|The Top “15” Booster Club Mistakes|
1. Senior parents running the booster club
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
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 event.
3. Conducting consecutive and/or multiple fundraisers
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
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
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
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
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 selling goods.
8. Keeping in contact with friends, alumni and business supporters
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
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 reduce challenges.
10. Understanding the booster clubs job
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
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
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 and coaches
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
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
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 or season.
The Washington State Booster Club Association
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