Have you thought of starting a parent Booster Club but have more questions than answers? But what are Booster Clubs, exactly, and who can join? Moreover, how can a Booster add value to your child’s education?
Boosters are groups of volunteers—usually parents—who”boost” support for single school projects or multiple programs. That could be sports teams or school extracurriculars. Booster fundraising and support enhance programs to enrich the child’s school experience. These clubs are easy to set up when approached the right way.
This Booster guide walks you through the steps of starting a Booster Club from scratch. We explore the specific roles of parents and the kind of programs to support. We also look at some potential obstacles later and ways to avoid them.
But first, let’s see how a Booster differs from a PTA and PTO.
Did You Know: No one person owns a Booster, even if an individual starts it. Instead, the club is owned by the membership and overseen by its elected directors.
Booster Clubs, PTAs, and PTOs – What’s the Difference?
Parent-teacher Associations (PTA) and Parent Teacher Organizations (PTO) differ from Booster Clubs. They are all member-run support groups for schools, composed of parents, teachers, and staff. Each group gets involved with fundraising, brainstorming ideas, and volunteering for various tasks.
PTAs and PTOs aim to enhance the entire school experience, local communities, and school districts. However, a Booster is much less broad in its roles and functions.
Instead, Boosters raise funds and lend support to a specific school program(s). It’s why some schools have several Boosters, while there can only be one PTA or PTO  .
Types of Booster Clubs
Most people perceive Boosters as support for athletics, sports, and arts programs. While these are popular, there are many others, including:
- Competitive teams
- Cultural and language
- Music and theater
- Visual Arts
Parental contributions help make their child’s school a better place to learn.
The Steady Growth in Parental Participation
This chart shows a steady rise in parental participation in school-related activities .
- 92% attend a parent group or school meeting
- 83% attend a specific class or school event
- 60% of parents fundraise for their child’s school
- 47% volunteer or actively serve on school committees
How to Start a Booster Club in 9 Easy Steps
Parent support groups are helpful and necessary. Schools are always in need of extra money as funds shrink for so many projects. Thus, the Booster Club brings in a valuable source of additional funding along with positive parental interactions.
Below are the 9 steps for setting up a successful Booster Club.
#1 Outline Your Booster Club Plan
The first step to starting your group is to plan, and it begins with a brainstorming session. First, decide on a name for the club (you can change it later if you need to).
Think of ways the club will serve the program and help students. For example, write down ideas for Booster fundraisers. Creating direction gives volunteers a purpose and a better grasp of goals and timelines.
Get Dads involved: A 2019 review found that father involvement at schools results in more positive outcomes for the child’s math and reading skills.
Create a Meaningful Mission Statement
You can sum the Booster goals up with a mission statement. Think about the what, who, and why of your club. A catchy, clear message can be a powerful tool. It’s also an excellent way to attract members and supporters when adhering to three simple rules:
- Keep the message clear and concise
- Be optimistic and aim high, but keep realistic goals
- Make your message inspiring
- Ask others what they think of the mission statement, and be open to changing it.
#2 Recruit Your Initial Board of Directors
It sounds a bit formal, but that doesn’t mean it needs to be stuffy or void of fun. The board of directors or executive board are critical team players. In most cases, you’ll elect at least three board members: a President, a Treasurer, and a Secretary. These elected officials are in keeping with your bylaws (see Step #5).
The board of directors is the club’s decision-making body, including all financial matters. Seek advice from colleagues, parents, or teachers who have prior experience if you’re unsure. This table shows the typical duties of the three board members above.
|PRESIDENT DUTIES||TREASURER DUTIES||SECRETARY DUTIES|
|To be chairman of the Executive Board. Looks after the club’s welfare and presides at all meetings. The chairman also appoints committees and signs the written contracts.Consider a vice president to assist the president.||Responsible for receiving and accounting for all the club funds. The Booster Club Treasurer also pays bills and files tax forms. Additionally, treasurers typically prepare the financial reports for monthly held meetings.||Keeps accurate records of meeting minutes. Secretaries also deal with the club’s correspondence, including newsletters. The secretary is usually the person members contact to report or discuss concerns and issues.|
The next step is to recruit other willing volunteers.
#3 Recruit Your Volunteers
It’s a good idea to have a volunteer recruitment strategy before you ask for help.
- Decide on some recruitment guidelines
- Establish ways on where and how to recruit
- Identify potential volunteers
- Start to recruit
- Refine your volunteer recruitment strategy
Get Known and Be Seen
One way to attract volunteers is to keep a high profile in all the right places. Take your volunteer recruitment strategy to school events and activities. That could be parent-teacher nights, back-to-school nights, sporting occasions, school stage plays, etc.
Another approach to recruiting volunteers is to target those with a personal stake in the program. For instance, if you’re setting up an athletic Booster Club, it makes sense to seek an athletic director from the athletic department.
#4 Register as a Nonprofit(Tax-exempt) Corporation
A nonprofit corporation is the most conventional legal structure for the Booster. For this, you need to draft and file the correct documentation to qualify as a state nonprofit group. That typically includes files for the following:
- Name and address of the incorporator(s)
- The primary purpose of your organization
- Names of the initial directors
- Statement on membership (members or none)
See Section 501(c)(3) for federal tax exemption of nonprofit US organizations. Your tax-exempt status allows you to partake in fundraising programs. You can also receive tax-deductible donations, qualify for a state gambling license, and more.
Economic Impact: Nonprofits employ tens of millions of people in the US. They have payrolls that exceed most other US industries, including finance, transportation, and construction.
#5 Prepare Your Bylaws
You need to hold a meeting to approve the club’s bylaws. Think of these rules as the operating manual or road map for your organization. Once approved, you must enforce them.
Here are the types of things to include in the club’s bylaws:
- Agree on the name and primary purpose of your organization
- Define the executive board
- Membership responsibilities and privileges
- Officer elections and duties
- Financial controls
- Conflicts of interest
- Amendment procedures for the bylaws
- Indemnification(compensation for harm or loss)
#6 Apply for Your Employer Identification Number(EIN)
Your Booster Club’s federal employer or Tax Identification Number(EIN) is unique to your organization. It’s a legal requirement, and you cannot use the school’s EIN under any circumstances. This number identifies your organization to the IRS like a social security number(SSN) recognizes an individual.
You can apply for your Booster Club EIN onlinehere(No need to file a Form SS-4).
#7 Set Up Your Booster Club Bank Account
The primary aim of a Parent Booster Club is to raise funds for specific projects. Hence, it needs an official bank account, not a personal one. That means an account set up in the Booster Club’s name. This ensures the tax and any liability concerns fall on the club, not an individual.
So look for a bank with low fees and the perks of a regular account.
Most US banks need four things to open an account in the Booster Club’s name:
- Your Employer Identification Number(EIN)
- Two forms of ID & the SSN for each named person on the account
- Articles of Incorporation and or Bylaws document
- Minimum deposit
Some banks don’t require a minimum deposit, while others may ask for $25–$100.
Booster Banking Tip: Consider two signatures for your Booster Club banking. It’s better if the person who handles your finances is not the same person who signs the checks.
#8 Promote Your New Parent Booster Club
This penultimate step assumes you’ve set up and registered your official club. But it’s no time to rest on one’s laurels as you must keep the interest and momentum going. Ideally, you want a promotional strategy in place. It will help you retain your volunteers, generate fresh funds, and encourage participation.
Here are 6 proven ways to promote your Booster:
- Advertise within your local community
- Coincide fun functions during school events
- Be active on social media, e.g., set up a Facebook page
- Use paid online advertising to expand the club’s reach
- Email marketing campaigns
- Online crowdfunding
Come up with a few creative ideas of your own. Remember your mission statement, and always strive to keep the club fun and upbeat.
#9 Potential Difficulties of a Booster Club
Your fledgling Booster Club can run into problems if you don’t follow a clear plan. Typical obstacles and issues are the lack of organization, structure, or an external guiding body. Another potential risk is no or inadequate insurance.
AIM is a national insurance leader and the largest provider for Booster Clubs in the US. We make obtaining affordable, quality insurance cover easy for your sponsored events, covering risks you may not even be aware of.
Our comprehensive Booster Club insurange coverages includes:
|General Liability: Accident medical cover, including event protection against injury during setup and teardown.|
|Embezzlement Coverage: Booster funds protection in the event of loss, theft, or embezzlement.|
|Business Personal Property: Protects the club’s fundraising supplies, raffle prizes, and property like popcorn machines against damage, destruction, and theft.|
|Director & Officer Liability: Safeguards officers from legal action in the event of miscommunication, discrimination, or misrepresentation.|
Click here to learn more about AIM Booster coverage or to get a quote for your event