Since California is such a densely populated state, it is important that the many booster clubs within California adhere by the rules and regulations set in place by the federal government and the state of California. The list of guidelines below may prove useful during the process of California booster club creation.
To found a booster club in California, gather a team of people that are able to help with the organization, likely comprised of individuals such as parents of students or other such people with a vested interest in the mission of the booster club. Choosing members to fill particular roles within the booster club is also a crucial part of this step. It’s important to have a team of officers and other volunteers to spread out the work of running the booster club. Consider having a different volunteer chair each event or activity so no one is asked to take on too much work.
After gathering a sufficient number of members talk with school administration to give them notice of the formation of your booster club and to learn useful tips for California booster club creation in that particular school district.
To create a booster club in California, it will be necessary to check the availability of your booster club name options within the state. Having a few name options is best, since the first name choice for the booster club may already be taken. Check name availability at the California Secretary of State website.
When you build a California booster club, you should also create a concise mission statement for the booster club right away. This statement communicates the overall purpose of the organization and should define who the organization is, why it exists, and who benefits from the work of the organization.
Incorporation provides liability protection for the officers, directors, and volunteers. It also provides additional credibility and a legal entity that may contract for services. The necessary paperwork for the Articles of Incorporation should be completed and filed with the state. California requires a fee to file the Articles of Incorporation, but this document is necessary to give the booster club legal recognition of the organization. Bylaws are necessary as they determine how the entity runs on a daily basis. The Bylaws also explain the responsibility of the entity’s board, officers and committee heads. Most states require corporations to file an annual report that lists your officers and directors. The schedule for forms and fees such as the Articles of Incorporation can be found on the California Secretary of State website.
Booster clubs should have their own EIN (employer identification number). This number is issued by the Internal Revenue Service and identifies your organization with the IRS. The EIN will be necessary in the future for required forms and other procedures, so it is best to apply for the EIN in the beginning of the California booster club creation process. As an independent legal entity, your booster club should have its own EIN and not use the schools.
It is beneficial for nonprofit corporations such as booster clubs to become tax exempt on both the federal and state level. To become federally tax exempt, booster clubs will want to file the 501(c)(3) form with the IRS. All groups that raise money must file the appropriate tax return. Booster clubs recognized as 501(c)(3) charitable organizations may file the IRS 990-series return and are exempt from paying tax on their income. A group that is not recognized as 501(c)(3) tax-exempt may be expected to file a corporate tax return. Tax-exempt (c)(3) charities may also receive tax-deductible donations and apply for private foundation and corporate grants. Tax-exempt 501(c)(3) groups must file an IRS 990-series return by the 15th day of the 5th month after the close of their fiscal year (e.g., May 15th if your fiscal year ends December 31; November 15th if your fiscal year ends June 30).
To become exempt from state taxes, a booster club will want to adhere by the requirements detailed on the California Secretary of State website for nonprofit organizations and file all required paperwork. The Hurwit & Associates website also provides useful information regarding the necessary paperwork for state tax exemption, in addition to information on other forms necessary to build a California booster club.
A booster club’s bylaws provide rules by which a booster club operates. Bylaws are important to create when you build a California booster club, as they will often be necessary for paperwork in addition to the functionality of the booster club. Bylaws usually dictate the duties of the officers and their election process, qualifications for membership, budget guidelines, the method by which funds are raised, and determine financial controls. It is strongly recommended that all organizations have regularly updated bylaws, for the purpose of making sure the booster club continues to run efficiently and to ensure that the booster club adapts to any changes in California state law regarding bylaws.
Keeping a clear budget in mind is necessary to create a booster club in California and to run the organization thereafter. A booster club should develop a budget for the year’s activities. Include in the budget each activity or source of income and the amount that you expect to raise from each. Also include each type of expense, and the estimated costs. At each booster club meeting you should track the budgeted income and estimated expenses against the actual income and expenses.
Having a bank account for a booster club comes with many benefits. Booster club bank accounts make managing finances easier and allowing the booster club to receive online donations that are deposited into the bank account. When you found a booster club in California, choose a reputable local bank or a federal bank with decent benefits for nonprofit corporations such as booster clubs.
It is important to adhere to the club bylaws regarding the management of finances when managing the booster club bank account. Proper financial controls should be in place so that all transactions are approved in the annual budget or by a subsequent vote to amend the budget. Individual(s) without signature authority on bank accounts should review all bank statements.
Refusal to provide financial and activity reports to the members often is a red flag for problems. Additionally, you may need to update the signature cards for the organization’s bank accounts on a regular basis. Review the EIN (federal employer identification number, a nine digit number in the form XX-XXXXXXX), which will be needed when using the booster club bank account.
Transparency among members and donors should be a priority both during the process of California booster club creation and after you found a booster club in California. Membership meetings should include a report on current activities and provide a budget-to-actual report showing income and expenses to date. Communication within the booster club will lead to trust among members and the improved efficiency of teamwork, ultimately leading to better results for the booster club and the school program(s) it supports.
While California is a big state with a lot of booster clubs with which you will have to compete, the hard work required to form and manage a booster club is worth the effort in the end. The endeavors of your booster club will provide much needed support to an organization or school program, support that otherwise may not have been received. If you are in the process of creating a new booster club – plan to add it to the Booostr Booster Club Index once it is up and running!