By Dan Guttenplan, FNF Coaches Managing Editor
A booster club should provide support for a football by raising funds or coordinating events. Many booster clubs are organized and run by parents of the players on team. The best ones leave the coaches and players to focus on football.
A Booster Club can become stale, leaving the team’s coaching staff to handle administrative duties. Here are some examples of ways school around the country have revamped their Booster Clubs.
A school in Mississippi renamed its Booster Club – switching from Touchdown Club to Natchez Gridiron Club – in a symbolic move to drum up excitement and alert parents of players that increasing participation had become a priority.
Find the right leaders. A Louisiana school – Destrehan High – opened all Booster Club officer positions to election and defined the job descriptions of each elected office so that parents with the appropriate skill sets could run for positions.
Set clear goals. Each Booster Club should put its goals in writing, whether those goals come in the form of fundraising revenue, participation numbers, or team functions. Each Booster Club meeting should start with a discussion of the annual budget.
Fundraise. Freeport Sports Booster Club (N.Y.) raises money through car washes, Carribean theme nights, advertising journals, Fire Department vs. Police Department football games, swim-a-thons and more. Be creative.
Generate support in the community. Before each season, Charleston High (S.C.) hosts “The Red & Gold Grill on the Hill”, a block-party barbecue featuring pork burgers. Potential Booster Club volunteers and donors are often discovered.
Sell merchandise. The Issaquah (Wash.) Booster Club sells “Logo Gear” from a Booster Tent at all games, as well as during school lunch periods, Fall Sports Nights, and Back to School Night.
Sell sponsorships. The Wamego (Kan.) Athletic Booster Club sells ads in its print publications, website, electronic ads on the scoreboards, and radio spots during game broadcasts.
Create a website. The Massillon (Ohio) Tiger Football Booster Club started a contest calling for local high school students to build its website, which is now used to share news about fundraisers and collect donations.
8 Steps to Starting a Booster Club
The Cullinane Law Group works with several larger Booster Clubs in Texas. Forming a booster club is the same process as creating any type of tax-exempt nonprofit organization. Cullinane offered some steps for starting new nonprofit booster club:
- Make a plan. Who will you serve? What is your mission?
- Select a name. Usually, school-based booster club simply call themselves “(Name of Organization) Booster Club.”
- Recruit an initial board of directors. Who is a part of your initial planning team?
- Draft and file documents to become a state nonprofit corporation (or other appropriate state entity).
- Prepare internal governance (bylaws) and hold an initial meeting.
- Apply for an EIN (similar to a social security number, but for a business).
- Apply for 501c3 tax-exempt status with the IRS, so that you can raise funds for the organization and your projects.
- Apply for state exemptions and other needed permits.
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