You may have been eager to get new booster clubs started when suddenly the band trip, spring musical, or sports season got cancelled. COVID-19 pulled the rug out from many schools and their parent volunteers. However, don’t let the delay get you down. Right now may be the best time to start your booster club.
Setting up booster clubs involves a lot of paperwork. Best practice suggests first incorporating your organization in your state, registering with the state to fundraise and become exempt from sales tax, and obtaining federal 501(c)(3) tax-exempt status. All that paperwork takes time, and, well...what we have right now is a little extra time.
Okay, parents trying to work at home and manage their children’s distance learning might feel busier than ever! That said, it’s still a great time to get a jump start on state and federal paperwork so it’s out of the way when we are all given the green light to go back to school.
Planning Can Be Done at Home
A couple of keys for successful booster clubs: plan ahead and recruit enough volunteers to carry out your plans. We often see a handful of volunteers managing booster clubs while trying to juggle an armload of activities. Many hands make light work. Even so, involving enough people can be difficult. Few people are willing to jump in when all they see is a black hole of never-ending volunteer work ready to swallow them up.
To ease the fear of volunteering, divide your plans into small tasks, asking people to take on one event or role only for the entire school year. Also, think about the people in your school and the skills that they have. People often are more willing to “donate” the talents that they have. The owner of the florist shop may be willing to donate and arrange flowers for the annual banquet. The CPA may agree to be your treasurer. And so on. Now is a great time to plan for a successful 2020-2021 school year.
Learning to use online meeting platforms like GoToMeeting, Zoom, and Webex now may benefit you long into the future. Using online platforms to meet is a requirement now. However, it may lead to greater involvement in the fall. If you continue meeting online, or a hybrid of in-person and online, more busy parents may become involved.
Whether online, or in person, it’s a good idea to make sure you have an effective outline for your meetings and stay on task. Our blog post from last year is a great crash-course in online meetings. Stop by “Running an Effective Meeting” and brush up on meeting etiquette. Pro tip: try having everyone’s microphone muted until they need to speak. PBUSA staff experienced a feedback loop due to a speaker’s volume being loud enough to be heard by the microphone. A simple mute did the trick!
Make sure when you start your booster club, you draft bylaws. They are your road map for how you operate. See our sample bylaws. In short, your bylaws should be an explanatory list of the following:
- Name and purpose
- Membership (qualifications for voting, rights and responsibilities, quorum [how many people for a “meeting”], and meeting schedule)
- 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 (should the bylaws be changed)
What better time for PBUSA to handle all the paperwork while you get started planning for next school year?
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.