Considering starting a booster club in Illinois, but don’t know where to start? Look no further! Here at Booostr we have prepared a handy guide to help you through the process. Throughout this guide we have provided you will all of the information you will need below. Keep in mind this process involves some legal paperwork, be careful to pay close attention during those sections so it doesn’t come back to bite you late. The links below will provide you with the most reliable and up to date information possible. Let’s get started!


Your Illinois Booster Club Needs a Name

First things first, your club needs a name! Choosing a name for your club is a very important part of this process as it will be on all of the paperwork moving forward. We suggest starting with a list of 10-15 different options for the name of your club. It is important to pick a unique name for your booster club not only so that you aren’t choosing a name that is already being used by another organization, but also to ensure your audience understands who you are and what you do. After you have gathered your list of names, you can now use the corporate search engine that has the names of all of the organizations (including booster clubs) registered in the state of Illinois. Once you have found a name that isn’t already in use and that you’re happy with, you can then move on to creating your mission statement.


Create Your Illinois Booster Club’s Mission Statement

The main focus of your Illinois booster club mission statement is to define who the organization is, why it exists, and who benefits from the existence of the organization. The mission statement is a great opportunity to partner with and/or use as a reference your affiliated Illinois school’s mission. Any supporter, volunteer or student should clearly understand the basics reasons the club exists after reading this short succinct summary.


Prepare Your Illinois Booster Club Bylaws

Your Illinois booster club bylaws contain the rules and procedures your booster club corporation will follow. Your bylaws do not need to be filed with the state of Illinois but are important as they are your internal organizational operating manual. Before you file your articles of incorporation, you’ll need to have bylaws that insure your club is operating correctly under Illinois law.


Your Illinois Booster Club Needs to Appoint Board Members

Determining who the members of your board of directors will be is a significant moment in your club’s history. The individuals who become board members are responsible for the success of your club. When choosing your board members, it is important to note that states vary on the number of the board members they require. We suggest starting with 3, to keep the group small. With a small board it is generally easier for decisions to be make, making things run smoothly in these early stages. Once you have established the board of directors, they will then vote to determine who will be the club officers.


Nominate Club Officers for Your Illinois Booster Club

The club’s officers oversee a lot of the day to day aspects of the club, it is important to choose reliable individuals for these roles. It is also important to choose members who want to take care of the booster club and assure that everything is managed professionally. You want to make sure that your club officers are appointed based on their expertise, interaction with parents and kids and their focus on the development and growth of the club. Creating a strong group of leaders now will give your club the best chance for success.


Holding Your Illinois Booster Club’s First Meeting

Your Illinois booster club is holding its first meeting! This can seem like an overwhelming time, but this is where everything starts to fall into place. The first task of the meeting is to approve of your club’s bylaws. Once the bylaws have been approved, the group needs to determine the best 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. At this point club officers should be nominated for board approval. Finally, if your organization is ready, your board can approve the opening of the booster club business bank account and approve any initial transactions.


Employer Identification Number (EIN) Application

After completing all of the state level paperwork for establishing your new Illinois booster club, filing for an Employee Identification Number (EIN) with the Federal Government via the IRS is the next important step. An EIN is required to open a bank account, this is why we suggest you apply. All of the information and documentation related to applying for your EIN is in the IRS website. Make sure that you have all of your state documents in order as you fill out the EIN application as much of the information submitted and approved by the state of Illinois will be needed by the IRS.


Apply for Non-Profit Status for Your Illinois Booster Club

The next step in this process is for your Illinois booster club to apply for non-profit status. To get all of the information required for your club to be considered a non-profit organization, visit the IRS website. On the IRS website you will also find all the forms your will need to complete this portion of the process. The IRS also provides tax information for nonprofits, which will probably helpful if you decide to make your booster club a tax exempt organization.


Tax-Exempt Status for Your Illinois Booster Club (Optional)

Although tax-exemption is not necessary, we highly suggest it. With tax-exemption status your club and its members are excluded from most sales tax and any donations or purchased made through a tax-exempt organization can be written off on personal and business taxes. It’s a win win win for everyone involved! Once again all of the information and paperwork for this process is available on the IRS website. The basic step-by-step process listed on the site is as follows: Apply for EIN (Employee Identification Number), Complete and submit the IRS Form 1023, Once the IRS Form 1023 has been approved, you will be eligible for tax-exemption in Illinois.


Finally, Open Your Illinois Booster Club Business Bank Account

The last step in creating your Illinois booster club is to open a club bank account. With a bank account managing the club’s finances becomes much easier. Without a bank account it is easy to become quickly disorganized.  On top of disorganization, without a bank account it is much easier for potential theft within the club. Opening a bank account will decrease the potential for mismanagement of funds and maintain the trust of donors and supporters. With a bank account your club will now have the ability to hold online fundraisers. Your Illinois booster club bank account is critical to more easily collect donations, manage finances and in the long run, it will be much easier for future management to take over.

Great job! You started Illinois’s newest booster club! Now that your club is all set, there are just a few more things. It is important to keep up with current Illinois law, regarding booster club management. You also need to stay on top of yearly fees and dues that need to be paid to the state to maintain you Illinois booster club’s good legal standing. As your club continues to grow don’t forget to come back and visit! Booostr has many more helpful articles on managing, marketing or fundraising for your booster club!


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