Friends School Plant Sale volunteer benefits

Benefits listed by amount of time and effort committed

4 hours (or collecting at least 500 boxes):

  • “Golden ticket” for pre-sale entry on Thursday from 6:00–10:00 p.m. (If you volunteer during the pre-sale, you can pass your golden ticket to someone else to use for you AND you also get an “any time” (#1) wristband for entry to the sale Friday, Saturday, or Sunday.)
  • 50% off plants on Sunday during regular sale hours. (If you volunteer during the Sunday sale, you can pass your discount coupon to someone else to use for you.)
  • During shift: Water cooler at Volunteer Desk with hot and cold water, hot chocolate mix and teas
  • During morning shifts on sale days: coffee at Volunteer Desk
  • Email notification when the paper catalogs are available for pickup at the school (new)
  • Email notification in summer of plant sale results (new)

8 hours or more in back-to-back shifts during the sale week:

All of the above, plus:

  • Free hot lunch or dinner available inside the Grandstand

Coordinating or anchoring a sale area, during the sale week (40+ hours):

All of the above, plus:

  • Yellow name tag
  • Your picture may end up on the wall at the Volunteer Desk
  • Flexibility on shopping times if it’s needed for you to be at your post
  • Use of restricted parking lot
  • Participation in the post-sale potluck
  • Being added to our ongoing communication network, if interested
  • Opportunity to influence Plant Sale decisions

Buying committee or other year-round volunteers:

(People who basically live at the Grandstand for the week of the sale, putting in 100–1,500 hours over the year):

All of the above, plus:

  • Able to store plants in a restricted storage area through one sale day

If you're interested in becoming a year-round volunteer, email to find out where you may be able to help out.


Reminder of 2017 changes that affect volunteer shopping at the sale

Last year we made some changes that affect volunteer shopping at the sale. One affects all volunteers at the plant sale, while the other two affect only people volunteering at particular times:

  1. All volunteers: All volunteers now receive a coupon for 50% off to use on Sunday during the regular sale hours, 10 a.m. – 2 p.m. (Customers who are not volunteers will still get just one-third off.) We discontinued the 80%-off sale for volunteers on Sunday after the sale closed. 
  2. Sunday morning volunteers: Volunteers who work during the Sunday sale hours, 10 a.m. - 2 p.m.,  cannot shop during that time for their own plants. Instead, they can give their 50% off coupon to a friend or family member to shop for them.
  3. Thursday evening volunteers: Volunteers who work on Thursday evening during the volunteer pre-sale cannot shop during that time. Instead, they can give their card to a friend or family member to shop for them, AND they can receive an “admit any time” wristband to use on Friday, Saturday, or Sunday during sale hours.

Why did we make these changes?

  1. The work of running the 80% off sale, which happened just as we need to take down all of the tables and signage, caused problems. Each year the complexity of the 80% off sale was growing, without any kind of increase in return for all of the work, at a time when we are all exhausted and there’s still a lot to do to pack up.

    Plus, it was only a relatively small segment of the volunteer crew who took advantage of it; we think that offering all volunteers 50% off during the regular hours will reach more people.

    If there are still plants left after we close on Sunday, we now transfer them to the Minnesota State Horticultural Society’s Minnesota Green program for distribution to community gardens and nonprofit organizations.
  2. Managing the early shopping of Sunday sale-day volunteers was an ongoing management problem. We think discontinuing it is the fairest way to give all volunteers equal access to the Sunday discounted plants, rather than advantaging the volunteers who sign up to work on Sunday. Plus it means we can start the day a bit later on Mother’s Day, with most volunteers arriving at 9:30 a.m. instead of as early as 8:00 a.m.
  3. The restriction on pre-sale shopping by Thursday evening volunteers was not new in 2017, but we are changing to an “admit any time” wristband instead of a “Friday #1” wristband so that volunteers can use the wristband at any time they want, not just on Friday morning.

In summary

  • If it’s important for you to shop for your own plants at the pre-sale, don’t volunteer on Thursday evening.
  • If it’s important for you to shop for your own discounted plants, don’t volunteer on Sunday during sale hours.

One final point: If you want to do some shopping on Friday or Saturday, on the same day you are doing your volunteer shift, please do the shopping either before or after your shift. There is no shopping during your shift. If shopping before the shift, please pay for the plants and store them in your car in time to begin your volunteer shift. Plants cannot be stored at the Volunteer Desk.

Thank you for volunteering. We hope these guidelines make things clearer and more fair for everyone who contributes their time to the Friends School Plant Sale.