We don’t know about you, but before we take any kind of trip, we always look at a map. It helps us get from one place to the next. It organizes our route, helping us see where we're going and what we’ll pass along the way. Having a road map is a critical piece of a successful trip. When you’re starting a booster club, you need a way to navigate from your initial ideas to the successful completion of your mission. There can be roadblocks, detours, and unexpected snags along the way. Your booster club bylaws will act as your road map, to help you see what’s ahead.
As nonprofit attorney and author Sandra Pfau Englund explains in her book, School Fundraising: So Much More Than Cookie Dough, your bylaws tell you how you’re going to operate – what your rules of the road will be to guide your organization. The rules outline who you are, what your mission is, who can be a member, how often you meet, how your executive board is elected, how you’re going to manage your finances, and so much more.
What to include in your booster club bylaws
The following list will help you understand what to include in your bylaws:
- Name and purpose of the organization
- Membership: includes qualifications for voting, rights and responsibilities, quorum (how many people constitute a meeting), and meeting schedule (once every two weeks, once a month, etc.)
- Executive board
- Officers and their elections; duties of those officers
- Financial controls
- Conflicts of interest
- Indemnification (i.e. compensation for harm or loss/security against legal liability)
- Amendments to the bylaws (should the bylaws be changed and their date of change)
But remember, it’s not enough to approve bylaws for your group, you also have to enforce them. One group had detailed financial controls in their bylaws. Yet, they lost over $14,000 to a trusted parent volunteer—one of the booster club officers. Although there were financial controls written into their bylaws, the group rarely enforced them. For example, requiring two people to count cash and reconcile bank statements was in their bylaws. However, it did not happen. One person would count cash by themselves, make the deposits, then reconcile the statements alone with no one else checking the account. This made it too easy to steal money, which unfortunately happened.
During this time, you may decide to hold elections virtually. Nominations and elections should be handled as described in your bylaws. If you need to change the language in your bylaws, you should first vote to amend them before the election process begins. In our FAQ about COVID-19, it says most state statutes provide that a virtual meeting, where everyone can hear each other and participate, may legally be considered equal to an in-person meeting. That's helpful with today's social distancing challenges! One more thing: you’ll need a way for members to submit their votes.
Summary and our new booster club bylaws generator
If you don’t use your road map, you can easily get lost. Similarly, having approved bylaws that you use and enforce is vital to properly operating your organization and setting your group up for success year after year.
Our new bylaws generator gives you the tools you will need to have the proper guidelines in place, whether it is your first time or you simply need an update!
The only organization of its kind in the US, Parent Booster USA is about helping school support organizations (parent teacher organizations, high school booster clubs and other school fundraising groups) handle the state and federal government paperwork required of fundraising groups.
Founded in 2004 by an attorney skilled in nonprofit and tax law, Parent Booster USA has more than 5,000 member organizations in 50 states and DC with a 95% annual renewal rate. We provide peace of mind for parent volunteers, school administrators and school district leadership.