were never asked to volunteer.
- Show them How Their Kids Benefit: When asked how school volunteers like to be recognized for their efforts, they only wanted to know how their time served directly helped their child, their child’s classroom, and the school.
- Involve the Kids: Millennial parents want to share volunteer experiences with their children. Create volunteer opportunities that make it easy for parents to bring their children along.
- Create Sharable Experiences: Millennial moms take lots of photos and share their experiences on social media. They are also highly influenced by their peers. Make sure your volunteer experience includes opportunities for volunteers to share what they are doing on Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat, etc. as it will help promote school programs while recruiting additional volunteers from the school community.
Parent volunteers are critical to school and student success. Millennial moms and ever increasing dads are looking for ways to give back with their children. Now is the time to take another look at your parent engagement plan and throw out everything you thought you knew and start over with these new giving and involved parents in mind.