Looking for advice to Get Scout Parents to Meet Deadlines. We’re a busy troop with many events. Often we have to confirm RSVPs with locations well in advance with sites we visit and make payments. Lately I’ve had parents (one in particular) upset that their scout has been denied events because they didn’t meet deadlines. We use sign up genius and multiple email reminders (sometimes I feel like I’m begging for responses) – we also announce dates as soon as we know them. I don’t know how else to get people to respond. (The latest upset is that she RSVPed maybe but never confirmed so thinks we should have gone ahead and paid for her daughters spot). Helpful ways to avoid this?
Facebook was here to help our leader!
- Written event guidelines which include no payment no registration Even free events I asked for $5 check which was returned when daughter attended and kept as non refundable deposit if she didn’t Events troop paid for handled similar way check for event fee returned to parent when girl attended–this after too too many “we chose to sleep in” or Sally decided to go on sleepover instead Clearcut rules help honestly made my life easier and our troop stopped throwing away money on event fees.
- Put the parents who are upset in charge of deadline RSVPs. That will help them understand you volunteer and do not get paid and all the reminders should be enough.
- We have a Troop Handbook. We have a clause that if you don’t put a deposit for an event we don’t register your child. If you make a deposit and your child is a no show for the event, we cash your check for Troop reimbursement. We, as leaders sign that we have read and understand the handbook, have the individual girls sign the acknowledgement and each parent. When they come and say, I didn’t know that was in the handbook we show them their signature and the clause in the handbook. It’s sad we have to do that but it’s the girls’ money.
- I was having this problem too, last year. I find it particularly the issue when we are using troop money to fund an event, and then girls end up canceling at the last minute. This year I made Troop Financial Contract to include the beginning of the year paperwork. I outlined that I would give plenty of advanced notice and reminders, but I will not register a girl for an event without written (email or hand-written) confirmation that she will be attending. Then if a girl cancels at the last minute, they will be financially responsible for reimbursing the troop treasury. If you get a parent to sign a form like this, and then an event comes around in which they never RSVP’d in writing, you can reinforce your expectations with the paper they signed and discussing their lack of written commitment to the event.
- I would suggest not using the “maybe” option. Either RSVP yes or no. And, remember you cannot make everyone happy all the time. Do your best, make sure parents understand how you do things and what you expect from them and make sure you are being consistent so that they are not left wondering. But lastly, keep your sanity!
- No money, no trip. Don’t meet the deadline with cash, then they don’t go. My troop is on the large side of small (15) and we can’t afford to pay for girls who MIGHT go.
- This year I chose to select events for the entire year and sent out a registration form with amounts due for each event. With months advance notice families had a choice to schedule that event in their family calendar. If they no-show, there is no refund. I have had good luck with the families that know they are not going to be able to attend leading up to the event, offer up their spot to another girl who may have not been registered to attend. It has limited the amount of events we have done for the calendar year however we have had far fewer headaches this year and I have not had to repeatedly hound families. This year everyone was aware of the opportunities available at the start. Some have opted to wait until closer to the date of event to register their daughters and I made it perfectly clear that they are 100% responsible for registering their daughter themselves if that was the course they chose.
- The parents are trying to make their problem your problem. It is not. If this were a job with a deadline, their would be consequences. Do not give them the power to upset you. You gave a calendar months in advance, email reminders…it is the parents who are to blame. All leaders need to stand firm with this or you will be walked on for everything. To avoid this in the future, I would have a paper and an email for parents to read and sign about trips. They understand the rules of RSVPing by the deadline or their daughters cannot go. This should be sent with every trip email.
- Are you using text in addition to email? We mainly use text as I have one mom who isn’t very computer savvy. I also have my co leader do a lot of word of mouth communication at school pick up since they are there. But we have a much smart troop. I have been extending invites on events to three other troops but it’s been very good. They either RSVP or they don’t. I don’t order fun patches until AFTER event after learning from my first event beyond our troop. With a large troop I would say you need more adult involvement so they appreciate (recognize) the work involved. Try to assign one or two parents who might be friends with the problem parents to do more one on one follow up? It’s never fun turning down girls because of their parents but sometimes it has to be that way.
- We use Shutterfly for event sign up which automatically emails members and when its close to the deadline I can resend the sign up sheet the those who have not responded. Our parents know up front that their daughter will not be registered until a signed permission slip and a deposit check (returned at the end of the event) is submitted. They also know that if they do not show up for an event their deposit check is forfeit to recover troop loss.