In too many instances, booster clubs are formed for all the right reasons but then disappear after a few years. In many cases, they tend to go out of business per say, due to very similar reasons – poor or mismanagement. To help our booster club brethren avoid these pitfalls we have compiled the top 5 management mistakes of booster clubs. That being said, these five booster club management mistakes are only the more common reasons clubs might not survive, like running any business there are any number of pitfalls that can negatively impact an organizations ability to exist.
Without further ado, let’s dive in and discuss what we here at Booostr see as being the top 5 booster club management mistakes so you can hopefully avoid them!
Booster Club Management Mistakes 1: Lack of Online & Offline Promotion
Promotion is critical for any business, and nonprofit organizations such as booster clubs are no exception. If you are running a booster club, you MUST make sure that supporters of all types know your organization exists! No matter the budget or how established your booster club is, you can start promoting it in a number of different ways.
Utilize Social Media to Promote Your Booster Club
The easiest and most low cost promotion tool is creating various social media accounts for your booster club. If you don’t already have them, we recommend creating accounts on: Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter at the very least. You can also consider creating booster club profiles on Snapchat, Youtube, Pinterest and Linkedin. Really you want to create accounts where the bulk of your supporters will be so that you can use those profiles to engage with them. With your accounts created you can now invite friends, supporters, students and members of the community to join and follow your social media accounts. Just like that your booster club will have direct access to the people that matter the most!
Create A Website For Your Booster Club
Another low cost promotional tool is setting up a simple online website for your booster club. A website does not have to be expensive, and really can be free! While it does take a bit of effort to get your site up and running, we highly recommend dedicating the time and resources to it. Once the site is live, it can be indexed by search engines for free and in turn will make it easier for supporters, donors and community members to connect with your booster club. Even a single page website with basic information like: purpose, information related to your school / school program the booster club is associated with, board members, management team, and contact information. You can always make it more comprehensive in the future, but the key is starting with the above.
Spread Booster Club Flyers and Posters Throughout Your Community
If you have a small budget to spend on marketing, and when we say small – we are talking about $100 or less, we recommend creating flyers and posters for events that the booster club will be holding. You can probably have a volunteer create the design, and then if you work with a local printer / print shop, they might even be willing to donate a small amount of printing in kind! Even if your booster club does not get free printing, the cost of producing a few hundred flyers and 50 or so posters should be well under $100! With your newly printed booster club promotional materials, you can now go around your local community (stores, restaurants, sports clubs etc.) and have them display the poster or flyers to help increase the visibility of your booster club!
As you can tell promotion is extremely important. Beyond that, promoting your booster club does not have to be expensive if you work with your community and volunteers. These are just a few ways you can market your booster club on a budget!
Booster Club Management Mistakes 2: Lack of Local Community Engagement
While there are a lot of administrative tasks around managing a booster club, it is important that you do not let them fully distract you from engaging with your local community. Your booster club (in most cases) is on a mission of goodwill to support students and their extracurricular activities. This mission is something that a portion your local community can and WILL support! It is up to you and your booster club volunteers to identify and interact with those people and businesses in the community that will step up to help!
It can be hard to put yourself out to the public to represent your booster club, but given the nonprofit nature of the organization – it is necessary. If this is something new to you and you are not completely comfortable with it we suggest you take the following steps:
- Talk to local friends and family first and explain what your booster club is doing and its needs. It helps to iron out your message talking to people you know. They can provide feedback, questions and who knows they might turn out to be a supporter or donor!
- Visit and talk to locations within your community that you frequent regularly. This might be the local grocery store, drug store or coffee shop. While you may not consider these people as “friends”, they are familiar with you as a regular customer and are willing to listen. Furthermore you can get more feedback, questions or potential booster club support!
- Now that you have talked to friends, family and acquaintances – you should be ready to try cold calling on a local business. Depending on the business you should either call first for an appointment, or if it is a retail business, just swing in and talk to the people working. Either way you will begin to engage more of the community with your booster club mission.
Booster Club Management Mistakes 3: Booster Club Fundraiser Fatigue
Booster clubs need to raise fund regularly to support its goals. However in many cases – this quest to keep raising money can lead to a booster club status of continually fundraising. People start thinking that all your booster club does is continually hit them up for money! This is what we like to call Fundraiser Fatigue.
The best way to avoid this mistake is to understand your booster club supporters and the community at large. While you may need to do a lot of fundraisers to meet your goals, to help give people a break, try targeting fundraisers toward separate groups of people within your community. For example, instead of doing car wash after car wash – do 1 car wash, then do a golf outing, then do a raffle at a local Italian restaurant, then do a Silent Auction etc. By planning out different types of fundraisers that pique the interest of different supporters and community members, you avoid continually promoting to the same people every fundraiser you launch! It’s a win-win, as your booster club meets its fundraising goals and you don’t alienate your supporters via Fundraiser Fatigue!
Booster Club Management Mistakes 4: Disenfranchising Your Booster Club Volunteers
Booster club members are a family with the common goal of supporting a specific activity. Because booster clubs are an all-volunteer organization, there is no real ranking. Yes there are officers and board members, but really those are just titles and their only differentiating factor is that they need to manage volunteers and oversee more paperwork. However, what we have seen happen in many instances, is a senior member of the booster club may neglect or downplay the efforts and collaboration of newly joined members.
It is incredibly important that all management, board members and volunteers of the booster club feel welcome, free to share ideas and regularly be praised for their efforts. While everyone wants to help the booster club make a positive impact and meet or exceed its mission, no one wants to give their time to a group that mistreats or abuses their support. The smallest pat on the back, or a thank you or cup of coffee can go a long way towards maintaining and/or increasing booster club volunteers’ engagement.
Booster Club Management Mistakes 5: Lack of Mission Statement & Vision
We cannot overstate that a booster club is a business! Yes it is an all-volunteer nonprofit organization, but it is a business and needs to be run like one. A common pitfall with many businesses is a lack of a mission statement and lack of vision by management. While these two concepts might seem trivial, the fact is that they both play a critical role in planning and employee or volunteer engagement! It is always amazing how many businesses and booster clubs lack one or both!
The good news is that this is an easy and inexpensive problem to correct once you have identified either as missing. To keep it simple, your booster club mission statement should be a very short and simple sentence or two (possibly three) that explains what the booster club does, what its purpose is. This should be written in a very clear and specific manner that is easy to understand by anyone that reads it.
“Booster Club is created to support the High School Football team through fundraising, volunteer support and event management to ensure that participating students are able to compete at the highest level.”
When it comes to vision, this gets a little trickier. With for profit businesses vision comes in the form of planning both long and short term. This does translate to booster clubs as well, though with most booster clubs, planning might not extend out past one year. That being said, it is important that the President of the booster club and the rest of the management team present a plan to the volunteers and board that not only is achievable but also pushes the club to grow in new ways.
We recommend booster management teams do an internal audit of their organization to see if these five, or any other issues present themselves as problematic. Shedding light on these top 5 management mistakes of booster clubs means your team can now actively address any issue and avoid potentially costly mistakes!