Feedback and Feelings

April 2015. After the AGM. I felt blindsided by the work I needed to do, tracking everything down to get prepared for the meeting. I thought my volunteering job was supposed to be easy. Send out an agenda and take minutes at meetings. That’s what I was told. That was my handover. I can help out the school and be involved with staff and parents to improve the outcomes for our children. So why was I up at 11pm tracking down paperwork for the AGM.

I decided to reach out and find a better way to get this done. So I emailed other P&Cs to get their opinions. I have been overwhelmed with the feedback. The insights I have received in a month are much more than the previous year I was Secretary and year as member before that. Two years on a Kindergarten P&C also. The information you all have shared with me has helped me run things far more effectively. There is still much more work to do, but I see a path.

Below are the results I have tried to compile in a meaningful way. I’ve put them here so people have a place to continue the discussion that was started. If you have any questions please comment below or contact me on the About page.

(Click on the images to get a large version)

StateRespondantsLocations

Statistics

Subcommittees

Achievements

Challenges

75% indicated they want to discuss more. This is fantastic and understandable from a group of such community-minded, giving people. P&Cs Qld provides many resources to read on your own. Getting to networking events can be difficult when we have families and other priorities to balance. What I am providing here is a place to discuss with others, who are in the trenches, in a place that is hopefully convenient to many.

It goes without saying, but must be said. Any advice found here does not constitute proper legal advice. It is just a community discussion. Get ideas and hear others experiences, but before implementing anything in your P&C please ensure you solicit professional advice.

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20 thoughts on “Feedback and Feelings

  1. Here’s a few questions I have in regards to the feedback which may help start the discussion.

    Why are we asking for more volunteers if our fundraising is good?
    Is it just that all the work is done by a few, but successfully?
    If we can’t get volunteers by asking, what can we do to make the P&C appealing so people are asking how they can help out and be involved?

    Why is there an apparent threshold of committee meeting attendance size?
    Is that just optimal? If they were to get bigger do you need to run them like a shareholders meeting?
    Is more engagement before the meeting what is required, so the meeting is a quick formalization of those things?
    Should we encourage all of those not wanting to go to meetings to be members anyway?

    Happy to hear any views.

    Like

    • Hi, great job Matthew. This is the first time I have had time to browse through the survey.
      I would just like to ask the other committee members at Primary schools if they intend to continue being involved when your children go onto high school?
      I ask, as I am in my 10th year as President at our high school with my kids long gone and even with 2 year levels starting this year, we have no new members or interested parents. We are a very well run, profitable, easy going group with no issues. I am very active in the school and community on behalf of the school. We just want new parents at the meetings. New ideas, fresh faces. There are 2 of us who cover all the executive roles and neither of us have kids at school.
      Is there a reason you would not continue to volunteer in high school? Am I missing something??
      Thanks, Tracey.

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  2. Volunteerism says more about heart of the volunteer than there being a specific need to satisfy. That said, volunteering without purpose quickly loses energy, so P&Cs providing engaging and positive contribution opportunities is critical. Usually people have passion for things they create, so allowing volunteers to inform the sort of contribution they make is key.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. We provide all parents with an Active Parent Helper form that allows them to tick the area where they would prefer to help out within the school (tuckshop, event preparation, mothers / fathers day stalls, etc.). The form is included in the school enrolement pack at the start of the year. This seems to have helped a lot and we see quite a few new faces helping out which is great. However, in our major events we do find that it seems to generally be the same people volunteering over and over again.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Are you happy to share this form Janet ? We developed one last year, which we called our ‘family involvement’ form. It needs a bit of tweaking so that there is more focus on self-identified contributions. As Liam noted, when we ask “how do you want to be involved?” we’re more likely to have success. I really like the idea of having it as part of the enrolment package. How do you get it out to the existing families – hard copies in the kids’ school bags?

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Unfortunately there is too much legislation for most of us who are inexperienced. For example, the new executive body is voted in at the same time the audit documentation is required. Unless you have an executive that is willing to stay on in a consultant role, the new executive is left to struggle their way through this. It is also extremely difficult to alter contact and banking authorisation detail.

    My experience shows that the schools themselves do not openly and consistently support the P&C. They want us to exist, however, do not show publically that we are a cohesive body working together. Therefore, the staff of the school feel no need to be involved and the empathy grows from there. I have been in the position where the teaching staff have openly ‘blamed’ the P&C for the uniform restrictions, when in fact this is a joint decision between the school and P&C. Seems we are a scape goat for unpopular policy.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I hear your heart Leisa. Energy to volunteer in the P&C context can very quickly fizzle when road blocks are experienced. A bit like a balloon being filled with air of expectation and then the knot is untied, resulting in all the air escaping.

      I think understanding the P&C as an active participant and contributor to the school community is critical. Parents establishing healthy relationships with staff – teachers and administration – is something that’s not only reserved for active P&C participants.

      The principal / P&C Exec. relationship is also crucial, that it is seen as a real partnership – where there is transparency, mutuality and respect. If this exists, then the blame game doesn’t present as the alignment between the paid staff and volunteer staff is strong.

      It’s not easy, but it’s worth pursuing. The results are worth celebrating.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. WOW Matthew, that is a wonderfully comprehensive look across the P&C operations of our state. Very impressed and amazed at what you have collated. Well done! I am in awe of the feedback you have collated Matthew, and wonder as a collective where do we go to from here? Will you be attending the P&C event in September? Should we be asking to have a member run session, or meet before hand?

    Janet Nicholson, I too would love to see a copy of your form if you are happy to share. pandc@narangbavalleyss.eq.edu.au

    I strongly encourage all P&C’s to utilise SharePoint which is provided to us as a tool free of charge. This is where you can store all your documents, forms, feedback from events and fundraising activities, minutes, members registers etc etc and then there is transparency, insights and the old hit by the bus theory means that the next executive along will have a better chance of success than the last.

    Thanks, and remember, there are always others of us out there doing the same thing so lets work together more, reduce all of our workloads and provide better outcomes for everyone!

    Cheers again Matthew, suddenly feeling inspired to get ready for my meeting next week!
    Regards
    Allison Clark
    P&C President (3rd year)

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you for the kind words Allison! I do believe all boats rise on the tide and sharing with each other that will certainly happen. I am intending to attend the state conference in September. There should be plenty of time to mingle during it. I guess it is something we can look into closer to the date.

      I have a few things to share in blog posts from the Met East training day that was great for those who were able to be there. However, if you have anything you want me to talk to P&Cs about and write up the results, please let me know.

      Like

  6. Matthew, thanks for your efforts. Nice to know that my experiences are often similar to others. Janet – would you be happy to share a copy of your volunteer form or email it to me. I am new to the role of president since March this year and have been at times quite overwhelmed at what I have taken on. I believe that we could get more volunteers if people were asked in the right manner, and a form to be sent home with specific areas sounds like a great idea. I used to love covering books for the library and found that a real stress relief, sadly since taking on the president role I haven’t had time for that. My email address is pandcpresident@narangbass.eq.edu.au

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  7. Hi there. This is great!!! You did a fantastic job Matthew. We find that it is the same people assisting in all our major fundraising events. Janet, your form sounds like it is a very beneficial tool to utilise. Would you mind sharing with us also as we struggle to pull in new people year after year. Your form may highlight volunteer attributes and talents.

    One thing I want to also ask, has anyone completed a recent grant application? This is my first year doing them for our school and I really have no guidance for this. Any help would be appreciated, especially for those who have applied for the Gambling Community Benefits Fund.

    Thanks in advance 🙂

    Like

    • The Word Clouds are proportional to the frequency of the issue. I understand they look good but it is hard to pick as the words get smaller or are similar sized.

      Here’s the Challenges numbers:

      Community 1%
      Facilities 1%
      Compliance 2%
      Time 3%
      Communication 3%
      Fundraising 4%
      Awareness 4%
      Cooperation 9%
      Administration 12%
      Attendance 21%
      Volunteers 39%

      And here are the Achievement numbers:

      Fundraising 23%
      Community 13%
      Communication 11%
      Team-work 9%
      Administration 8%
      Tuckshop 4%
      Members 3%
      Facilities 3%
      Cooperation 2%
      Uniform Shop 2%
      Providing Good Change 2%
      After School Care 2%
      Short Meetings 1%
      Student Outcomes 1%
      Staff 1%
      Compliance 1%
      Participation 1%
      Other 10%

      Like

  8. Sorry, I meant the letter you send out to parents at the start if the school year to see how they can help!
    We have a great initiative at our school, which is the classroom carer network. One parent from each class is responsible for sending out a weekly email to parents about what the kids are doing in class that week and it can be used to ask for help with things and for p and c shout outs.

    Cheers,
    Sarah.

    Like

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