Booster clubs are an asset to schools and to the community, but they take dedication and hard work that sometimes seems to go unappreciated. Starting off with a solid plan helps members and volunteers stay focused on the betterment of the organization they are supporting. Taking care of legal and organizational details must take place before the booster club can succeed.
Setting Up the Booster Club
Booster clubs that want to enter into contracts for goods and services should incorporate. Clubs that are not incorporated could leave members and volunteers open to personal liability for the actions of the club. Most states provide incorporation forms on their websites. Those who are unsure how to complete the incorporation form may want to hire a paralegal or get help from an organization, such as Parent Booster USA, that assists in booster club activities. After incorporating, the booster club should draft its bylaws and have them reviewed by an attorney. States have different rules for bylaws. Finally, apply to the IRS for tax-exempt status.
Managing the Money
Sports and other organizations rely on funds from booster clubs to make their education as rewarding as possible, therefore managing the money is a very important aspect of the booster club. The first step is setting up financial policies to protect the organization, its donors and the people handling the money. The club is answerable to the IRS. It demands that all funds raised be used for the club's beneficiary, the organization for whom it was organized. The club is discouraged by the IRS from using individual fundraising accounts; if it does so, the account should be reviewed legally.
Choose officers--president, secretary, treasurer, etc.--as soon as possible. Decide what the priorities of the booster club are going to be, create a budget for the year's activities and decide what the club's earning goals are for each of the fundraising or other activities. The goal should include an itemized estimation of all the costs needed to carry out the activity. Events planned should have a sufficient number of committee members and a chairman that is dedicated to the single committee, which assures success in the project.
June Farquhar has been writing for newspapers and special publications in California since 1998. She's the recipient of a press club award for organizing and designing a 42-page "Red Ribbon Week" tabloid, which received recognition from the California State Assembly and the U.S. House of Representatives. Farquhar studied newspaper journalism at Bakersfield College.