No-nonsense Guide to planning your event or school activity.

The upcoming series of blog posts will provide a comprehensive guide to help school volunteer leaders learn how to build and execute highly organized school events and activities that provide significant impact.

We’ve organized the blog posts into “actionable” stages, containing information that you will be able to use immediately in your school volunteer program. The goal of the upcoming blog posts is to provide a framework for you to be able to use with every school event and activity in which you need volunteers.

We’ve organized the upcoming blog posts into 8 stages:

Stage 1 – Focus On Your School Community

Stage 2 – Define the Scope of Your School Event or Activity

Stage 3 – Outline Key Needs of Your Event or Activity

Stage 4 – Map Out Your Event or Activity

Stage 5 – Recruiting Your People, Securing Resources

Stage 6 – Finalize Your Plan

Stage 7 – Executing Your Plan

Stage 8 – Close Out Your Plan

The first stage focuses on working with your school staff and parent association to define their specific needs for the event or activity you are working on. The second stage will be on defining the key pieces of your event or activity. The third stage is on identifying the key needs to make your event or activity a success. The fourth stage is about building out a plan. The fifth stage is on securing the people and resources you need. The sixth stage is focused on getting your plan ready. The seventh stage is about making it all happen and staying on top of things. The last stage is about wrapping things up. So, let’s get started with Stage 1…

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Stage 1 – Focus On Your School Community

Depending on whether your event or activity is school-wide or perhaps involves only a segment of the school, one of, if not the most important thing to do is to engage the leaders of the intended group. If your event or activity is school-wide, then you should consider engaging the Principal or Parent Association president or vice presidents. Find out what they perceive as as the key needs and goals. If your event or activity involves a small segment of the school, perhaps a class or grade, then perhaps engage the teachers.

By engaging the key stakeholders early, you will help build awareness for your event or activity and help to make sure you get the buy-in and support of your efforts.

There are a number of ways to gather the views of stakeholders, it’s best to select a method that’s based on whether your event or activity is school-wide or for a small segment of the school. For the latter, you may want to consider something that’s not going to take a lot of time, for example, pin-pointing who you need to talk to and then having a short 10-minute conversation with them. For a school-wide event or activity, you want to consider a feedback mechanism such as creating a short 5-8-question online survey with a tool like SurveyMonkey. This takes less an hour to put together, it’s a very time-efficient way to gather feedback from a bigger group of people. Here are some questions to consider:

  • What problems have you seen in past events and activities (such as the one you’re leading)?
  • What are the most important needs for the school of this event or activity?
  • What would you view as elements that would make you think the event or activity is a success?
  • What would suggest would be the one thing we change from last year’s event or activity?

After you’ve gathered your initial feedback from stakeholders, gather the group of people that’s going to help you execute your event or activity; share your findings and get consensus on your goals for your event or activity.

After you’ve gathered the feedback from stakeholders and have shared with your team, you’re now ready for the next stage.

Come back in the next few days for Stage 2…

Happy Volunteering!

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