Below are some key components to developing a reciprocal relationship with your school's Community Sponsor.
Clear communication strategy:
- School Liaison or School Social Worker
- Has the school identified one main contact person for all The Sheridan Story communication? Having one person to sort through questions or requests is helpful because the Community Sponsor can always know who to contact.
- This point person can see it as their role to be knowledgeable about ways volunteers can get involved or know who to connect them to.
- Clear process for a Community Sponsor to start volunteering beyond food distribution
- Since the volunteer process varies from school to school, outline the steps for how someone can start volunteering.
- Make this visible on your website, a flyer, or in an email at the beginning of the year. For example:
- Complete a background check
- Meet with the Family and Community Liaison for training and orientation
- Start serving!
- Volunteer page on your school website
- We know being tech-savvy isn't for everyone, but if possible make sure the school website has an updated volunteer page. This page helps the school voice their needs for volunteers, ways volunteers can get involved and the process to do so.
- This is also a great place to embed a calendar with all upcoming events; school-wide or grade-specific.
- The point of having this page as developed as possible is that it will allow the school to be accessible, providing an easy way for community members to get involved.
Invite your Sponsor Organization to participate in your school's mission:
- See the Community Sponsor as a supportive group of community members who are just waiting for an invitation to learn and to serve. Perhaps it’s just an opportunity to learn about your school or your students, or maybe you have a specific need to be filled.
- When seeking volunteers, site council members, chaperones, ideas for a new initiative, or dollars for a school drive; don’t hesitate to ask your Community Sponsor. Invite them to participate. Even if they cannot help each time, many are looking for more ways to give back to the community.
- Not about creating more work
- Sometimes the best serving opportunities is what you are already doing that you just need a few extra hands. Stuffing envelopes? Extra person in the lunchroom? What may be a mundane job to you may be a purposeful opportunity for a community member.
- OR is there an unrealized idea, that you “wish you could do?” Invite your Sponsor Organization to brainstorm with you.
- Try to communicate to the volunteers how their service is helpful. Is the volunteer opportunity to hang out in the lunch room and make sure each kid takes just one milk? Share with the volunteer that their efforts allows the teachers to get a much-needed rest.