A booster club is an organization that is formed to support a wide variety of groups, from sports teams to drama departments to arts programs. Booster clubs are one of the most efficient and direct fund raising systems for non-profit, volunteer oriented organizations or initiatives. Due to their useful and easy set-up, booster clubs for athletics, music, drama departments, and more have seen continued growth and widespread implementation throughout the U.S. However, their popularity doesn’t take away from the hard work it takes to build and manage a booster club. Below, we’ve outlined some steps for setting up a booster club so that it runs smoothly and successfully!
IDENTIFY THE ORGANIZATION
Before a booster club is developed, one, crucial question has to be asked: Is there really a need for one? Booster clubs are non-profit organizations that depend heavily on the participation and passion of the community they reside in. That means if there is no communal interest in the focus of the booster club, the club itself won’t have a support system. So, the first step that should be taken when you want to set up a booster club is to insure your focus will draw a large amount of interest and participation, such as a school music department or sports team. Identifying the organization the booster club will be supporting also involves looking at the structure of the organization itself. This entails finding the weak points in the organization. What programs are struggling? Where would be the best place to spend the funds raised by the booster club? Those donating to the booster club will want to know this kind of information. Generally, people like to know where their money is going when it is being put towards any kind of charitable cause. To create a booster club means knowing the difference between want and need. Understand that the money you are raising should be targeted towards necessities! Be sure to think through and identify the needs in the organisation you’re supporting that people would be willing to pay for.
DRAW OUT A PLAN AND MISSION STATEMENT
Planning is a must. Plotting out a schedule for the booster club that details the sustainability and growth of the organization will not only keep the direction of the club organized, but it will give your volunteers an understanding of the club’s goals and timelines. Also, to create a booster club, drafting a mission statement can help the supporters and management outline their individual goals and objectives. This will help keep the club focused and productive. Not only is a mission statement a fundamental step for setting up a booster club, but if it is written effectively, a catchy and purposeful mission statement can help attract supporters or potential members.
BRING YOUR TEAM TOGETHER
Rarely is it sufficient to start a booster club with one member. The more the merrier! A larger volunteer group means more diverse perspectives to draw from and more minds to help bounce ideas around. Expanding the group means a more equal balance of work while continuing to follow these steps for setting up a booster club.
IDENTIFY INTELLECTUAL RESOURCES AROUND YOU
This goes beyond asking Google, “how do I set up a booster club?” Ask those around you who may have experience, such as parents, teachers, or colleagues. Identify people who have been successful in setting up booster clubs and request their advice. Also, as you continue to develop your booster club, keep those who help you in mind as potential members of the club itself.
CHOOSE A BOOSTER CLUB NAME
When setting up a Booster Club, the name of your booster club should, of course, make logical sense. One of the best routes to take would be to connect the name of the booster club to the organization or school it is supporting. Is the booster club focused on raising money for a high school’s drama department? Reference the name of the school or the school’s mascot in your club’s title.
IDENTIFY VOLUNTEERS AND REQUEST FOR SUPPORT
Target people already invested in the focus of your booster club. For instance, if we were to set up a booster club with the purpose of fundraising for a high school drama department, it would make sense to request participation and support from alumni, parents, teachers, and even students of said drama department. When discussing the objectives of the booster club with potential supporters, be sure to have a comprehensive, written out plan on the backburner that can be sent out later on as a formal proposal. After exhausting all of your real-life resources, it’s time to explore other opportunities for growth including social media, crowd funding, email and local businesses to support and promote the booster club.
IDENTIFY A NEED
People generally want to know where their money is going when it is being donated. To create a booster club means knowing the difference between want and need. Understand that the money you are raising should be targeted towards necessities! Be sure to think through and identify the needs in the organisation you’re supporting that people would be willing to pay for.
ENCOURAGE VOLUNTEERS TO BECOME INVESTED IN THE BOOSTER CLUB
It is necessary that participants in the club have to see themselves as a crucial part of the fundraising process. The creation of the booster club should feel personal to each member; each goal achieved by the club should feel like a victory to each individual, not just to the group as a whole. Sometimes, it’s best to lead by example. Others may be waiting to see your own commitment before joining you in support.
CONSIDER REGISTERING AS A TAX-EXEMPT NON-PROFIT
When creating a booster club, consider registering underneath section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code. Filing your booster club under this section will allow your organization to be a tax-exempt non-profit. However, to remain a tax-exempt non-profit, your booster club will have to be sure to avoid things such as private inurement, cooperative fundraising, and private facility inurement. Still, the benefits of being a tax-exempt organization are worth the effort of being careful in your practice.
APPLY FOR AN EIN (Employer Identification Number)
In order to function legally as a booster club in most states, it is necessary to have an EIN for the organization. To obtain an EIN, the booster club needs to go through the Internal Revenue Service, or the IRS. EIN’s allow outside companies to get involved and donate large sums without issue. This step for setting up a booster club is crucial to achieve success!
OPEN A BOOSTER CLUB BANK ACCOUNT
Get a bank account specifically for the booster club. This is where the EIN comes into play! In order to set up your booster club and establish an account, you have to be sure to first apply for an employer identification number and fill out the formal documentation provided by your bank of choice. While following these steps for setting up a booster club, make sure to avoid using the accounts of any volunteers, if only to avoid confusion while dealing with finances.
CHOOSE A BOOSTER CLUB ACCOUNTING SYSTEM
Create a system within the booster club where every dime spent is accounted for. This step for creating a booster club allows you to maintain a level of mutual trust and respect with your sponsors and volunteers. It also helps with the general efficiency of the project! Keeping track of finances can be approached in a number of ways, from keeping receipts to 3rd part audits and multiple bank signatories. Quickbooks and Quicken are a couple examples of programs that could help you keep track of finances within your booster club.
MAINTAIN ALL DOCUMENTATION
This may seem like a given, but it’s important to emphasize. Keep track of all important documentation while setting up a booster club. This includes legal documents, EIN certificates, meeting minutes, bank account documents, paperwork, budgeting information, and financial transactions. Be sure to document the booster clubs progress. Every plan, budget, and expenditure should be written down and saved while following steps for setting up a booster club. Achievements and downfalls need to be catalogued in order for there to be a constant process of evaluation and revision while you continue to follow these steps for setting up a booster club.
MARKET YOUR BOOSTER CLUB
Once you have people’s attention, it’s extremely important to figure out how to keep it. Design a strategy that will keep more volunteers coming into your booster club. That way, the booster club can maintain a fresh supply of funds and participation. One of the best approaches when setting up your booster club is to advertise within your community. Plan functions during school functions and events! If your club is well known and trusted, it’ll be much easier to sustain. You can also strengthen your booster clubs image by being active on social media and other online platforms. Advertising online also allows your booster club to expand its reach.
Setting up a booster club requires the development of reasonable objectives and a firm purpose. Guidance from the organization the club is supporting, the community, and other experienced minds are priceless. Building a solid group of people who are as invested in the organization as you are is absolutely necessary in order to maintain enthusiasm and focus. Following each of these steps for setting up a booster club will help you outline and solidify the goals and objectives you wish to achieve with your organization. While it takes a large amount of effort, time, and support, to create a booster club, the outcome could lead to an invaluable resource for the cause you are supporting!