Thursday, April 8, 2010

Why I Won't Chair Another Activity

The instructions for those of us stupid enough to have volunteered to run an activity or fundraiser at the elementary school this year. I'm not making any of it up. Not. Any. Of. It.

Only after agreeing to take on something was I told this year would be "The Year of Documentation." And I thought I hated the task I was doing enough already.

1. Please err on the side of over-documenting this year so that going forward future chairpersons will know exactly what you did to ensure the success of your program or event. Write it down! If you’re the only who knows how to run the program or event, it will be difficult to recruit new chairs for future years.

2. Photograph your event. A picture tells a thousand words, and a quick shot of your event will speak volumes to future chairs. Tape pictures to 8 ½ X 11 sheets of paper so we can easily include them in a binder.

3. Print out emails that you send to your team and place it in your file folder. Print weekly newsletter articles as well. Again, over-document to help future chairs.

4. Include hard copies of all flyers, invitations, letters to teachers, letters home, schedules, timelines, shopping lists, forms - anything that you create should go in your folder.

5. Purchase a flash drive (and include it in your budget) and attach it to your file folder at the end of your program or event that includes all of your electronic files so that future chairs can access and edit them.

6. Photocopy each reimbursement request and your receipts and include them in your file folder. Type up a list of your total expenses including the store where you shopped, what you purchased, and the amount you spent.

7. If you receive in-kind donations, please list them on your expense report so that we know the true cost of the program. Donations are great! However, we don’t want to under-budget in future years because we didn’t know the true cost of the event.

8. Be true with your budget. If your budget was too little or too much, let us know. We would rather fix the budget for future years than have chairs struggle to meet their budgets. On the flip side, if your program costs considerably less than what you were given, let us know that too so that we can move that money to a new program or add it to an existing event that needs more.

9. Type up a list of “Lessons Learned” so that future chairs can learn from your experiences. Let’s not reinvent the wheel!

10. If you feel that you’ve reached the point that you would like to step down from your chairperson position, please recruit from within your team to find a new chairperson for next year. Everyone should approach their program or event with thoughts on who would be best to replace you. There are over 75 programs and events at SCHOOL. Think altruistically and help future PTA Presidents and President-Elects by finding your replacement!


Michele R said...

Yeah, if anyone knew of these requirements there would be no more volunteering. That stuff is has more requirements than a paid job. Plus, whoever wrote all that had time to volunteer instead. Maybe I'm just grumpy.

cjm said...

I know I'll be the minority here. I do agree that, yes, this sucks for this year's volunteers. But I think it's a good idea (ducks while objects are thown in general direction). There have been many times in my past leadership roles that I would have liked to have learned from past mistakes/what went right. I'm all about not reinventing the wheel. So when I read this, I think it would be even better to volunteer in the future. You'll have to keep us posted next year (if this school still exists).

Patois42 said...


No objects thrown here. You're absolutely right that documentation is a good thing. I think it can be overdone. For the record, I've provided ample documentation in the past for things I've done. It's the smart thing to do. But I think what's being asked for here is too much and not a fair thing to ask us to do only AFTER we've been persuaded to take on something.

Wouldn't that just be a kick in the butt if the school did close after this next year?!

Magpie said...

Someone has too much time on their hands. That kind of thing would send me over the deep end. It makes me glad to have a full time out of the house job: I can decline in good conscience.

mayberry said...

Wow. By the time I got to #10, I was ready to follow its direction and pass the job to its next victim.

I basically got fired from a volunteer job this year. I felt 2% dissed and 98% relieved.


I mentioned to Eldest the other night that I had a fairly wide open day Friday. Writer that he is, he wondered if I would perhaps like a wri...