1. Senior parents running the booster club
Booster clubs can dramatically reduce the learning curve for volunteers
by establishing the framework whereby the clubs officers are made up
of junior or underclass parents. Allowing the senior parents to step
aside at a time when their focus is most needed on supporting their
son or daughter’s next step into college, scholarships and senior party
activities. This move will help to provide incoming club officers with
mentors and existing support channels.
Tip #1: Develop a recruiting and awareness
campaign that you can promote to the local middle and junior high schools.
Contact the schools 8th grade parent group or the 8th grade advisor
and ask if you can deliver flyers to the school so that each 8th grader
can take one home for their parents. The flyer should be an invitation
to attend your next booster club activity or event. Letting them know
your group welcomes them to the school will help increase your parent
participation as well as your awareness and set the stage for allowing
your senior parents to become mentors instead of distracted leaders.
Tip #2: Work with your school’s administration
towards establishing an active role during freshman orientation. Setup
a club table and position yourself so that all parents can easily see
you. Promote a drawing giveaway for a school shirt, hat or tickets with
concession items to the next home football game in exchange for the
freshman parent signing their name and providing their contact number
and/or email address where you can send them your next club newsletter
and be sure to include 3 or 4 questions asking for their support.
2. Isolating a club
The majority of parents and school supporters rarely understand exactly
“what” the booster club is. This is because it is common for a booster
club to stay completely isolated and involve only parent supporters
from their given activity or program. When a booster club realizes that
the involvement from parents and supporters outside of their own group
can and will provide enhanced help and support they can expand and provide
a greater level of support to their activity or program.
Tip #1: By providing opportunities for
other groups like the football boosters asking the cheerleaders and
band to take an active part in events (spaghetti feed, tailgate parties,
dances, etc.) that your group conducts, you will attract the involvement
and support from parents outside your circle.
Tip #2: Hold open house type events where
you invite past club officers, community supporters, alumni, administrators
and parents to attend. An old fashioned barbeque put on for the entire
school and paid by the booster club can gain a great deal of support.
Seeking local vendors can offset the costs making this a fun and affordable
3. Conducting consecutive and/or multiple fundraisers
Fundraising has become a necessary evil and for many booster clubs a
means to insuring the continuation of the activity they support. A continual
mistake made by many clubs is running one fundraiser after another or
running multiple fundraisers at a time. This dramatically distracts
from the need, the goal and the reason for fundraising. Picking the
“right” fundraiser that meets the clubs needs and goals, then running
a program no more than 3 weeks with a clear and defined reason for fundraising
will increase the rewards and reduce volunteer burnout.
Tip: Doing many fundraisers does not mean
raising more money. Doing a few fundraisers over the course of a year
and doing them well produces better results. Keeping your program short
(3 weeks max) will keep them motivated. Never do more than one fundraiser
at a time. Keep the goal in front of everyone, space your fundraisers
out so people have down time, this will keep them moving and from burning
out as you move closer to your goal.
4. Lack of mission and vision statement
A booster club without a mission or vision statement is kind of like
a boat without a rudder. A common mistake for booster clubs is not taking
the time to develop a mission statement. Identifying why the club exists
and what its mission is, plays a very important role in helping to attract
volunteer support both from the school and the community alike. It also
helps provide a club with a road map of what it is trying to achieve.
Tip: Make sure your mission or vision statement
includes the following features: (a) it identifies who you are, (b)
it defines your group’s objectives, and (c) it gives volunteers and
supporters a clear understanding of why you exist.
5. A lack of an Executive Booster Club
Establishing an executive booster club to help oversee each independent
club like football, band and cheerleading will help to increase parent
participation, control conflict, help to establish a stronger voice
for gathering support and to provide a self serving system for resolving
issues. In addition, the establishment of an executive club will help
encourage all parents to become involved, regardless of whether or not
their son or daughter are involved in a given activity or program.
Tip: If your school already has multiple
booster clubs contact your schools administration and arrange for a
time where you can meet to share the plan of developing a “main” or
“executive” booster club to expand the parent involvement at the school.
Contact each president or leader of each club and ask them to meet with
you and the other club leaders for the purpose of helping to position
the booster clubs where all can benefit. Getting a school administrator
to help promote the idea will expedite the building process.
6. Gaining tax exempt 501(c)3 status
Estimates show that only 12% of booster clubs have taken the steps to
register and become tax exempt organizations, thus giving them and their
organization the ability to legally promote and to gain donor contributions
with a tax benefit.
Tip: Although filing for 501(c)3 status
is lengthy the benefit is worth the effort. Gain the support from a
local attorney and account who will be willing to donate some time to
assist your organization in filing the paperwork correctly and then
helping to see that it remains current.
7. Accounting policies and procedures
An overwhelming 90% of booster clubs recently polled responded that
they had not formally established any accounting policies and procedures.
In addition, 78% stated that they were unsure if they had filed or were
required to file tax statements. Establishing an accounting system that
will properly track receivables and payables as well as the handling
of funds is a must.
Tip: Quickbooks offers a non-profit accounting
program that can be easily customized to offer all of the accounting
features needed for a club. Develop your accounting policies and procedures
book and build in sections that will outline the following areas: bank
account information, policies for - making deposits, issuing checks,
acceptable and non-acceptable expenses, making check reimbursement requests,
petty cash and handling of money. It is also advised that you include
sections that provide guidance on areas such as how much cash and what
denominations should be used for starting concessions, raffles and tables
8. Keeping in contact with friends, alumni and business supporters
Communication is a key component to helping build successful teams and
programs. A coaching staff that cannot communicate will lose the game
even with the best players. The same applies to a booster club who has
not established a multiple level of communication techniques for keeping
their events, activities and opportunities in front of parents, administrators,
alumni and the community.
Tip: Develop a monthly newsletter and send
it to current and past supporters. Provide ample opportunities to continually
gather new and updated contact information. Including an online link
from your club website where supporters can update their contact information.
9. Overstepping boundaries
Booster clubs are passionate supporters of the activity they endorse
which means they can sometimes overstep their positions. Conducting
meetings with school administrators and coaches to help gain a clear
understanding as to what is and is not acceptable will help to reduce
and prevent unneeded conflict and challenges between the booster club,
the schools administrators and coaches.
Tip: Start the season or the school year
with a three step planning process. Step 1: meet with your club officers
and outline the plan of action for the coming year. Step 2: meet with
your coach and his staff to determine their special needs and areas
of concern. Share your clubs plans and goals and then match them to
be supportive of the coach and the staff. Step 3: meet with your schools
administration and gain their support of your plans as well as positioning
your group to become an active part of the events during the school
year. Establishing clear objectives with all parties will help dramatically
10. Understanding the booster clubs job
Establishing a clear and detailed outline of what the booster club does
will help to minimize any potential conflicts with ASB, DECA and the
other organizations at the school.
Tip: A simple rule of thumb for club activities
is to remember that we are all here to support the kids. Daytime, at
school activities that provide kids with the opportunity to expand and
enhance their learning skills should be left to the ASB and DECA groups.
After school events such as football concessions and raffles are better
suited for booster clubs and their supporters.
11. Keeping the club compliant with state and federal guidelines
It’s estimated that each year approximately 65% of clubs who have registered
with their state let their registration lapse and become invalid simply
because they weren't aware that they needed to submit annual renewal
fees and updated information. Just like any organization that is formed
to conduct business, insuring that your club is properly registered
and compliant with both state and federal guidelines is a must.
Tip: Make sure your club has developed
a corporate book where your articles, by-laws, state and federal registration
forms as well as minutes are all kept. Establish a location at the school
where this information can be safely kept and accessed by your club.
12. Staying in-tune with district policies
Because of the continual change in club officers it is very common to
find a booster club conducting its business without any understanding
of the school districts policies or requirements.
Tip: Before the start of school or the
season schedule a meeting with your principal or activities director
to discuss school district policies that effect your activities.
13. Establishing a working relationship with school administrators
Booster clubs must take time to sit with the school’s administrators
and coaches to establish a plan of action. Communicating with administrators
is a key component to a healthy club and will greatly reduce the traditional
barriers that have formed over the years.
Tip: Communication – clear and precise
communication is a key to building any successful relationship with
coaches and administrators. Remember we are there to support the needs
of extra-curricular activities and all who participate in them.
14. Lack of policies and procedures
Understanding how to handle a given issue as well as the standard operating
procedure for a given task is an area that most booster clubs neglect,
which is the cause a great deal of confusion.
Tip: How you handle major issues should
be outlined in your by-laws. Minor issues should be discussed regularly
between club officers and a format for reaching a clear understanding
must be achieved and then recorded for future reference.
15. Outlining job descriptions and areas of responsibility
Booster clubs must have a clear understanding of the responsibilities
and job descriptions for each position including sub-committee or co-chair
positions. A clear definition will increase the likelihood of a new
volunteer stepping into the position come elections as well as helping
to better organize the group throughout the year.
Tip: Put duties and responsibilities of
each club position on the back of nomination forms as well as publishing
for distribution at your first meeting of the start of each school year
The National Booster Club Training Council
“Providing Booster Club – Guidance – Education – Training & Support”