Get More Volunteers Without Begging: Lesson 5.4 - Answering objections and handling Nos in a positive way

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Lesson 5.4 video transcript

This lesson is about answering the concerns many parents have about taking a leadership role so you can get more YESes. It will also cover handling NOs in a positive way.

Most common concerns to taking PTO leadership roles and how to answer them

Time. It’s the number one reason parents give for why they don’t lead. Because there’s way more “free” work that needs to be done out there that there is “free” time to do it.

But even when parents say the reason is time, that’s probably not the only reason, and it may not even be the main reason stopping them from accepting a leadership role.

We’re going to look at how you can respond to common concerns in a positive way -- without twisting any arms, of course! Keep it polite and no pressure and candidates will see that you are listening and responding, not trying to steam roll them.

Let’s look at the concern first and then what you can say to help address it.

Concern: “I don’t have time.”

Response: We hear you. We can do so much good for the kids! But only if busy parents can balance PTO jobs with other priorities. That’s why we keep things flexible, with many different job options. We can also break leadership roles into smaller parts and adjust responsibilities to fit different schedules and interests.

Concern: It’s a lot of work - especially if a small group of people gets stuck doing it!

Response: You’re right! That’s why we’re committed to sharing the work fairly. Our pledge program is helping us build a strong volunteer base. We also make sure that activities are subject to volunteer support, so a small group never gets stuck doing all the work.

Concern: I’m not sure I can do the job.

Response: That feeling is more common that you might think. We find that a good transition plan, clear “how to” documentation, and support during the year helps volunteers feel confident about doing a job -- and enjoy it more too!

Concern: Expectations seem high and I don’t want people to complain.

Response: We get a lot of great feedback from parents and staff – and from smiling kids, of course! If there are critics too, we listen for anything helpful, and we ask them to be part of the solution. Some step up and others quiet down.

Concern: It’s a big challenge and I don’t feel comfortable.

Response: Tackling big challenges is easier, and more fun, when we do it together. That means breaking the challenge down into manageable parts. It can also mean bringing a friend along! Co-Chairs and other “wing persons” are always welcome. We’re always open to creative job sharing to make things more doable and enjoyable.

Concern: I have younger children.

Response: Bring them! They will probably have company. We also have jobs that can be done from home and outside of school hours if that would be a better match.

Concern: I’m not sure I would fit in. Everyone else seems to know each other and has been doing this a while.

Response: We would love the chance to make you feel welcome! We always need new ideas and energy to help the kids and the school. It’s such a rewarding job, and working with friends, new and old, is a big part of that.

Concern: I hate public speaking.

Response: You are not alone! That’s a really common thing. It helps to remember that we’re talking to parents just like us and many of them are thinking: “Wow, I’m so glad they’re doing this.” When we goof, we laugh about it together. We take our work seriously but keep things in perspective.

Concern: I had a bad experience volunteering.

Response: Thanks for sharing that. We want volunteers to have a great experience and feel appreciated. Your perspective would be especially valuable in a leadership role and helping us improve.

Concern: I’m an introvert and don’t love being in big groups.

Response: We hear you. There are jobs involving planning and coordinating that can be done behind the scenes if you’re more comfortable with that.

So those are some of the concerns you’re likely to hear when asking parents to consider leadership positions. I put the concerns and responses in a quick reference guide for you and you’ll find the link in the lesson area and the Class Guide.

By answering their concerns and focusing them on the benefits, like those discussed in Lesson 5.3, more parents will say YES.

On the flip side, if a candidate is raising objections as fast as you can counter them. Or maybe they just give you a clear, firm “thank you, but no thank you.” Or even “No way!” “Never!”… Do not beg them or pressure them or try to make them feel guilty.

Begging parents to volunteer will backfire

If they say yes under pressure, their heart won’t be in it and you won’t get the results you want. They’ll also be less likely to volunteer again. If you were pressured into the job you have now, you know how it feels. And that it won’t keep working. Your group will run out of arms to twist.

Pushing too hard also burns bridges with some parents forever. Instead, end on a positive note.

Thank them for taking the time to meet with you or talk with you and for the ways they have already helped.

Keep the lines of communication open. Wide open.

If you don’t beg and pressure, if you keep things positive, some of those Nos will become future Yeses.

To help you persuade parents to lead, check out the quick reference guide for answering concerns and the lesson notes in the Class Guide.

Do you have questions or comments about this class? I would love to hear from you -- and help! Please email me using the Contact link below or in the Guide.

See you in the next lesson!

Lesson 5.4 - Answering objections and handling Nos in a positive way  from  Get More Volunteers Without Begging.  Free video training for PTO leaders created by Jen B. Cosgrove,