Thinking about starting a new Maryland Booster club? It may seem a little intimidating at first. Don’t worry, here at Booostr we have created a helpful quide to help you through this process. It is important to pay close attention to all of the links and legal references provided below, to be sure that you don’t encounter any legal hiccups down the road. The resources cited offer the most up to date and reliable information to assist you in creating your Maryland booster club.
What do you call a booster club without a name? We don’t know, that’s your job to decide! Choosing a name for your booster club is important, we suggest you start with a list of 10-15 different options for your club. It is important to choose a name that is both communicates what your club does and avoids using an already existing clubs name. Once you have your list, check the Maryland Secretary of State website to access a corporate search engine that has the names of organizations (including booster clubs) registered in the state of Maryland. Once you have decided on a name that is not already in use, you can then reserve that name. Reserving your name prevents other nonprofits or business from registering under your name while you are still gathering legal documentation.
The main focus of your Maryland 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 Maryland school’s mission. Any supporter, volunteer or student should clearly understand the basic reasons the club exists after reading this short succinct summary.
Your Maryland 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 Maryland 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 Maryland law.
When thinking about selecting board members, you need to consider a number of factors. We recommend you identify people that have a background in business, that have different business experiences than you do and that do not have a child involved in the activity. By choosing someone with unique business experiences they bring something different to the table. Selecting someone that does not have a child involved, means they are not leaving their position when their child leaves the school or activity. These core points will help ensure you have a stable long serving board to guide your booster club forward.
Understand as well, that different states differ in the number of directors they require on the club’s board of directors. We suggest keeping the board fairly small odd number (to break ties), typically 3 members. A small board expedites the decision-making process, which makes things a lot easier in these early stages. Once the board of directors is established, they will then vote to determine who will be the club officers.
Booster club officers are responsible for overseeing the everyday tasks of your club’s different departments. The board will want to elect officers that will run a tight ship and make sure everything is managed professionally. Officers should be chosen based on their expertise, interaction with parents and kids and their focus on the development and growth of the club. A strong group of leaders will ensure the success of your Maryland booster Club.
With your first meeting approaching, things should start running a little more smoothly. The first task of the meeting should be to approve the bylaws that state the rules and procedures of your organization. After 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. You will also need to nominate club officers 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.
Once you have completed all of the state level paperwork for establishing your new Maryland booster club, you will need to begin the process for obtaining an Employee Identification Number. You can apply for an EIN through the IRS. On the IRS website you will find all of the information and forms related to obtaining your EIN. You will need an EIN later on, in order to open a bank account. Be sure to keep your documents in order as you fill out the EIN application, these documents will be approved by the state of Maryland and copies will be needed by the IRS.
Becoming a non-profit will require jumping through a few more hoops with the IRS. Your best resource for accomplishing non-profit status is the IRS website, which has all of the information you will need. You will also find all of the required documentation to be recognized as a nonprofit on the state level. Should you decide to make your booster club a tax exempt organization, the IRS also provides tax information for nonprofits.
Although it’s not necessary, we highly suggest your club considers becoming tax-exempt. Becoming tax-exempt is a great way for not only your club to save money, but also its supporters. Tax-exemption means that your club is 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 for everyone involved! All of the information you need for filing for tax-exempt status can be found on the IRS website. The basic step-by-step process listed on the site is as follows:
The final step in the building of your club’s foundation is opening a club bank account. Having a bank account makes tracking money coming in and going out much easier. Having a bank account greatly reduces the risk of theft within the club, along with decreasing the potential for mismanagement of funds. Having a bank account reduces the risk of mismanaging club funds, maintaining the trust of donors and supporters. In addition to having a safe place to store club funds, having a bank account makes it possible to hold online fundraisers. Opening a bank account for your Maryland booster club allows you to more easily collect donations, manage finances and in the long run, it will be much easier for future management to take over.
You have just started your very own Maryland booster club! Way to go! Now that your club is ready to go, there are a few things to remember. It is important to keep up with current Maryland law, regarding booster club management. Don’t forget about yearly fees and dues that need to be paid to the state to maintain your Maryland booster club’s good legal standing. As you move forward with your club, keep checking back on Booostr for tips and trick on managing, marketing or fundraising for your booster club!