Lady counting cash and bookkeeping

Candy Bar Accounting: Keeping track of school booster club fundraising

by Parent Booster USA on Oct 27, 2009 12:00 am

Band, football, soccer, debate and other booster clubs have been doing it for years...selling thousands of dollars worth of candy bars, gift wrap and other items to help support kids, their clubs and their schools. However, with increasing reports of stolen funds and questionable financial practices, school administrators and even some state legislatures are passing new rules and laws regulating school support organizations.

“Parents find out after they sign up to help out their school booster club that there are lots of rules involved. For example, Tennessee passed a law in 2008, the School Support Organization Financial Accountability Act, that requires school booster clubs to follow certain financial practices to be approved to operate in their school district,” stated Sandra Englund, founder of Parent Booster USA. “The IRS requires any group that raises $5000 or more to file a tax return. All these rules can be quite intimidating for a parent that thought they only signed up to organize the school gift wrap sale.”

To help parents get back to focusing on raising much-needed funds for their kids, their schools and their activities, Parent Booster USA has published the "Booster Club Start-Up, Operations and Financial Practices Guide". The manual provides model articles of incorporation and bylaws, along with suggested financial practices. The guide even provides step-by-step “how-tos” for conducting an internal review of PTOs or booster club’s financial records.

“We seem to get calls weekly about concerns with a booster club treasurer, or what reports a booster club treasurer should be preparing,” noted Parent Booster USA Executive Director, John Englund. “Unless your club has a CPA as its treasurer, I don’t know how you would know if your banking and financial practices were appropriate. PBUSA’s new guide makes it much easier to handle a booster club’s finances properly.“

PBUSA is a national umbrella organization authorized by the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) through a group letter ruling to assist and provide oversight to school support organizations. School booster clubs -- – football, cheerleading, gymnastics, chorus and other booster groups – obtain automatic, immediate federal nonprofit tax-exempt status simply by joining PBUSA.


Running an Effective Meeting

Sandra Pfau Englund

Aug 30, 2019

Booster club bylaws often reference Robert’s Rules of Order as the “rules” for managing a meeting. Have you ever read Robert’s Rules? It’s a good way to get a good night’s sleep!

O.k., so, having no rules leads to muddled, oftentimes chaotic meetings. On the other hand, using strict Robert’s Rules of Order can result in confusion or imbalance, dominated by those very few who understand Robert’s Rules. According to Sandra Englund, founder of Parent Booster USA, it’s far better to use a simplified form of parliamentary procedure. Using Sandy’s Simple Parlipro for Nonprofit Organizations, you provide a solid framework for your meeting that encourages everyone to participate and stops any one person from controlling it.

Meetings should not be all about the rules. According to David Gillig, Senior Vice President of Children's Hospital and Health Center in San Diego, a meeting should be 80% inspiration, learning and fun, and 20% business. Busy parents are more likely to attend if they feel as if they will gain something for themselves, and their kids, out of the meeting. We recommend that you start the meeting with something fun or educational — our parent engagement blog talks more about this.

Place reports at the end of the meeting; consider providing digital or written copies of reports that parents can read outside of the meeting. No one wants to sit through standard reports. One exception is financial reports. Always include the treasurer’s report. The treasurer’s report should include a written budget and a report that shows how money was raised and spent. Making bank statements available is a good way to help ensure accountability. You can read more on financial accountability here.

It’s good practice to put start times for each item on the agenda. This helps ensure that the meeting stays on track and flows effectively. It’s particularly important if you are discussing any controversial issues in which it is more likely that someone will filibuster! Having a rule that each person gets an opportunity to speak once, before anyone is given a second opportunity to speak, helps encourage more participation.

Below is a sample agenda to help you get the most out of your booster club meetings. Start your meeting by reviewing the agenda. This is where you can explain the “rules” you’ve set for the meeting, including for example, that you will work to stay on-time to help ensure that the meeting starts and ends accordingly. You can also mention here, or just before the Q&A time with the principal, that each person will be provided the opportunity to speak once before anyone speaks for a second time. The report time is kept brief to allow the bulk of time to be given to the information provided by the principal. Minutes need approved; although a little unusual, we included approving the minutes at the end to allow more time for the more important matters up front.

ABC Booster Club
1. Call to order & Review of Agenda 6:00p
2. Guest speaker – Principal Melissa Everly discusses school remodel plan 6:05-6:25p
3. Q&A 6:25-6:35p
4. Financial report 6:35-6:45p
5. Other reports 6:45-6:55p
6. Approve minutes from prior meeting 6:55p
7. Next Meeting 6:59p
8. Adjourn 7:00p

Planning and structuring your meeting for success if the key to having an effective meeting.


With PBUSA membership, we file all the IRS and state paperwork. We keep your booster club up and running year after year.