A booster club is an organizations and that means the way to get the best out of your group is to make sure to organize a booster club around a central point, your club’s mission. By focusing your intent and using the best practices and booster club guidelines you can find continual success.
Expert advice on how to run a booster club depends on several factors, such as the project it supports, the school, group leadership, and volunteer retention. The best, most organized clubs are adept at fundraising and open to new, creative fundraising ideas, and effectively turning those donations into support. But, most importantly, the members care deeply about the students they back.
These guidelines will help you measure the effectiveness of your club, keep on top of finances, and understand the do’s and don’ts of booster club fundraising. We will also look at how best to protect your group’s funds, property, and people against legal action.
We will look at how best to safeguard your group from potential internal and external harm. For example, property and fund protection against damage, destruction, theft, and embezzlement. Boosters also need event protection against legal action from injury liability.
And we also touch on the best way to legally defend directors and officers in cases of misrepresentation, misinformation, slander, etc.
6 Leadership Tips that Boost Your Booster Success
Because Booster clubs lack a central governing authority like PTAs, the organization and structure falls on your shoulders. Groups can can quickly devolve into chaos without proper resources, guidelines, structures, and effective leadership. These six tips will help with all the above, making administration and people management run smoothly.
It’s normal to feel apprehensive just before starting a new parent booster club, but it’s more straightforward than you might think. See, What Is a Booster Club and How Do I Start One for an in-depth breakdown that will guide you through the process.
#1 Keep Your Booster Organization Legal
A club unaware of its legal responsibilities can make mistakes that violate its lawful obligations. Accounting and administration responsibilities may be the least glamorous side of running a booster, but they are absolutely critical to staying organized and providing value for your students. For that reason, please make sure those who take on the responsibilities are good at it and enjoy the tasks.
Know State & Federal Laws
Whether you’re starting a booster club, or just stepping into a new role within it, getting familiar with State and Federal laws is vital. There are specific rules and regulations about what your parents and group can and cannot do on behalf of your school and students. The specific regulations and laws that affect you vary by state in the US, so research yours to keep the club legal.
The easiest way to become familiar with your state laws is to check the state’s Secretary of State website, e.g., Texas Secretary of State. And for federal regulations, you will find everything you need on the IRS website.
Gain Tax-Exempt Status
If you’re running a nonprofit organization, tax exemptions will be an important part of your club administration and donation schemes. The first step to streamlining your organization is by applying for tax-exempt 501(c)(3) status. It’s an unexciting but straightforward process and well worth your time. If you skip this step, you won’t gain a tax benefit from donor contributions and lose out on extra fundraising revenue.
#2 Create a Roadmap for Success with Booster Bylaws
The purpose of your booster bylaws is to regulate the actions of all members. Your bylaws create a roadmap for the club’s continual success when done right. These rules should outline the organization’s primary purpose and core mission, including membership policies, financial controls, executive board elections, etc.
Your bylaws formally specify the club’s rules for how it operates. That includes how often to hold meetings, voting procedures, and other clearly defined objectives. But it will only be effective if everyone is onboard and abides by these rules.
For more information, see our guide to reviewing and revising your parent-teacher group’s bylaws.
#3 Have a Powerful Mission Statement
Never overlook the power of a punchy mission statement for your booster club. It is a rallying point for your members and an easy way to tell if your group’s activities are serving its primary purpose or not.
The most successful mission statements are concise, direct, and specific. It should tell the audience WHO your organization supports, WHAT it does, and HOW it achieves its objectives. Be mindful of the club’s purpose, values, and goals as you prepare your statement.
|Mission Statement Top Tips|
Don’t overthink and try to make your first attempt perfect; just get some words down on paper. Aim to sum up the club’s mission in 1–3 sentences and under 100 words. Then, share it with the group, and don’t be afraid to adjust it until your member vote approves.
#4 Insure Your Booster Club
There are several good reasons to consider insurance plans. For example, there may be occasions when individuals mistakenly break rules that could lead to lawsuits. Insurance will also cover your club events, fundraisers, and insure your funds against theft.
Here are some examples of how insurance for your club through a verified partner like AIM can be helpful.
Event Protection (General Liability Insurance)
General liability coverage protects your club from lawsuits if someone is injured at one of your events and holds your group liable for their injury.
Property Protection (Inland Marine Insurance)
Property insurance protects a wide range of booster club property while in your possession. That typically includes fundraising supplies, auction items, raffle merchandise, etc. It also protects the club’s personal property, e.g., popcorn machines and other moveable equipment.
Embezzlement Protection (Bond Coverage Insurance)
Embezzlement insurance replaces embezzled or stolen funds. Sadly, it’s not uncommon for volunteers, couriers, board members, treasures, etc., to run off with a club’s money.
Directors & Officers Liability
This type of booster club insurance coverage pays to defend you if someone decides to sue your organization’s officers for:
- Dissemination of false or misleading information
- Inappropriate actions
Protect Your Booster Events from Potential Liability
AIM supports US booster clubs with affordable, quality insurance coverage. We tailor plans to offer peace of mind to nonprofit organizers while ensuring most of your funds go to your school and students. Our annual events coverage to protect your fundraisers and other events start as low as $65 per year.
#4 Engage the Community
Successful Booster clubs are all about community involvement and support. The more people and diversity the group has, the stronger it grows. And the best way to find and utilize willing volunteers is through effective promotional strategies. Remember, no one will know your club exists until you make your presence known!
How to Get the Word Out
Increase the awareness of your group by actively and purposefully marketing it to other parents. The tips below are excellent ways to expose your organization to potential parent volunteers.
- Use the power of word of mouth to reach others
- Host parent socials or a volunteer fair at the start of the school year
- Advertise on your school’s marquee
- Sell spirit flags with your booster’s logo or mission statement
- Promote your school booster with authorized apparel & merchandise
- Dedicate a space in your newsletters and emails for volunteering
- Attract parents and non-parent volunteers via the club’s social media profiles
- Display updated flyers, posters, and other print resources
Be creative, come up with some new ideas, and make sure it’s easy to sign up.
Retaining Your Volunteers
Your club is more likely to thrive if it retains its parent and non-parent volunteer community. One bad experience or a lack of organization from the leadership is all it takes to lose valuable helpers. Always make new volunteers feel welcome and appreciated, and keep them fully updated on essential club matters.
Newsletters, email updates, and social media are excellent tools for keeping your volunteer pool in the loop. You can use the same tools to thank individuals or groups for their service publicly and to present awards. It’s much easier to retain volunteers when their commitments are recognized and valued.
#6 Succeed with Fundraising
Booster clubs that thrive know a thing or two about successful fundraising. The secret here is not to overdo these events by conducting one fundraiser after another. Running too many too close together can dramatically weaken your message and turn people off. Instead, carefully choose fundraisers that sync with your booster’s needs and goals.
For the best results, balance how often your fundraise with the amount you request people to donate. Often, a few large fundraisers can be as effective as many small fundraisers. Keep your fundraising specific and run it no longer than three weeks as a rule of thumb. This way has a better chance of increasing rewards while decreasing volunteer burnout.
Here are a few proven booster club fundraising ideas:
- Reach out to attract sponsorships
- Community Serve-a-thons
- Walkathons & fun runs
- Host a sponsored crowdfunding campaign
- Host exciting events or tournaments
- Fundraising auctions & raffles
- Sell logoed club merchandise at school/club events
|Choose Your Sellers Wisely|
Restrict the number of people selling your merchandise to trusted sources. The more people there are selling, the more money will pass through. That can lead to potential money management mistakes and an increased risk of funds embezzlement.
Successful Boosters are adept at avoiding such risky situations.
Sadly, embezzlement of booster club funds is not an uncommon problem. Estimates suggest more than $1 million goes missing from school fundraising groups every year. Therefore, it’s vital to implement financial controls to protect your club’s finances.
One easy-to-implement measure is to have someone other than the check signer approve the club’s payments. Another safeguard is to have two signatures on those checks. Having two people to count hard cash is also a wise precaution. Better still, go as cashless as possible and have your booster accept electronic payments to safeguard against embezzlement.
Protect Your Booster Events from Potential Liability
AIM insurance covers you against embezzlement when people are less than honest. Our embezzlement insurance protects your money from theft by those your organization trusts to handle your funds. We replace missing funds if anyone embezzles or takes off with the club’s money.
Summing Up Booster Club Do’s and Don’ts
This final section sums up your club’s best practices with dos and don’ts. This list can help you find potential missteps and issues when you feel things are not running as smoothly as they should.
- Don’t isolate your club
- Don’t neglect your club’s vision and mission
- Don’t run too many or consecutive fundraisers
- Don’t overstep boundaries
- Don’t violate tax exempt rules
POLICY & PROCEDURAL DO’S
- Do follow through with club policies & procedures
- Do periodically review and update your bylaws
- Do keep your club compliant with state & federal laws
- Do stay in line with district policies
TAX AND FINANCIAL DO’S
- Do gain tax-exempt 501(c)(3) status
- Do implement and follow through with financial controls
- Do protect your booster club’s property and funds with insurance
- Do establish working relationships with school administrators & coaches
- Do outline volunteer job descriptions and their areas of responsibility
- Do show appreciation for your volunteers
- Do update your volunteers with the latest club business
- Do continue to recruit new helpers
The success of your school booster club is all about having the proper structures in place. It’s not possible to predict the future with great accuracy, but a well-structured organization adapts quickly to change.
And it’s your written, updated bylaws that ensure your club remains on the straight and narrow. Success is dependent on all members upholding the club’s written policies and agreeing to its official bylaws.