The more one learns about how booster clubs function and the rules and regulations by which booster clubs must abide, the clearer it becomes that it might be helpful to read up on some useful management tips for booster clubs. When running a booster club, the members of the organization must keep legal regulations, their relationship with the community and general day to day operations in mind.
The Functions of Booster Clubs
Booster clubs typically have two main functions. The first function is fundraising to raise money for the school program or sports team the booster club supports. After the fundraising step has been completed, booster clubs can then move on to the second function, which is putting the funds to use. If a booster club raises money for a school sports team, the booster club can use the money raised to purchase equipment for school teams, equipment the school is sometimes unable or unwilling to buy. However, as straight forward as this sounds, you must take care not to violate any laws or make damaging mistakes when you manage your booster club. Listed below are a few important tips for managing booster clubs.
Management Tip 1 for Booster Clubs: Legal and Tax Regulations for Booster Clubs
Booster clubs should be aware of federal and state laws regarding the operation of the booster club and the tax exemptions for which booster clubs are eligible.
One of the most important requirements for proper booster club management is to follow federal and state law, as being aware of all rules and regulations will help you avoid mistakes and violations when you manage your booster club. Links to paperwork and federal regulations for nonprofit organizations such as booster clubs can be found on the IRS website. Since state laws vary between states, it is advisable that booster club members research the laws of their individual states if they wish to run their organization legally. The best way to start going about this is to check the Secretary of State website for your particular state. The Secretary of State website typically provides guidelines for nonprofit organizations or links to relevant state government sites where you can find the necessary information. In the cases of states without a Secretary of State, such as Alaska, the Department of Commerce website or other related state government sites may be useful. Not following federal and state law can put individual players and programs at risk of losing eligibility, so it is important that booster clubs abide by federal and state law at all times.
To apply for federal tax exemption, filing the IRS 501(c)(3) form is typically the best option for booster clubs. There are two types of 501c3 filings with the IRS: 501c3 Corporation and 501c3 Association. The Association filing method is less expensive, easier to file, and easier to implement on a day-to-day basis. The 501c3 Corporation filing process costs about $750. However, the paperwork, though time-consuming, is not difficult to fill out. The 501c3 gets booster clubs out of paying income taxes, but not sales tax. To be exempt from sales tax, the club must also file for a sales tax exemption with the state comptroller. To learn more about requirements regarding tax exemption in a particular state, consult the Secretary of State website for that state. You can view state by state requirements for creating booster clubs on booostr.co here. Also, the Hurwit & Associates website also provides information regarding tax exemption filing requirements on a state by state basis, in addition to guidelines for other parts of the booster club creation process.
Management Tips for Booster Clubs 2: Insurance for Booster Clubs
Booster clubs should look into getting an insurance plan for the booster club. Sometimes, booster clubs might find themselves in trouble when unknowingly violating laws or when a single individual in the club, whose actions do not reflect on the club as a whole, intentionally violates laws. To prepare for possible situations such as these, it is important to protect the booster club and the officers of the club from liability. Insurance specific to booster clubs is available from many sources. There are even companies that specialize specifically in serving booster clubs. Policies that should be considered when setting an insurance plan for a booster club are Officer Protection and General Liability.
Management Tips for Booster Clubs 3: Community Support for Booster Clubs
Community support is integral to the success of booster clubs, andthey should employ various techniques to draw that community support. One of the most important duties of managing a booster club is garnering community support. These are some strategies that may be useful for booster clubs looking to reach out to the community:
- Marquee Messages – Collect a list of businesses in the community where a school is situated. Visit each of these businesses and ask if they would be willing to advertise their support for the school team on their marquee or within their place of business.
- Spirit Flags – Using spirt flags is one of the most effective support campaigns a booster club can conduct. First, the booster club management purchases a flag with a recognizable slogan and logo in support of their cause. The booster club then sells these flags to the local community. The flags are expected to be mounted around the sports stadium or training ground, school, and the hosting community. The presence of these flags throughout the community galvanizes community support. Furthermore, selling the flags at an affordable rate is a good way to generate money for the club.
- Shirts for Staff – The club should meet with local businesses in the community to discuss creating booster club staff shirts. Ideally, these shirts should incorporate school colors and have the school logo embroidered on them. The local business (or businesses) responsible for sponsoring the purchase and branding of the shirts should also have their logo somewhere on the sleeve. During certain events, members of booster clubs should remember to wear their shirts so that the club appears organized and reputable.
- Travel Uniforms – To be successful, a booster club needs to look the part. In addition to standard staff shirts, the club should purchase collared shirts and have them embroidered for the team to wear as travel uniforms. Dressing as a unified group will improve a booster club’s impression with those who may not be familiar with the club when they go out of town or to other schools.
- Action Shots – During intervals, it is advisable for booster club members to help pick action shots taken by local photographers. These pictures can then be hung in temporary frames at the entrance to the locker room or the notice board of the club’s secretariat.
Management Tips for Booster Clubs 4: Booster Club Fundraising
Another one of the tips for managing booster clubs is to employ effective methods when fundraising, but should take care not to violate any laws when doing so.
One effective method for fundraising is the use of sponsorships. Organizing sponsorships should be done by contacting local companies and asking if they would be willing to make unique brand or advertisement in support for the team. The most generous sponsors should get a full-page ad in the club’s program, the moderately generous sponsors should get a half page ad, and the smaller sponsors should be allotted a quarter page ad. In addition, the sponsors should have their business’s name displayed on the appropriate board. Other expressions of gratitude towards the sponsor, such as parking passes and season tickets, should also be considered.
Another effective method for fundraising is selling merchandise through a vending trailer. The club should make the significance and purpose of the money being raised clear to all potential customers. When choosing what merchandise to sell, the club should prioritize clothing and other items displaying club logo. The more the club logo is displayed throughout the community, the more likely it will be that the club will become better known and attract support. The number of people involved in the merchandise sales should be restricted, due to a large amount of money involved. This helps clubs avoid money management mistakes and embezzlement, both of which are unfortunately common problems in booster clubs. Avoiding potentially harmful situations is a key aspect of booster club management.
Management Tips for Booster Clubs 5: Skills and Advertisement Needed to Run a Booster Club
The last of the tips for managing booster clubs is to effectively use computer and business skills to run the booster club.
To effectively manage your booster club, you will need to employ individuals with good computer and business skills. A printer, preferably one who is easy to work with and willing to help, needs to be chosen early at the beginning of an academic year. The ad/sponsor sales also need to begin early when the businesses have a fresh advertising/donation budget. The club needs to organize parents and club members to get out and make arrangements for sponsorships and ads early. There should be a deadline for sales and another for ad copy submission. There are also many ways to produce a program. However, one thing that club members must always keep in mind is that a booster club a service for those they support, not an organization on a money-making venture.
Creating and adequately managing a booster club is no simple task. In addition to the hard work that is required, one must also pay special attention to laws and plan ahead effectively. If ever you find yourself stuck on how to proceed when creating or managing your booster club, you may find reviewing these management tips or other articles on the Booostr website helpful.