MEDIA & BLOG
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Fundraising and Freeloaders: How Your Booster Club Can Pick Up the Slack
Parent Booster USA
We are often asked about how best to deal with the “freeloaders" – those who benefit from an organization’s fundraisers without helping out. Reviewing the basis for 501(c)(3) tax-exemption may help your organization and volunteers understand why freeloaders must benefit.
C Corp, S Corp, or Nonprofit: When Opening a Bank Account, Which Box Should a Booster Check?
Parent Booster USA
Parent Booster USA is back, answering even more of your questions. This time we had one worth sharing beyond our humble FAQ: when signing up for a bank account, what category should a booster group fall under--S Corp or C Corp—if “nonprofit” isn’t an option?
Qualified Sponsorship Payments: What is Advertising and What is Not?
Parent Booster USA
Sometimes, it seems harmless enough to put the name of a local shop on your event, on a sign, or to announce it to an audience during your booster’s main events. Most of the time: it is harmless! The IRS calls these qualified sponsorship payments. If you do it right, it isn’t advertising and everybody wins.
Recruiting, Training, and Retaining Volunteers
Parent Booster USA
Parents may be sitting on their hands and not volunteering for fear of disappearing in a volunteer black hole – a place of unending obligations. Parents who are already busy with work, kids, activities, etc., get sucked into this place with volunteer “asks” and fear that they won’t be able to escape. Clear communication right up front is key to getting – and keeping – your valuable volunteers.
Managing Booster Clubs Digitally: A Showcase of Websites and Apps You can Use for Organization, Management, Fundraising, and Payment Processing to Better Your Booster
We receive many questions from our members dealing with everything from membership registration to the act of fundraising. Managing booster clubs digitally, especially for new officers, can be tricky. With COVID-19, even veteran members and officers of booster clubs have had to transition to digital alternatives.
School Business Officials' Toolkit: Balancing SBOs and Booster Groups
School business officials have to make sure booster clubs are doing their job without creating liability or distractions that can impede the school’s normal functions. In the proper balance, school business officers and booster clubs are a perfect match. Read more about the school business officials' toolkit.
Fundraising Do's and Don'ts
Chapter 8 of School Fundraising by Sandra Pfau Englund outlines the best practices for fundraisers. We start at the beginning with reasons to make sure your group is incorporated, move onto the different types of fundraisers, and go all the way to writing receipts after donations have been made.
What are some steps school fundraising groups can take to support a healthier environment for your children, maintain social distancing standards in our COVID-19 world, and still meet the goals of your mission? At Parent Booster USA, we’ve got some ideas for green fundraising this year.
Gathering Your Team: Selecting Your Organization's Executive Board
The first step in starting a booster club is gathering your team. Your first team is likely your first board of directors (also known as your executive board). Together, you will guide the actions of the organization. Your board members are elected in accordance with your bylaws.
Booster Club Bylaws: Creating a Road Map for Success
When you’re starting a booster club, you need a way to get from your 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.
FAQ: Handling Cancelled Events, Donations and Other Matters During COVID-19 Restrictions
School booster clubs are being hit with the need to cancel events, return donations, and otherwise deal with the impact of school closures and social distancing restrictions during the COVID-19 health emergency. Parent Booster USA is here to help answer your questions.
Increasing Parent Engagement in Your Booster Club
The last thing many parents want to add to their overly busy schedules is volunteering for the school booster club; accepting the title of President, VP, Treasurer, or Secretary is the last thing on their minds! So how do you recruit enough volunteers to keep a booster club running?
Four rules for keeping your gymnastics booster club running clean…
A clean routine is the goal of every gymnast. It’s also a good goal for gymnastics booster clubs. Yet, many gymnastics boosters are running far afield from IRS rules for 501(c)(3) organizations. Make sure your gymnastics booster club performs a clean routine every time by following these 4 guidelines.
Athletic Booster Clubs Face Intense Scrutiny: 5 Tips to Keep Out of the Penalty Box
Follow the money. It’s the rule investigators use to sniff out corruption. It’s also why athletic booster clubs face intense scrutiny by the Internal Revenue Service (IRS), the Department of Education (DOE), and amateur athletic regulating bodies.
Fundraising and Finance: Understanding the School-Volunteer Relationship
Volunteer organizations raise money for their schools. That sounds like a simple and praiseworthy relationship . . . but maybe not. Even if a school has a good relationship with its fundraisers, the split of roles and responsibilities between the school and its fundraising organizations is usually less than ideal.
Bah humbug on end-of-the-year gift giving…
Each year at Christmas and again at the end of the school year my tuba-playing son brought home a note asking for a donation to provide the band directors a gift. Money was collected and a gift card or a check was given to the director and assistant director. Most often we contributed, except for those years when the note got lost in my son’s backpack and didn’t surface until sometime around July.
Is Bigger Always Better?
There are at least 20 high school stadiums in America with a seating capacity between 10,000 – 21,000. Thirteen are in Texas, four in Ohio. You could even say there’s a football stadium competition going on in Texas. The McKinney School District is building a new $70 million football stadium that will seat 12,000 and the next school district over has a $60 million stadium that seats 18,000.
Who Buys the Helmets?
Friday night football is in full swing, with the crashing football helmets, cheerleaders leading the crowd, and the high school marching bands entertaining at half time. Parent-volunteers also are busy, selling tickets to games, and raffle tickets and concessions to raise much-needed funds to pay for the “extras” that the schools can’t afford.
While out walking our dogs, Tott and Stella, I was thinking about how much speech matters. Tott and Stella instinctively know the difference between the frustrated bark of Sam, who spends too much time fenced in his back yard, and the happy bark of Scrappy, a large and friendly puppy.
Can you hear me now?
The Orange County Public Schools, located in the Orlando, Florida area, just announced a new cellphone rule. The announcement said cellphones may no longer be used by high school students in the classroom. I’m puzzled. Were students ever allowed to blithely text away while the teacher taught chemistry or calculus? Don’t the usual classroom discipline rules apply – listen and participate in class or head to the principal’s office? Is there really any difference between texting your buddy on your cell phone or passing handwritten notes in class?
Can’t we all just get along?
One of the biggest challenges volunteer leaders of school fundraising groups face is getting along with the school principal, teacher, coach or other staff that advises the group. While schools talk about parent and community involvement, with so many stakeholders pulling at them – the Board of Education, teachers, students, parents – sometimes it feels like volunteer leaders are more annoyance than help. That said, a big part of your job as a school support organization is helping to improve the communication between school, parents and students.
Will the presidential election impact the need for school fundraising?
It’s difficult to measure how much money volunteer-led school fundraising groups – you know those parent teacher organizations, athletic, arts and other booster clubs – raise to cover education costs where government dollars fall short. The best estimate I’ve seen is $4.5 billion plus. Probably plus, plus, plus. This parent-led fundraising for “free” public education is unique to the U.S. which got me wondering whether the presidential election will have any impact on the funding of “free” public education. I took a look at what the leading candidates, Hillary Clinton, Donald Trump, and Gary Johnson, had to say about public education.
Why isn’t free public education free?
Have you heard the Staples advertisement set to the holiday tune of The Most Wonderful Time of the Year with parents leaping for joy that the kids are going back to school? I’m guessing fewer parents are leaping for joy and more are feeling a holiday-like pinch with the cost of school fees for sports, music, field trips, labs, etc. rivaling or exceeding with most parents spend per child at the holidays. In many high schools, parents pay hundreds of dollars a year so their children can play sports or march in the high school band.
Title IX Complaints on the Rise
Recently the parents of three high school softball players in Fayetteville, Alabama filed a Title IX lawsuit claiming that the Fayetteville school district favored boys’ sports over girls\'. The Chicago Public Schools settled a Title IX complaint by adding more athletic opportunities for girls in 12 high schools. In the Oregon school district of Beaverton, five Title IX complaints were filed alleging unequal opportunities for high school girls to play sports.
No more Campbell’s Soup labels? How shall we raise money for schools?
Campbell’s Soup has announced that there will be no more Labels for Education after July 2016. For 42 years, collecting soup labels and turning them in for a penny per label has been a mainstay of school fundraising. However, participation in the soup-label-program has dwindled. The company says it will continue funding education through its Grand Stand for Schools sweepstakes started in 2015 in which 100 schools are selected at random to receive a $10,000 grant.
Don't Leave Cash Lying Around this School Year
Most of us have learned to be careful with our social security card and driver’s license. We’ve been taught to beware the identity thief. We instill in our children the need to keep safe our valuables – don’t leave an iPhone, iPad or other device laying around for someone to steal. But how many school fundraising groups – the parent teacher organizations (PTO), high school sports, music, academic and other booster clubs – leave cash laying around to be stolen?
The Embezzler Next Door: Preventing Theft in School Support Organizations
Sandra recently had dinner with Amy to learn more about the theft at her daughter’s high school. Press reports indicated that at least $14,000 was stolen from the school spirit store over more than a year. The school’s support organizations had weak internal controls; discovery of the theft, Sandra learned, was almost happenstance.
School booster groups seek ways to stop thefts
By the time the PTSA leadership at David C. Hinson Middle School realized it, tens of thousands of dollars had disappeared from the group's bank accounts. The Daytona Beach association had raised the money through walkathons, doughnut sales, after-school socials and banner sponsorships and intended to spend them on iPads, an athletic track and classroom projects. The treasurer, Diane Holland, admitted "borrowing" money, saying she intended to pay it back when she received her income-tax return, court records show.
PBUSA Plans Surprise Visit to Fair Lawn, NJ PTO
To celebrate ten years of continuous membership, Parent Booster USA has a surprise planned for its very first member, the Lyncrest Parent Teacher Organization. PBUSA began with a handful of members who needed help with managing the required government paperwork. Now the company has 2,300 members in 48 states and a 95% renewal rate.
Parent Booster Clubs - Raising Money For Your Own Kid Is Not Charity
501(c)(3) organizations that compensate those who assist with fundraising activities by reducing fees or other payments may risk losing their tax exempt status. Schools that provide tuition relief for parents who assist with fundraising may be particularly vulnerable. Additionally, those who work as fundraisers in exchange for reduced tuition or fees will be required to report taxable income.
Parent Booster USA Revises IFA Policy
Parent Booster USA is providing new guidance to school support organizations on the use of individual fundraising accounts (IFA) through which students and their parents are "credited" for fundraising activities. PBUSA notes that while IRS rules regarding IFA's are unclear, the IRS is known to find these types of cooperative fundraising activities to be illegal.
White Paper Details School Booster Club Fundraising Rules
The IRS has stated that the common school booster club practice of "crediting" students with some of the earnings from fundraisers violates IRS private benefit rules. A new white paper released by Parent Booster USA details the IRS rules, and how school booster clubs may determine if their fundraising practices are legal.
Schools Should Audit Their Booster Clubs
Parent Booster USA is offering school administrators a new, free service, BoosterCheck, to ensure that their school booster clubs and other school support organizations are using their own federal tax ID number and state sales tax exemption certificates. In addition,through BoosterCheck, school admnistrators may determine if their school booster clubs have complied with a new federal aw that requires all nonprofit organizations, regardless of the amount of funds raised, to file an IRS tax return each year.
Parent Booster USA Announces Free School Booster Group Workshops
Parent Booster USA is conducting free workshops to assist school administrators navigate the increasingly complex rules and regulations for school booster clubs. Schools are relying more on booster clubs to fill gaps created by cuts in federal and state education funding. However, there are significant knowledge gaps in how to legally operate school booster clubs.
Thousands of School Booster Clubs Not in Compliance with Tax Laws
Thousands of school booster clubs appear to be out of compliance with IRS rules and state laws requiring tax returns to be filed. Failure to seek federal tax-exempt status, and file tax returns, raises significant liability for school booster clubs and the schools for which these groups raise funds.
Candy Bar Accounting: Keeping track of school booster club fundraising
States are passing laws requiring school support organizations, including PTOs, band and athletic booster and other booster clubs, to keep better track of funds and fundraising activities. Parent Booster USA, a national organization that provides oversight and tax-exempt status to booster clubs has published model financial guidelines to help booster clubs meet these new requirements.
About Parent Booster USA
Parent Booster USA (PBUSA) is the leader in keeping America's school support organizations compliant with IRS, state and local nonprofit fundraising rules. PBUSA helps schools ensure that their parent teacher organizations (PTOs), booster clubs and other school support organizations have 501(c)(3) federal tax-exempt status, and manage and control the funds raised to better serve the needs of the students and schools they support. PBUSA currently has members in 48 states with a 95% renewal rate.
PBUSA provides the tools schools and their support organizations need to stay registered with the IRS and state authorities, and make sure the groups are operating with accountability for the funds raised and transparency regarding their activities.
PBUSA provides the ongoing continuity, guidance, and support and supervision school fundraising groups need.
- PBUSA members:
- K-12 schools (USA): 132,853 1
- Nonprofits devoted to education: 19,000+ 2
- Total spent in support of public education (2007): $4.3 billion 3
- Total number of school support organizations (PTOs, booster clubs): 50,000+ 4
- 1 Digest of Education Statistics, 2010
- 2 Who Helps Public Schools? Public Education Support Organizations in 2010, Urban Institute
- 3 Ibid., Urban Institute 2010
- 4 Parent Booster USA estimate that at least 25% of K-8 schools have a PTO, and at least 50% of secondary schools have 2 or more booster clubs. Actual number of school support organizations is likely much higher. A comprehensive study to update and improve the 2010 Urban Institute study is recommended.
- Founded: October 2004
- Founder: Sandra Pfau Englund [Bio] [Photo]
- Press contact: email@example.com
- Website: parentbooster.org
- Logos: [Button] [Long] [Long with tagline]
- Press releases
- Frequently asked questions (PDF)
- Detailed company information (PDF)
Financial accountability – Schools, school districts and state governments are increasingly raising concern over the financial practices of school support groups, including concern with incidences of theft of funds by volunteers.
Cooperative fundraising – An August 2013 Tax Court decision confirmed earlier IRS findings that the common practice of school support groups fundraising and then crediting only those that raised the funds or volunteered time with the amounts raised (individual fundraising accounts) provides a personal benefit and is not a tax- exempt activity.
Free public education – The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) is bringing actions against schools and school districts across the country claiming that certain school fees violate free public education laws. Claims include that schools inappropriately use booster clubs and support organizations to collect fees on behalf of the schools.