Parents Will Not Help with Soccer Booster Events

Updated on September 16, 2015
D.D. asks from Goodyear, AZ
18 answers

I resenlty joined the Soccer Booster Club to help out. We ask for parents to donate food items so we can make a dinner for all the players, coaches and trainers. If each parent brings noodles, another the milk, another sauce ect. the cost would be spread out. We are finding that the same parents always volunteer to give. One parent always says she will be the back up for what doesnt get donated.

My question is do any of you have any suggestions to get more parents to help donate?

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answers from Pittsburgh on

You can use the website "Sign Up Genius". You create a list of items that you need, you e-mail it out to all the participants, and they sign up for one or more items. That way everyone can see what is needed and what is left.

If that still doesn't work then I would suggest that you determine how much it costs and roll it into the registration fee.

OR let everyone fend for themselves.

7 moms found this helpful


answers from Sacramento on

Send out another message, this time listing who has signed up to donate and who has not responded.

Do give people the option of donating money instead of items. I know as a working mom, it's hard to get out to the store to buy things, especially if I get a same-week request. My days are filled with work, then I'm caught up in homework and after-school activities.

I'm assuming this is a one-time event? If it's more frequent than that, that's why people aren't responding. Too much $$ involved.

1 mom found this helpful

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answers from Washington DC on

two things.
1) don't be vague. don't ask for 'food items', tell everyone whose last name begins with A-F to bring a protein, G-M a veggie, N-Z a side dish. or whatever. and put a dollar amount on there for those who don't have time to shop and just want to contribute money.
2) keep your expectations realistic. best case scenario 20% of the people will do 80% of the work, and it's usually worse. fact o' life.

8 moms found this helpful


answers from St. Louis on

It is what it is. There are some parents that will never do a thing unless they are forced, there are those that do everything, and the people in the middle just need to be asked.

Your best bet to get the middle people is a clip board and a sign up sheet. I assume this is for a soccer team so bring your clip board to the game. Say, hey, next week we have everything but noodles, who's got noodles. It is a pain in the butt but it is the only way to reach the middle people.

6 moms found this helpful


answers from Washington DC on

Especially if most parents are new to this booster club -- I strongly recommend someone take the lead and set up a SignUp Genius account. It's free; it does not require anyone to give a ton of personal information; and it very easily organizes "we need this" or "we need volunteers these hours for these jobs" kinds of lists.

You must get everyone's e-mail. You will create a SignUp Genius list for a specific event and e-mail it out to everyone; they click on the link in the e-mail and see a list where, then and there, they can click to confirm they'll bring noodles or they'll volunteer from 4 until 5 at whatever. They can also ask for a reminder e-mail from the site closer to the time of the event, if they want.

It really does help organize things. Just asking verbally, or sending out e-mails or texts bit by bit, can miss out some folks, or they'll say yes if they're asked verbally and then forget. SignUp Genius (and similar online sign up systems) are very, very widely used by schools, individual teachers, teams and other groups around here. Lots of my kid's teachers use it to organize parent volunteers.

Nope, I don't work for them, I just like how they work!

4 moms found this helpful


answers from Los Angeles on

Be very specific when approaching each parent with the designated item to donate!
And always give the cash option.
Examples: "Kim, can you donate 2 lbs of Bow Tie pasta? I need it by Thursday night." "Jane, would you provide 2 gallons of milk for the soccer dinner? I need at my house by Thursday night." "Bob, can you provide 3 quarts of spaghetti sauce for the dinner? I'll need it by Thursday evening."

4 moms found this helpful


answers from Pittsburgh on

Do you send home a list of what you need, and have parents sign up for specific items?

If someone asked me "Can you help with a dinner for the kids?" I would probably say no, because I don't want to get in over my head. But if someone asked me "Can you send in a gallon of milk on Tuesday for the kids' dinner?" I would say sure.

4 moms found this helpful


answers from Salinas on

When you figure it out let me know, haha. As my kids grew I pulled back from joining the booster type stuff. It is so hard to get the majority involved and it does always seem like it's the same people pitching in every time.

I prefer to just give money rather than items. Maybe if you just asked everyone for $5-$10 for the dinner it would be easier. I've found you still have to track people down but they feel guilty for not chipping in when they are going to be eating. Bringing perishables seems like more of a pain, most people have a few dollars on them. Good luck!

4 moms found this helpful


answers from San Francisco on

Um, yeah, it's always certain parents that help out. Some don't care and others are literally overwhelmed with their own lives and/or can't afford it.
I have lived in the same, very wealthy community for over twenty years so I know of what I speak.
ETA: it does help to ask for specific items, for example someone who can't or won't cook might be thrilled to donate a few dozen water bottles for example.

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Phoenix on

I think this is the kind of thing that pops up in every group. Some people will always step up, some will always let everyone else shoulder the load. To a certain extent, its unavoidable, because you just can't make people care when they don't.
It may well be that some families can't afford to contribute. Setting that aside, the best way to get people involved is to get them invested. I would set up a survey to find out what people think of the dinners. My kid is a vegetarian, I wouldn't be jumping up to bring in hamburgers when I know I would have to bring separate food anyway. Maybe some would prefer to bring their own. Maybe some would like different meals. Maybe it is easier for some parents to kick in $20 at the beginning of the season and let others shop and cook. If you make everyone feel like they have a say, they may be more willing to pitch in. But ultimately, don't feel bad because every committee, group, counsel, club, team, etc since the beginning of time shares your frustration!!

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Washington DC on

Are all these parents boosters or just have kids on the team? They may feel that they didn't sign up to be a booster on purpose and therefore don't want to participate. I'm sure it's similar to PTA - the few do the work. Did you specify the items? Did you ask for someone to sign up for x or y? Would it be permissible for someone to donate "a gallon of milk or $4" so that those who already feel stretched can just throw money at it? How often do these events happen and how often do parents get tapped? How you get them to donate? You make it as easy as possible, and understand that some parents just won't and that's just the nature of being a volunteer organization.

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Springfield on

Are you asking them to donate uncooked food or bring a dish? At our Cub Scout events we usually say something along the lines of Tigers bring juice, Wolves bring chips, Bears bring desserts, Weblos bring a side dish ... you get the idea.

If you want the ingredients for a dinner, I think you're better off asking each family for a certain amount of money.

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Portland on

What works here is they just ask everyone to donate $ x amount to just put towards these things. They ask at registration time.

Parents much prefer it and so do the moms who organize this stuff.

If people still like bringing in something they've made or prepared, they are welcome to.

If you have to (our school does this) you send out a list with people's names next to what they are bringing. Then list the items left to bring.
Kind of shames people into bringing stuff. It seems to work. Sometimes people really can't spare the time to get stuff and would contribute in other ways so I like the idea they could just give you money instead.

Good luck :)

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Dover on

Stop expecting others to do as you think they should. They won't. You can't change it. Changing those expectations will make your life less stressful.

I don't say that because you are expecting or asking too much, cause you aren't. I'm saying that because it is reality. I speak from experience.

My son is now about to turn 24. From Spring his K year in school, he did a different sport every season. The younger the kids were, the more parental participation you had but still it was mostly the same core group doing 99% of the work. That was true in sports, scouts, school, etc. Fast forward to middle school and it was a smaller core group. Fast forward again to high school and it is even smaller. In fact, for the wrestling team...there were 4 of us doing 100% of the work. One year it was 50% me...with the other 3 doing the rest. I had just had a baby and returned to fulltime work, was shopping for, cooking for, and bringing all concession stand items. Working concession stand for most of every home match (I did escape long enough to watch my son and I enlisted the team to unload my car when I arrived), and transporting a few of the team members home. Now I find with my daughter, I am less likely to take the lead/responsibility (I still help out but much more sparingly cause I am a bit burnt out).

One suggestion is to specifically tell them what you need...Mrs. Jones, can you bring the noodles this week? Maybe have them bring in advance so the back up knows in time what is needed and not be last minute.

Please keep in mind that financially, it might still be a struggle for some and they may be too embarrassed to fess up to that. It's understandable.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Dallas on

When we did cheer boosters and meals... We had 2 moms in charge of the dinners. Those 2 moms collected about $8 for each game ( 9-10 games) we had from parents who wanted to participate up front. No one was forced to participate... 2 girls had moms that didn't like the set up so they brought food to their daughters on their own.

The day before game day, Girls who were participating in the food program got a menu from whatever establishment the Moms chose then on game day, meals were delivered to the participants. Yes... We confirmed any allergies ahead of time.

We over estimated the budget... Most families got money back at the end of the season because those of us very involved made sure drinks and water were available.

We did the same for each ballgame as well. 1-2 parents were assigned by coaches to bring water... Cheer provided the ice and water cooler. Not that hard to do!

Some restaurants wanted to sponsor the girls and we got some good meals/deals. We tried to steer from junk food/drive thru stuff. We had Italian restaurants supply salad, bread, entree... Boston market, Subway, etc

Good luck!! The hardest people to get involved with boosters are usually the ones who complain about everything and claim you're not doing enough. You can't please everyone!

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Oklahoma City on

You do realize that everyone can't afford to donate to everything they're asked?

I have people asking for us to bring this or that to school and we simply cannot afford it. We get told to see raffle tickets at T-Ball, if we don't sell the tickets that's okay, the coach has to buy them outright then get their money back from the parents. So the ball field gets their money upfront. The coaches get stuck with all those tickets so they go out and sell and sell and sell. If the parents help that's good but even then. They still get stuck with some of them.

So we stopped playing T-Ball. We couldn't afford to suck it up and buy 10 raffle tickets every season. We'd try to sell them but it was just easier to stop playing.

At church we have a policy that meals are not to be put luck where everyone is supposed to bring something, more where they're assigned to bring something specific, not where one can't bring whatever they want.

They had found that many people, especially elderly or those who are single, just cannot afford to go out and buy something that is more than they'd spend on their own supper.

It's not something everyone is going to advertise either. Everyone on here knows that my family lives on a fixed income and that we're raising grand kids. We do not have any extra money at all. If we paid all our bills we'd go in the hole every month. We don't advertise that we can't afford everything, we just don't volunteer.

Some of your parents just don't care. They figure they signed their kid up to play soccer and that's what they want. They are busy with their own lives and have given all they can or want to give.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Harrisburg on

I agree with many of these ideas especially the sign up genius and to make $$ a selection instead of an actual food item.
I'd also suggest that for people who can't give a donation, maybe they could volunteer to cook, set up or clean up. We have a parent on our soccer team that can't afford some of the things we do, but she's first to volunteer to for non $$ related needs.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Springfield on

be specific, tell them what to bring. or give them the $5-10 donation or this food item option. also send reminders. i will forget about something super quickly and often have to write myself a note. if i am outside for a soccer game its unlikely i will have paper and pen.
after you got most of what you need tell that one parent (that will be the back up) whats left thats needed and hopefully you will get everything you need.

1 mom found this helpful
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