What is a Booster Club? This is a question that arises quite often, and simply put – a booster club is an organization formed to support a number of different groups or activities. From athletic programs and sports teams, to science leagues, to music and band programs to drama departments, to art programs- really the list goes on and on! Booster clubs stand as one of the most effective not for profit organization structures to raise funds for specific smaller organizations or activities. With the flexibility to be used for a variety of different programs, booster clubs have continued to grow in popularity mainly throughout the education system.
How To Create A Booster Club For Your Community
In many instances your child’s school or activity may already have the support of a booster club, which you can easily join and support in different ways. But what happens if your child’s activity is lacking support and does not have a booster club? What if an activity is poorly represented by a larger broader focused booster club? How can you, the parent start a booster club?
Creating a booster club is not a difficult process but does require the same steps needed to form any tax-exempt non-profit organization. Besides referencing your Secretary of State website and the IRS, here are the basic steps you should take to start a new non-profit booster club.
- Identify a need for your booster club. Who does it support? What is the club’s mission?
- Choose a Name for your booster club, but keep it simple and related to your school or activity. For example: “School Name” + “Activity” + “Booster Club”.
- Define Your Booster Club’s Mission
- Formalize Roles and Recruit Volunteers
- Enlist and Elect a Board of Directors based on the skills they bring to the table
- Create needed documents and file them with your state to form a nonprofit organization
- Draft your organization bylaws (organizational governing rules) and hold your first organizational meeting.
- Apply to the IRS for an EIN (Employer Identification Number)
- Apply to the IRS for your 501c3 tax-exempt to legally be able to raise funds for the organization and your projects.
- Open an booster club business bank account
While these steps may seem like more work than you initially thought, in the end they are necessary if your supporters want to donate to the cause! This is especially true when referencing IRS 501(c)3 tax exemption, which is key to being able to raise the money you need legally without getting hit with a large tax bill. To help clear up some of your potential confusion, we have outlined each step in the process in more depth to start your booster club below.
Step 1: Identify A Need For Your Booster Club
Before setting any details in stone, it’s important to know if your specific program is in need of a booster club. You’ll want to make sure that the creation of a booster club will be rewarded with heavy participation and passion of the community. This means that without communal interest the booster club won’t have a system to support itself. Without this, there would be little to no reason to create a club for your program in the first place. So, investigate the weak spots by asking yourself some questions. What programs are in need of funding? How could the booster club conduct the fundraising? Where within the program would the money be spent?
Also, keep in mind that some schools have a single booster organization that funds for all arts and/or athletic activities, thus weeding out the necessity to create smaller, more individualized clubs. However, separate organizations for each art and athletic activity promises the possibility of larger gifts from participates.
Step 2: Choose A Name For Your Booster Club
Choosing a logical and perhaps creative name for your booster club will help to identify both where the club is coming from and what its purpose is. Like most name and titles, you’ll want it to represent and connect to your program. Try placing the name of your town or school in the booster’s title along with the program or activity title that it is supporting. It might be a good idea to come up with a few alternative names, too, just in case another club in your area or state has already taken your first choice.
Step 3: Define Your Mission
An effective mission statement is a driving force that engages and enlists supporters in the booster club cause. It should describe the general purpose of the booster club in a clear and comprehensive manner. This will keep the club on a straight path toward goals developed to positively impact the booster club.
Step 4: Formalize Roles and Recruit Volunteers
Before enlisting any booster club volunteers, develop an inclusive list of the different roles that will need to be filled once your club is up and running. This will let potential volunteers know what can be expected of them should they decide to participate.
When recruiting booster club for volunteers, start by reaching out to those who have already invested their time and/or money or have a specialized interest in your particular program. Seek support from parents and students from the department but also teachers, family and friends, and alumni. Share with them your mission statement and what you hope your booster club will accomplish over time. Utilize online methods to gain volunteers as well by sending out emails, crowdfunding, and posting on popular social media platforms.
Step 5: Enlist and Elect Your Booster Club Board of Directors
In order to maintain a booster club, you’ll want to make sure that there are individuals in charge with the capabilities to make it thrive. Consider electing a board, consisting of a President, Vice President, Secretary, Treasurer, etc., who have the requisite leadership and other such required skills to handle the positions they have been granted. While a full board may not be needed for your club, electing just a President and Vice President at a minimum can ensure that your organization runs smoothly.
Step 6: Create and File State Documents For Your Booster Club
Keep tabs on all documentation that you fill out as you set up your booster club. This means that all EIN certificates, legal documents, bank account documents, paperwork, budgeting information, etc. should be saved even after the booster club creating process has been completed. All successes and failures that come hand in hand with a booster organization have to be catalogued for evaluation and revisions.
Step 7: Draft Your Booster Club Organizational Bylaws.
Organizational bylaws are your club’s internal rules of governance. They explain how the organization plans to run on a day-to-day basis. It details what the roles and responsibilities are of the board, its officers and committee heads as well as the rules of how the organization will operate. There are plenty of free examples of organization bylaws online to help you get started. And don’t worry if you forget to add something into your bylaws, they can always be amended.
Step 8: Apply For an EIN For Your Booster Club
You’ll need to have an EIN (Employer Identification Number) from the IRS in order to function legally as a booster club organization. An EIN is like a social security number for companies and allows your organization to conduct business as its own entity. Gaining an EIN is essential for your booster club’s success long term.
Step 9: Register Your Booster Club As A Tax-Exempt Non-Profit
Registering your booster club underneath section 501(c)(3) of the IRS will allow your organization to be a tax-exempt non-profit. This step requires some extra paperwork at both the federal (IRS) and state levels and in some cases may require certain language be included in your booster club bylaws. Keep in mind that to stay tax-exempt, make sure to avoid cooperative fundraising and private facility inurement.
Step 10: Open a Booster Club Business Bank Account
Opening a business bank account for your booster club is a critical step that helps to ensure better accounting practices and solidify the club as a stand alone organization. Select a reputable local bank or local branch of a large nationwide bank to open your booster club account. By all means never ever use the personal accounts of any volunteers. This will inevitably cause confusion down the road when trying to separate personal and club finances. The bank you choose should be conveniently located, easily accessible, and can be a simple and basic checking account. Once your booster club bank account is set up, make sure to track all accounting with a system such as QuickBooks.
This guide is available so that you can begin outlining and solidify your own booster club for any number of different school programs. It takes a large amount of effort, time, and support to set up a booster club, but the results can positively impact the program at hand, the students, and the community.