The start of a new school year arouses excitement and nervousness among students and school administrators about the prospects of what lie ahead. Booster club members know well this means new faces in the roles of club governance too. Here are a few ideas about what to consider when your booster club leadership transition occurs that will help you plan and promote for success.
Booster clubs, by their nature, are agents of change. Each year new students matriculate into the various programs and activities your club supports. And as the older students depart, with them goes the parental support and club members associated with those families. Understand this change is a process. One that can be navigated more confidently using a list of best practices to track the booster club’s progression in a clear, concise manner that’s easy to repeat.
Preparing to address each year’s cycle means looking at three aspects of the leadership’s transition – when these take place, who is involved and what their roles and responsibilities are. Each club may have additional steps to address and consider, but this will cover the basics so you can follow along and get an early start in planning for the booster club leadership transition.
When A Booster Club Leadership Transition Take Place
Typically, booster club leadership transitions occur at the first annual meeting for the booster club members each school year. An announcement noting the departing officers and the candidates running for those positions should be distributed a week or more before the inaugural meeting. This gives members sufficient time to consider the prospects before voting.
Other times when a governing member of the booster club board of directors or its executives may occur when one or more leaders have to leave unexpectedly. Sometimes an officer leaves when their child relocates to another school or an executive faces illness and is no longer able to serve.
Refer to the booster club bylaws to address when a member of the core leadership leaves or is removed and consider adding an addendum if no there’s no plan in place. Customarily, when an elected director or club officer departs unexpectedly, the board and executives must convene an emergency meeting with the club members to approve of and appoint a replacement.
Who is Involved in A Booster Club Leadership Transition
The goal each year is to pass on booster club leadership knowledge and retain the important connections made within the community. This saves time and resources for the incoming executives since they don’t have to reinvent the process. Each club is different and may have a larger talent pool to draw from or need additional officers and board members. At a minimum, a club’s board of directors should consist of 5 voting members. The booster club leadership should consist of a President, Vice-President, Secretary and Treasurer.
Many organizations follow the guidance of no one officer holding an elected position more than two consecutive terms and forbid an officer from holding the responsibility of treasurer and another position (such as vice-president). It’s a matter of accountability and avoids any perceived conflicts of interest.
Booster club membership, officers and board members generally come from the parents, guardians and past participants that are approved to join. Keep their enthusiasm high during the transition by focusing on all the upcoming events, activities and opportunities for supporting the school.
The principal of the school, its president and various department directors are considered non-voting honorary club members. Their wisdom and passion are key for rallying encouragement and providing assistance with student endeavors throughout the year. Additionally, certain faculty members will participate in an executive committee that works closely with the new officers as the booster club leadership transitions into coordinating events, reserving campus facilities and addressing other key matters.
Key Booster Club Leadership Concepts
Running a booster club is a big responsibility. Membership levels must continue to grow and adapt to the changes in scholastic program compliance rules, the yearly cycle of students and any other regulatory matters. Managing this takes dedicated leaders and a clear vision for success.
Two key concepts for booster leadership to incorporate, according to an article published by the global research and management consulting firm McKinsey & Company, are to first take stock of the situation, then to take action.
Take stock with a list of the strengths and attributes exemplified in the successful leaders of the past to use as a model for new executives to follow. It’s more than just finding enthusiastic people. A booster club leadership transition is about electing officers that possess the skills to be a good leader, along with building strong ties between the community and the students.
Take action so you don’t lose upper-level experience during a transition. Keep your dedicated former leaders as consultants for the new executives. They can be a sounding board for ideas and provide contacts and support networks to further club initiatives. To ensure continuity, title the retiring president as an executive consultant in the club bylaws so new appointees know the length of their role will include an additional period of service.
What to Expect During a Booster Club Leadership Transition
Presiding booster club management is obligated to maintain and safeguard all records, materials, and holdings (keys, books, club materials) until they are exchanged between the outgoing leaders and the new officers assuming those roles of responsibility.
Prepare materials for the booster club leadership transition as far in advance of the elections as possible. Work to ensure there’s a process for securing records and sensitive information during the transition. School administrators are a good resource for this, as they typically remain in place over several years. Safeguarding documents applies to board member transitions as well.
Roles and Responsibilities
The volunteer board of director members will formally review the club’s effectiveness in providing scholastic support, the leadership’s performance in meeting their responsibilities and approve the booster club’s annual budget. This is done under the booster club’s bylaws and with the approval of the board of directors and school administrators’ executive committee.
Booster club executives provide institutional knowledge from one generation to the next. The president and vice-president are the key figures needed to manage a booster club as they preside over meetings, plan activities, host fundraisers and resolve problems.
The secretary is the chief record-keeper, responsible for distributing meeting minutes, upholding the bylaws and circulating the club newsletter. All money handling, tax filing, and financial reporting are the duties of the club treasurer.
An information officer or other designated member will ensure the annual reports are available on the club website. Include the club mission statement, roster of officers and members of the board of directors along with prior-years achievements and financial performance statements. This ensures transparency with the public and provides incoming leadership with a clear example of how to continue and progress the club’s objectives each time the booster club leadership transitions.
Using The Past to Model The Future
A Booster club leadership transition is an opportune time to evaluate the things that made the club work well before and use that knowledge to plan for the future. One way is to create and maintain accurate records that survive beyond a four-year leadership cycle.
Club secretaries and treasurers should look to past events, documents, records and tax filings and pattern new records with the same level of detail. Having accurate records saves time and people-power in cataloging and researching the logistics used by booster leadership.
One method of ensuring continuity is to pattern the club after an umbrella booster or multi-age booster club. This lets you harness resources and share responsibilities to support students of varying ages who are engaged in different events.
Booster club leadership transitions are a natural part of the organization’s life cycle. Keeping with the change takes a dedicated effort from the current officers and directors to consistently lay out the means for the next generation to incorporate. The clock resets with each annual meeting as new talent fills the roles of leadership for both the booster club and its governing board.
Once in place, the bylaws and mission statement should guide the booster leadership in their support for students and scholastic programs. Take stock of the processes used and the talents of elected officials, then take action to emulate them and progress forward. Keeping key leaders in a consulting role and maintaining accurate records can remove the unknowns for the incoming leadership, giving them a clear vision of how to proceed.
A final thing to consider is when a club leader has been ousted or an entire leadership team transitions. It important to have security measures in place and at least some idea of a process to follow when an officer acts inappropriately, commits fraud or leaves suddenly. Beyond appointing replacements, be sure that access to sensitive information, bank accounts, financial records, and club monies are controlled by a trustworthy individual and that large financial deposits or withdrawals are handled in tandem. Lost funds can be replaced, but the embarrassment and negative press could leave a mark on the club for years to come.