Successful booster clubs don’t just happen. They require teamwork, attention to detail, and a committed volunteer pool. A well-organized club also has effective elected leadership. It follows best practices while building on its strengths and improving areas of weakness. So, where do you start if your booster club fundraising and operational procedures need improvement?
The key components of booster club best practices are transparency, accountability, and ethical responsibility. A great way to gauge the success of your club is through new members gained at functions and fundraisers. But retaining existing support is equally as important. There are also intangible areas to keep an eye on, such as, attendee feedback, relationships with local partners, and email list growth.
What makes a successful booster club is a dedicated pool of enthusiastic volunteers. Therefore, your organization is only as good as those who serve and support it. All successful booster clubs cultivate relationships with eager helpers, local businesses, and the school community. This piece looks at the common threads contributing to that success.
Successful Booster Clubs Define Goals
Every organization needs goals and clear-cut ways to achieve its ambitions. So what are your group’s current goals? Do you know precisely how to achieve them, meet deadlines, and gauge the results? And is everyone involved on the same page when it comes to working towards those aims? The best way to know is to meet up and see where you’re at as a group.
There are three booster club best practices for defining your group’s goals:
- Align your objectives with the club’s mission and vision
- Select no more than two or three active goals at any time
- Set SMART goals
Now let’s break these down so that they make sense.
#1 Align Goals with Your Club’s Mission/Vision
Your booster club fundraising ideas should be highly-targeted, strategic, and concise. No one will ever complain that something is too easy to grasp. And the more straightforward your goals are, the easier it is to get everyone onboard. A clear mission/vision statement is vital for helping volunteers and the leadership rally around the shared purpose. We’ll look more at reviewing your mission statement shortly.
|✔️ The club’s goals are aligned with our mission.|
#2 Select 1–3 Active Goals
The 4 Disciplines of Execution was a #1 bestselling book written to help individuals and teams become more effective. The book’s authors found teams were more likely to achieve goals when they narrowed their focus to a maximum of three goals at any time. Those who set themselves 4–10 goals would only complete 1–2. And those who set 11 or more rarely achieved any of them.
The point is, multitasking to achieve a laundry list of goals often creates an unrealistic expectation for success and the division of effort makes achieving even one goal significantly more difficult.
|✔️ We have selected no more than three active goals.|
#3 Be Smart by Setting SMART Goals
SMART is a familiar acronym used to help define goals, expectations, and keep work focused. When working on projects, consider using SMART criteria as a benchmark to prepare and track progress.
Specific: Clearly state your goal. Be specific, strategic, and significant.
Measurable: Decide on a measurement to gauge your goal’s success. For example, “raising $10,000 to modernize the school auditorium” is better than “raising money for the school auditorium.” This tactic helps track progress and makes it clear when you’ve achieved something or fallen short. It also results in a feeling of accomplishment once realized.
Achievable: Create sensible expectations. Do you have the necessary knowledge, support, and resources to reach your goal? Setting reasonable aims from the outset will help you and your team stay motivated and set the project up for a successful outcome.
Relevant: Ensure your project aligns with the club’s mission? Is it relevant to your group’s purpose and its long-term objectives?
Time-bound: Time limits define a specific start and end date for achieving your goal. These provide focus and motivation to prevent procrastination. And, having a marked out section of time will help you plan your work effectively.
|✔️ We used SMART criteria to define our club’s goals.|
AIM Covers More Booster Club Events than Other Insurance Carrier
Are your booster club events protected from potential liability? From as little as $65 per year, AIM’s event insurance covers your functions, attendees, and volunteers from setup to tear down. We’ve got your back at fundraisers, galas, fun runs, cookouts, and school carnivals.
Successful Booster Club Guidelines and Bylaws
Do your bylaws support the club’s mission statement and offer practical guidelines for achieving goals? Every successful booster club maintains its bylaws, specifying the rules of membership and operations. Especially as bylaws need updating if the frequency of your meetings or officer voting procedures need amendment. Also, check your current bylaws address the organization’s fiscal year and organizational structure.
Use the checklist below to review your club’s current bylaws and amend them if necessary:
- Organizes the group’s structure and defines officer roles
- Details the current procedure to elect new officers
- Contains the explicit rules of membership
- Explains how meetings are to be conducted and publicized
- Defines the club’s fiscal year
- Stipulates that no individual can hold multiple simultaneous offices
- Details how to dissolve of your booster club
Adhering to the best practices in your club’s bylaws avoids chaos and confusion. Successful booster clubs stick to their bylaws and run like a well-oiled machine. But remember, your rules must reflect the organization. You may need to amend and update your bylaws as your organization grows and adapts to changes.
|✔️ We have reviewed and updated our bylaws.|
Review the Club’s Mission Statement
Most parent booster clubs create initial mission statements when forming a new group, but nothing ever stays the same. Your organization today may look, feel, and function differently from its origin. Therefore, it’s important to review your mission statement every two or three years for clarity. You may even need to check it more often if the club undergoes rapid change. Ask yourself how aligned your purpose and overall intentions are today compared to your mission statement. If they don’t align, it’s time for an update.
It can be tempting to copy an existing mission statement but no two organizations are the same. Your mission statement should reflect precisely who it intends to help, how, and why. Avoid being vague, and ensure that everyone active in the club agrees with the message.
Successful Booster Clubs Craft a Mission Statement
The best mission statements are brief yet powerful messages that explain why your club exists. The reader should clearly understand your intent, primary goal, and why it’s important. Additionally, they should know about the services you provide to students. But, keep it brief. Ensure the reader learns everything about your club in a few sentences or short paragraphs.
Keep these three things in mind when reviewing or updating your mission statement:
- Make it confident and ambitious while maintaining realism
- Keep it coherent and to the point
- Ensure its message is motivational and indicative of your club
|✔️ We have reviewed and updated our mission statement.|
|Top Tip! Use a template if you need help updating your mission statement. And if you suffer writer’s block, a sample mission statement like this one by the Washington State Booster Club Association should help get your creative juices flowing.|
Organization Is Paramount
One way to help your booster club organize and thrive is to be mindful of your group’s legal responsibilities and lawful obligations. To be organized, you must take all accounting and administration responsibilities seriously. But not everyone is cut out for administrative, legal, and financial work. Make sure in your club’s voting process you put a priority on what candidates are experience and capable of performing such tasks. It also helps if they enjoy the tasks. But there’s more to organizational success than good bookkeeping.
Your organization needs an efficient filing system to prosper. It’s the only way to stay structured, systematic, and transparent between many different members and officers. Your filing system should hold all critical files, receipts, financial documentation, and other permanent records. Orderly filing also helps to make the transition easier for newly elected officers.
You should consider keeping physical and electronic copies of important files and financial records. Many successful booster clubs now store critical documents in the cloud. Virtual storage also gives easy, remote access to authorized officers at anytime and place to view and work on the files.
|✔️ Our club’s filing system is well-organized, systematic, and transparent.|
Successful organizations are always on the right side of the law concerning tax compliance. That means filing a tax return annually using the appropriate form even if you have tax-exempt 501(c)(3) status. 501(c)(3) status matters as it allows your club to accept tax-deductible contributions legally. However, not filing a tax return risks penalties. And the IRS will not accept ignorance as an excuse.
|✔️ Our organization is fully tax compliant.|
Plot Out Your Schedule
Successful booster clubs plot out an annual school year schedule. A schedule ensures everyone involved knows when things are happening and who’s responsible. Your schedule should include all the club’s future endeavors, including events, fundraisers, committees, etc.
Your annual scheduling should also include regular member meetings. The best way to schedule group meetings is to hold them at a reliable schedule of regular intervals whenever possible.
|✔️ We have plotted the schedule for the forthcoming school year.|
Effective Management, Efficient Club
Poorly organized clubs often have chaotic, disorganized management and struggle to raise funds. In contrast, a successful booster club carefully selects and clearly defines its leadership hierarchy. There should be no doubts or conflicts about who is in what role and their responsibilities. Productive organizations have at least three officers under the president.
A common successful leadership hierarchy looks like this:
Successful booster clubs transition leadership positions between suitable booster club members through regular officer elections. New officer elections often occur annually and many bylaws proclaim a person may hold an office no longer than two consecutive terms. Again, to avoid chaos and uncertainty, your club’s bylaws should outline leadership positions, the specific duties of each role, and the term of service.
Choose Your Officers Carefully
You may have several people offering themselves up for upcoming leadership vacancies. But a popular and willing volunteer doesn’t always translate to a capable officer. That’s why successful booster clubs take great care in who they nominate and elect for leadership positions.
Ideally, officer nominees have a clear vision for the organization and strategies to achieve the club’s goals through their position. They also know how to assess and address current situations, offering creative ideas and solutions for known issues. And successful leaders know how to inspire and motivate.
|✔️ Our club has capable leadership and effective administration.|
Protect Your Events, Officers, and Equipment
Successful booster clubs take their responsibilities very seriously. Those in charge do their utmost to ensure the safety and protection of people and physical assets and fundraisers. That includes the volunteers at your events and its attendees. Event planners also protect property and equipment, whether owned, rented, or loaned.
The most-organized clubs do all they can to reduce risks and take out insurance as a backup to cover potential liability from events, damage to club property, and potential lawsuits against its officers.
|✔️ Our organization is ethical, responsible, and protected against liability and loss.|
Property Insurance Specifically for Parent Booster Clubs
Is your club’s property protected against fire, theft, vandalism, loss, and damage? AIM’s affordable property insurance covers your fundraising merchandise and owned equipment. That includes your raffle stock, auction items, equipment, and fundraising supplies in your possession. Furthermore, our coverage offers protection whether your property is in use or securely stored.
Cherish Your Members & Volunteers
Volunteers are the lifeblood of a successful booster club. You are more likely to attract and retain them if they can see energetic commitment and compassion from club leadership.
Are you having trouble recruiting and retaining volunteers? If yes, the problem may be your approach. Consider revising and revamping your recruitment strategies. Successful booster clubs encourage community involvement and local support. And, because they champion their helpers, they do not fall victim to shrinking volunteer pools.
What’s in It for the Volunteer?
Parents and volunteers want to feel their contribution will make a real difference. That’s a message you want to get out at the recruitment stage. With a clarity of purpose in your group’s goals and vision, volunteers can see how their contribution will make a difference making it easy to attract and retain volunteers. Successful booster clubs know how to entice and hold onto their helpers through proactive strategies.
How to Recruit and Retain Your Club’s Volunteers?
The best place to start is by answering the following questions honestly:
- Is your mission clear to those outside the organization?
- How exciting and motivational is your call to action? What about perks?
- Is it clear how potential volunteers will benefit from their commitment?
- Do you accurately assign volunteer roles based on individual skill sets?
- Does your club have a welcoming environment and good onboarding?
- How well-defined are your volunteer opportunities?
- How do you recognize, engage, and reward key helpers?
- Are you too demanding of volunteers, especially when the numbers are down?
- Do you know why ex-helpers quit?
If you need help answering these questions, be open to a little constructive criticism. Send out a survey to past and present volunteers to get their feedback on the questions. This simple approach gives an insight into how volunteers view the club and the way it’s managed.
|✔️ Our organization has strong leadership and effective administration.|
Embezzlement Insurance for Booster Clubs
Why would your booster club need protection from its officers, volunteers, and members? The revolving cast of helpers often increases the potential for someone to embezzle your funds. AIM’s bond coverage protects your hard-earned funds from those you trust to handle booster club money, from couriers to presidents. In case of embezzlement, AIM’s coverage replaces your missing funds ensuring your students don’t go without.
Closing Comments on Booster Club Success
Successful booster clubs look past the concession stand and other individual fundraisers. They reach a wider perspective and plan for the entire school year and look for opportunities to think outside the box.
The best clubs have effective, people-focused leadership teams. Moreover, they know how to attract helpers and retain an enthusiastic volunteer pool. Their organization is well-structured, transparent, and disciplined in its operations. Such clubs become successful, and stay successful, by unifying forces within the school and the local community.