Fundraising is a primary booster club focus, yet, despite its importance, it is not an easy feat to accomplish. The primary method to generate revenue is executing efforts such as bake sales, rummage sales, and car washes. These types of events are generally successful but also require plenty of time and resources to cast a wide reach. An equally successful strategy that is often overlooked, is to set your booster club to charge fees.
Most booster clubs are considered non-profit 501(c)(3) organizations, therefore qualify for a tax-exemption. In other words, booster club fundraising may implement fees or highly suggested donations to help cover the financial costs of the supported extracurriculars. Many already do, but normally they do so with systems in place for families or participants that may not be able to afford the fees.
Why Set Up Your Booster Club To Charge Fees?
To successfully generate positive booster club revenue, relationship building is necessary. The more people feel connected to a mission, the more likely they are to support it. If your organization has an effective booster club management, you are already stewarding this community with your active volunteers. Involved parents know the needs of the sponsored extracurricular and, when prompted, will often fund those gaps. Setting up your booster club to charge fees is a streamlined process to solicit parents, especially if defined as “membership” in the bylaws. Note, these “membership dues” are an expectation, but not a requirement for participation in a booster club nor should it exclude a child from participating in the program. Although fees are not mandatory, the booster club financials would become non-solvent without monetary backing.
What do booster club fees support?
When you set up a booster club to charge fees, it typically averages more or less between $100 – $500. The amount charged is dependent on the fund designation. Membership dues are used for various purposes. One of the most common is to support booster club costs for programming, transportation, and other supplies to keep the organization operating. Another is to subsidize practice equipment or registration fees for the team. Principally, booster club revenue from fees must be tied to specific items or programs to ensure the contribution is in the spirit of a gift. If there is no personal benefit, most donations are considered tax-deductible, but you will want to consult with the booster club management to confirm.
Setting Up A Booster Blub To Charge Fees
How booster clubs charge fees is up to the booster club management’s discretion and should be tailored to the individual organization. Below are a few of the common ways that assist booster club fundraising.
- A popular method is to charge an annual “membership fee,” where members pay a fixed sum and renew each year. As mentioned before, the amount usually covers a portion of booster club costs, and the other supports the sponsored extracurricular’s funding needs.
- Another strategy is to create a tiered membership where the booster club charges fees and the parents choose a giving range to donate in exchange for the title. From there, each tier will offer special benefits, like gold members receive social media publicity every Friday, or silver members get early entrance to a game. The services may also include tangible benefits like a hat or car decal. However, it is best practice to avoid big-ticket items as you risk the donation no longer being tax-deductible.
- In addition to the annual membership fee, many boosters encourage members to increase support throughout the year. This is done so by direct asks, seasonal campaigns, fundraising contests, and more. Anything to help booster club financials is greatly appreciated and encouraged.
Moreover, all of these internal methods involve less effort and time compared to an external fundraising event with a better outcome for booster club revenue.
How do booster clubs handle situations where someone cannot afford fees?
At its core, a booster club is typically classified as a non-profit organization and must operate as one. To maintain eligibility for this status, it is prohibited for booster clubs to require fees or implement a pay-to-play practice from members. All must be voluntary and, at most, highly encouraged.
Expectantly, there may be folks who want to join the booster club but do not have the means to afford given fees. It is up to the booster club management to determine alternatives to booster club charge fees while ensuring the student is still included within the organization. Below are some suggestions for how best to assist these families, while still benefiting the booster club.
- One option to accommodate a member is to reduce the annual membership to a pay what you can model. This will result in either a reduced amount all together or smaller monthly installments.
- Instead of booster club fees, parents can also volunteer their time and expertise to support booster club fundraising goals, such as holding an event or leading a masterclass for an exhibition. The total hours served would be determined either by the value of the annual membership or by adapting to the needs of the parent’s schedule.
- If provided options do not work for the member, the final alternative is to sponsor the student and omit the expected family contribution. This can be done through internal sponsorships, where fellow members can pay extra to subsidize others, or by adjusting the budget. All of which is to be addressed confidentially and discreetly with respect to the member’s privacy.
It is imperative that booster club management create an environment for members to comfortably share their capacity. Open and responsive communication is essential to ensure both the family and the organization feel supported.
Setting Up A Booster Club to Charge Fees In A Nutshell
Booster clubs are permitted to charge optional membership fees to assist with fundraising efforts. The key to meeting non-profit requirements is to ensure that funds are not only voluntary, but also linked to a particular purchase or program. Although optional, it is imperative that most members participate when qualified to ensure the booster club and the promoted extracurricular stay afloat. If members cannot afford to pay fees of any sort, the student is still welcomed to participate and may not be excluded from the organization. Booster club management needs to determine accommodations and alternatives.
After all, at the end of the day, a booster club is about serving students, which means ALL students.