Category Archives: Super Jooners

“Your kids grow up way too fast”

Today we talk with Tanya K. a super member of the Jooners community.  Her comment about kids growing up too fast, hit home with all of us moms here at Jooners.   Enjoy her wisdom!

Jooners:  Hi Tanya….Tell us a little bit about yourself.

Tanya:  I am a work from home mom with two boys, ages 9 and 11.  Like most kids their age, they are involved with soccer, church, basketball, Adventure Guides and Future Problem Solvers.  We live in San Clemente, California but my kids attend a private school in Laguna Niguel, about 22 minutes away.  Accordingly every time I can communicate or collaborate with someone at school in a way that avoids a round-trip, it is a blessing to me.  I tend to be a fairly active parent in all of my kids’ activities.  Off the top of my head … I have coordinated 6 book fairs, been a team parent more times than I can count, a room parent six times, teach at Sunday school and volunteer to provide technology help for all of the major school fundraisers

Jooners:  How did you first hear about Jooners?

Tanya:  Four years ago I was a room mom for my second grader.  Half-way through the year I became convinced that there had to be a better way for parents to sign up to help out in the classroom than the “reply all” method we were using on a monthly basis.  Despite the email box explosive “reply all” method that especially irritated many working parents, many shifts would have double volunteers and others would remain unfilled.   Initially I wanted to create my own on-line service just for our classroom so I called a company to see if I could rent some space on their server.  As the customer service agent was typing in my order, she innocently asked me why I was renting the space.  I explained to her my intention and she said “Oh no.  You have to use Jooners!”  As she described the service to me, I quickly cancelled my order and searched for Jooners on the Internet.  The rest is history.
Jooners:  What do you use Jooners for?

Tanya:  EVERYTHING!  I just checked my account and have created and published 45 sign up sheets – monthly volunteers, snack schedules, book fairs, meal preparations for families in need.  I have also responded to countless sign up sheets used by the 20 plus other parents at our school.  It is the organizing tool of choice at our school.
Jooners:  Has using Jooners made your life easier? If so, how?

Tanya:  By all means, it has cut down the time I spend each month as a Room Parent by 50% or more.  I just set up the monthly sheet at the start of the year (15 minutes) and copy it every subsequent month (5 minutes.)  The automated reminders are fantastic and help people remember what they signed up for weeks before so you get fewer people not showing up.

Jooners:  What are the three most important things you have learned in your volunteering efforts?

Tanya:  Your kids grow up way too fast.  Spend time with them instead of the computer and you will be blessed. 2) Assume that at some point in your venture someone will be upset or offended by something you do as an organizer.  95% of the time it is a reflection on the other person so just shrug it off.  Apologize sincerely the other 5% of the time.  3) Don’t sign up for things if your heart isn’t in it.  “God loves a cheerful giver.”  You don’t get credit in your after life for the other stuff.

Jooners: What advice do you have for those new to organizing?

Tanya:  Be sure to explore the sign up sheet templates.  They can save you quite a bit of time and effort.  Also, don’t feel the need to fill in every unmet need.  You are already giving of your time and talents.  If for some reason there is a party with red jello cups, but not green ones – life will go on!

Super Jooner – Interview with Kristi H.

We are so excited to announce another Super Jooner!

Mother of 7-year-old twin boys and self-confessed Kindle-addict, Kristi H. has proved herself an online sign up sheet wizard. Aside from coordinating Cub Scout events or a trip to Disneyland for 25, Kristi enjoys camping, scrapbooking, and spending time with her husband.

Read on to discover Kristi’s perspective on volunteering and appreciation for online, group activity management.

1. How did you first hear about Jooners?

I heard about Jooners 3 years ago when my kids entered kindergarten and I had signed up to be the room parent.  There was a small buzz around school about it so I decided to try it for a year.

2. What do you use Jooners for?

I have used Jooners for a variety of things, including meal assignments for camping trips, volunteer assignments for cub scout functions, and most often for organizing events for my sons’ classrooms.

3. Has using Jooners made your life easier? If so, how?

I plan MANY events on a regular basis and Jooners has had a significant impact on my organizing efforts. First, going paperless has been a plus because I don’t have to keep track of paper sign up sheets that always end up getting lost. Second, while going paperless is great, email alone becomes very cumbersome because there’s always a ton of back and forth responses to manage.  Jooners eliminates that by having everything in one centralized location that I can check anytime. All this equals a more enjoyable planning experience for me!

4. What are the three most important things you learned in your volunteering efforts?

The three most important things I have learned in my volunteering efforts are:

A.  People are usually willing to help if you give them clear, detailed direction.

B.  Always make sure your correspondence is positive. People respond better if they feel you are part of the team rather than the director of the team.

C.  Don’t criticize someone else’s volunteering efforts unless you are willing to put yourself on the line too.

Volunteers dedicate their time, mental energy and usually their own money to make sure events go well. Thank them by helping out and keeping things positive.

5. What advice do you have for those new to organizing?

In addition to my responses in Question #4, advice I would give to someone starting out volunteering is to definitely use an online tool like Jooners. It’s easy to use, reasonably priced and their technical support is excellent. You will be amazed at how stress free your planning becomes!

Super Jooner – Interview with Mary S.

Welcome to our 2nd Super Jooners interview!

Mary S. lives in the Bay Area. She has a son who is in his junior year in college and a daughter who is a freshman in high school. She is currently the PTSA President for her daughter’s high school and has served as PTA president and other PTA positions since her kids were in elementary school. Mary and her husband enjoy watching their kids play sports – competitive soccer for her daughter and college ice hockey for her son. She enjoys helping and volunteering in the schools. Mary says: “We have a great group of parents and have a lot of laughs while we stuff envelopes, etc. ”

Here is our interview with Mary…..

How did you first hear about Jooners?

About two years ago I was coordinating a silent auction basket for my daughter’s soccer team and one of the other moms suggested the Jooners link to help keep track of the items. I had never heard of the link before.

What do you use Jooners for?

EVERYTHING! I have used it at three school sites to coordinate donation of items for raffle or snacks for classroom parties or luncheon items. I have used it to coordinate volunteers for our 5 day high school registration walkthrough — we have almost 200 shifts to fill! My daughter’s sports teams have needed coordination of fundraiser items. One fun thing . . . we collect baked goods to present each high school staff member with a box of treats to take home during Winter Break. This means we must collect over 2000 items to give each of the 160 staff members at least a dozen treats. With Jooners, all the bakers can see what others are bringing so we get a variety. And, they can sign up for one set of baked goods or put their name in several spots if they are baking machines.

Has using Jooners made your life easier? If so, how?

Oh yeah! Way easier! In the past, I have had to contact several hundred people by phone over the summer to coordinate the shifts for the high school registration (mentioned above). This was days and days worth of leaving messages, calling back, then someone would cancel, then people would say to call them back if we still needed help. I had a co-chairperson working on this so she was putting in the same days and days worth of phone calls and emailing back and forth. Now we can send the Jooner’s link our school’s online system. Multiple people can check on the progress. If we don’t have the shifts filled, we can send a second (or third or fourth) request so easily. And then the ‘thank you note’ option? Amazing! Or to send a message to all volunteers to let them know the location has changed by using the ‘contact volunteers’ option (which is exactly what happened two days before our huge high school event). Also Amazing!
What are the three most important things you have learned in your volunteering efforts?

  1. I have learned that we have a great community and a lot of people want to help.
  2. People are busy and the Internet has made contacting large groups convenient for my available time as well as the time of the volunteers. Some people check their email on their phones or in the middle of the night.
  3. If the work is fun (and we always have fun), then it isn’t work at all.

What advice do you have for those new to organizing?

Contact everyone and give them the option to say yes or no. They may not be able to help the first or second time, but there might be a time that works for them. If everyone always feels included, you have a better chance of success and a greater opportunity to meet new people. Oh, yeah, and always use Jooners so you never have the headache of coordinating the volunteers once you have them.

Super Jooner – Interview with Sue C.

Introducing Super Jooner, Sue C!

Sue C. is an active parent in her community and school.  Married for 19 years, Sue has two daughters aged 9 & 12 that enjoy riding horses, gymnastics, drama and lots of open creative time. The family goes to the beach or takes frequent local trips around the Bay Area.  Sue’s personal hobbies are scrap-booking, cooking, design, art, walking and spending time with her kids.

As an active contributor and organizer of events, she has some key advice on how to make your events and projects successful. Read on and get inspired…

1) How did you first hear about Jooners?

My older daughter attends a school in Sunnyvale, California and the parent organizers at the school used Jooners for fundraisers, classroom parties, and drama productions (to coordinate parent volunteers). The first time I signed up as a volunteer on Jooners, I realized how useful it could be and I became a member.

2) What do you use Jooners for?

I use Jooners to help my younger daughter’s teacher schedule student conferences.  I’ve used it for year-end parties to coordinate parents bringing in snacks and signing up to help. The biggest event I organized with Jooners was a Halloween Pumpkin Patch and Haunted Trail. I forwarded the sign-up sheet link to 1,100 parents and we had 132 volunteers sign up for 15 different event dates. Jooners helped me organize goodies for bake sales, and schedule workers for several carnivals, and many other events to raise money for our school district.

3) Has using Jooners made your life easier? If so, how?

As a busy parent and a volunteer for many functions myself, I find it frustrating and daunting to receive a blanket e-mail asking for assistance, but not telling me what is needed and when.  Also, if I respond to a general request and show interest, I know I’ll be asked to coordinate it.

People want to help out and serve, but they need a way to see specifically what is needed and when. Then they can put it on their calendar and commit.

I’ve appreciated Jooners not just as a tool to gather volunteers, but also communicate with them before and after an event. I liked being able to contact specific volunteers with questions or requests. I used the reporting function to send out information and thank you notes. I also pulled together a master list of the people that actually volunteered so I can use it next year. Then I can focus on recruiting more form the list of committed volunteers instead of the larger group of 1,100.

4) What are the three most important things you have learned in your volunteering efforts?

  • People want to contribute and the coordinator needs to make it easy for them to do so
  • People need clear, concise instructions
  • People need immediate feedback.  Even if I don’t know the answer to something, I always send a quick e-mail to reassure the sender that I received their message and will get back with them. Then they feel someone is listening.

5) What advice do you have for those new to organizing?

Don’t be afraid to step out and organize something. If anyone complains, ask them to join in and help you! Or better yet, suggest they coordinate the event next year. I guarantee, you won’t hear from them again. And have fun!

Click on the comment box or on Jooners Facebook page….we’d love to hear from you!

Super Jooners

Over the past few weeks, I had the good fortune of getting to know a number of our super members.  Boy, I was in for a treat.  What luck to have all of you using Jooners and how very lucky are your families and communities.  Hats off to a great bunch of people…..

We will start publishing the interviews next week…..Read and get inspired!