Considering starting a new booster club in Rhode Island? It can seem a little overwhelming at first. To help, we here at Booostr have put together a valuable guide to assist you along the way. To ensure that your new Rhode Island booster club maintains good legal standing, it is important to review all of the links and legal references provided below. These sites will provide you with the most accurate and reliable information guiding your through the step by step process of establishing your Rhode Island booster club.
Choosing a name for your booster club is not only the first step, but also one of the most important steps in creating your new Rhode Island booster club. To avoid using another club’s name, we suggest that you compile a list of roughly 10-15 options for your club. You name should communicate who your Rhode Island booster club is and what it does. Once you have a list, check your name options against the Rhode Island Secretary of State corporate search engine, that has the names of organizations (including booster clubs) registered in the state of Rhode Island. Once you have a name you like that hasn’t already been taken by another group, you should reserve that name right away. Reserving your name prevents other groups from taking that name while you are still gathering all of your legal documentation.
A mission statement should communicate your clubs’ intentions so that any supporter, volunteer or student should clearly be able to understand the basic reasons the club exists. The mission statement for your Rhode Island booster club is a great opportunity to partner with and/or use as a reference your affiliated school’s mission. Make sure that your statement defines who the organization is, why it exists, and who benefits from the existence of the organization, to ensure your mission statement is clear.
Your Rhode Island booster club bylaws contain the rules and procedures your booster club organization will follow. While your bylaws do not need to be filed with the state of Rhode Island, they are important as they are your internal organizational operating manual. Furthermore, before you file your articles of incorporation, you’ll need to have bylaws that ensure your club is operating correctly under Rhode Island law.
Now that it’s time to select your board members it is important to choose dedicated individuals that ideally have some management experience. It is important to note when choosing board members, states differ in the number of directors they require on the club’s board of directors. We suggest keeping the board fairly small, typically 3 members. With a small board of directors it is much easier to make decisions quickly to keep everything moving along smoothly. Once you have established the board of directors, they will then vote to determine who will be the club officers in the first club meeting.
It is important to select a group of Rhode Island booster club officers that are good communicators and have some managerial experience. Your club officers are in charge of overseeing the day to day departmental activities of the booster club. Because of this responsibility, your club officers need to be selected based on who will take care of the booster club and assure that everything is managed professionally. We suggest booster club officers be appointed based on 3 criteria: their expertise, interaction with parents and kids and their focus on the development and growth of the club. Choosing a good group of leaders for your club is the best way to ensure the long-term success of your club.
You made it to your first official club meeting! Your first task is to approve your club’s bylaws, aka the rules and procedures of your organization. After the bylaws have been approved, the group needs to determine the which accounting period and tax year would be best for the club. Your club’s fiscal year should coincide with the club’s activity season and if possible, the school’s fiscal year. Next on the list is nominating your Rhode Island booster club officers for board approval. Finally, the last item to make sure you cover is approving the opening of the booster club business bank account and approve any initial transactions.
The next important step in the Rhode Island booster club creation process is filing for an Employer Identification Number (EIN) from the IRS. Note, be sure you have completed all of your state level paperwork before moving on to this step as you will need to reference it. All of the information and forms for filing for an EIN can be found on the IRS website. An EIN is critical in order to open a bank account, and conduct certain types of business transactions.
Once your Rhode Island booster club has an EIN, you will want to apply for nonprofit status. To become a nonprofit organization your company will have to fill out some additional paperwork through the IRS. Again, on the IRS website you can access all of the required information and forms to become a federally recognized non-profit. You may want to bookmark this section of the IRS website as it also provides tax information for nonprofits, which will be helpful when you make your booster club a tax exempt organization.
While becoming a tax-exempt organization is not mandatory, we highly suggest it. First and foremost being tax exempt is a great way for both your Rhode Island booster club and its supporters to save money. Simply put, tax-exemption allows your club to be excluded from most sales tax, and any donations or purchase made through a tax-exempt organization are considered a tax write off! Beginning this process is easy as all of the information and forms are available on the IRS website (again). The basic step-by-step process listed on the site is as follows:
The last step in your Rhode Island booster club creation process is establishing a business bank account. This is the final key piece in your club operations as it makes handling any money coming in and going out much more organized. Beyond tracking day to day finances, a separate booster club bank account helps mitigate theft, lessens opportunities for mismanagement, maintains donor support and opens the opportunity to hold online fundraising activities. Lastly, your separate Rhode Island booster club bank account helps make any management transitions easier when they occur.
Way to go! You started a new Rhode Island booster club without missing a step! Now there are a few things to keep in mind as you move forward. First make sure you keep up with Rhode Island laws regarding booster club management. Second, make sure to remember your annual and/or quarterly fees and dues that need to be paid to maintain your Rhode Island booster club’s good legal standing. As your club grows, be sure to check back with Booostr for any help managing, marketing or fundraising for your booster club you may need!