A successful booster club runs like a well-oiled machine by sticking to its bylaws. Generally, booster club members change officers annually. But what is the best approach to ensure a smooth changeover and avoid a messy officer transition?
The term of office for most booster club officers is one year. That term begins with election results and ends at leadership elections the following school year. Ideally, voting occurs a few weeks before the end of the spring semester. Advanced planning throughout the year allows newly elected officers time to settle into their leadership roles before the start of the next school year.
No single booster club meeting guarantees successful officer transition. Only a well-thought-out plan can prepare your organization and its successors for the year ahead. This guide looks at five best practices to make sure that happens. The suggestions here support those just starting a Booster club as well as established organizations.
5 Officer Transition Tips for Successful Booster Clubs
Every organization has its unique procedures needed to prepare for each yearly cycle. But, despite that, all planning uses the same 3-step foundation to prepare:
- The dates and times transitions take place
- Prepare club members directly involved in the transition process
- Recognize the specific abilities, roles, and responsibilities of the above
Your bylaws should stipulate the details for when officers are due to leave. You may need to add these if your organization is still finding its way and is scant on specifics.
|Booster Club Bylaws (Formal Instruction Book)|
Every booster club has a book of formal instructions known as the bylaws. These often change as the organization grows and governs itself. All bylaws include the name, location, and founding date.
Under that are the precise terms of the agreement, standard meeting procedures, and election processes. The bylaws should also include the specific roles and responsibilities of active officers and a section for the organization’s amendment procedures.
#1 Ensure Your Bylaws are Up to Date
Never overlook this critical step. Nothing is more chaotic than last-minute preparations, which often end in disarray and undue stress. Instead, have the best practices in your bylaws ready to implement. Having formal procedures in position is especially helpful should one or more officers leave unexpectedly. It happens for various reasons, such as disputes, illness, and other grounds. Your bylaws exist to guide transitions in such situations.
Also, having replacements or potential candidates waiting in the wings is a massive help. Finally, your board of directors should be able to summon an emergency meeting.
#2 Members Involved in a Successful Booster Club Officer Transition
Officer transition should be an exciting time where everyone is on the same page. Members involved include parents, guardians, and sometimes past trusted participants. You might wish to consult non-voting honorary members as well. Non-voting members typically include the school principal, faculty advisor, and department directors. Knowing who should be involved and the part they play is critical for a smooth leadership transition. Again, the instructions should be in your bylaws.
Does Your Booster Need Professional Liability Insurance?
AIM’s Directors & Officers (D&O) Liability insurance protects your organization and its officers against claims of discrimination or misinformation. People can sue the club or its officers for misrepresentation and mismanagement. You can also be at risk of prosecution for disseminating false or misleading information or inappropriate actions.
Should you or an officer face such cases, AIM’s D&O coverage pays to defend you up to $1,000,000 with a $0 deductible.
Be Mindful of Who You Choose
There may be several volunteers willing to hold office. However, only consider active, well-known, and trustworthy members in good standing for these positions. And never place someone into office without the agreement of other members. For these reasons, having a talent pool of potential officers is a wise practice.
#3 Roles and Responsibilities of Officers
The roles and responsibilities of officers are in the bylaws. If your bylaws lack clarification, update office positions and duties as they relate to your organization.
Here’s a summary of necessary officer positions that make up the board members.
Booster Club President
Leads meetings and meets with the treasurer to discuss financial matters. The president holds meetings with admin departments on various activities. Presidents also attempt to resolve membership issues and carry out other duties outlined in the bylaws.
Not all organizations need a vice president, but it’s a valuable role for larger, more active clubs. This person steps in as acting president whenever the president is absent. They also perform various administrative tasks and follow all other duties outlined in the bylaws.
Responsible for the upkeep of all financial records, the treasurer prepares and oversees the booster’s budget. In addition, they manage all money coming in and out for booster club fundraising and other expenses. The role also includes depositing funds and issuing receipts for incoming money.
Treasurers must prepare and share budgetary reports and file taxes on time to avoid penalties. Additionally, the treasurer follows all other duties outlined in the bylaws.
The secretary takes the minutes of formal meetings and updates membership lists. They also maintain communication with the members via newsletters or other media. And they perform other duties as outlined by the bylaws.
#4 Choose New Officers with Care
Some people may volunteer for officer roles, while others may run for the position. In either case, it helps if all parties fully understand the task and the minimum time commitment needed. As always, formally written documents avoid unnecessary confusion in officer roles and responsibilities.
Officers Electoral Processes
The electoral process is straightforward and usually carried out with a simple majority vote. However, some organizations prefer the secret ballot approach. There should be no conflict, providing the approved voting plan is laid out in the bylaws.
Point to Note: Typically, no serving officer holds a leadership term for more than one year. However, clubs may extend this to two or more consecutive years if no one is willing or suitable to fill the officer roles in question.
#5 Lead-Up to Your Successful Booster Club Officer Transition
By now, you know how to prepare and what to expect ahead of your leadership election and officer transition. Step five assumes your incoming officers are ready to hit the ground running. These final measures make way for a smooth transition as you say farewell to outgoing officers and welcome in the new leadership.
Conduct an Annual Internal Financial Review
The annual financial review is vital. It ensures the right fiscal policies are in place prior to the transition and shows that the organization has adhered to those policies.
There’s a fair bit of preparation to do before writing the financial report:
- Gather all the financial documents together
- Carefully review all financial files and processes
- Review revenue and receipts for the past year
- Review disbursements
- Review the tax/information returns
- Review financial control systems
- Review current reporting systems
Write your report once you have all the data to hand.
Tip: Have two signatories or members not usually involved with financial transactions conduct the financial review.
Prepare to Transition Usernames & Passwords
Update old logins and pass them on to the incoming officers. Ensure the new leaders know where and how to access password-protected software, documents, and cloud storage systems.
Tip: If you have a lot of secure, password-protected files and other resources, consider a password manager, also called a password safe. These programs store all logins and other critical data in a centralized, secure location.
Schedule a Face-to-Face Meeting
This meeting is for the outgoing leaders and incoming officers. The purpose of this get-together is to focus on your transition strategy. It’s the place to answer any unanswered questions or resolve outstanding issues. Moreover, outgoing officers can share their experience and strengths and suggest areas where things could have been better.
Update Contact Information with Relevant Parties
Part of the smooth officer transition is to inform everyone and every department that needs to know of the changes. That typically includes club affiliates like AIM, the school’s administrators and advisors, the club’s bank, and anyone else who needs to know.
Remember! Don’t forget to update the signature cards for your bank account(s).
Pass on What You Know
The new officers should have most of what they require from the face-to-face meeting. However, use this final step to double-check the incoming leaders have all they need if you haven’t already done so. Think stocks of merchandise, ads, flyers, posters, a list of vendors, and any helpful notes associated with the above, etc.
Booster Club Liability Insurance – One Less Thing to Worry About
AIM’s liability insurance protects Booster Club fundraisers and events throughout the year. Our affordable tailored coverage gives your organization peace of mind and averts potential financial catastrophes. That includes protection against embezzlement, property, accidents, medical, and more. Let our professionals help determine your specific insurance needs before the start of the school year.