New Year’s Resolution: Say Thank You All Year Long

Post-it Thank You

When family gathers over the holidays, childhood memories are often shared as well as more recent anecdotes from daily life. My sister recalled an exchange with an older kid from the neighborhood where she had reminded the person to say "please", to which she received a response of, "PLEASE is for inside, GIMME is for outside." Decades later she still remembers it clearly.  And fondly!? Her 6 or 7 year old self had felt flattered that the big kid was taking her under his wing to show her … [Read more...]

BoosterNews: It’s a Good Time to Thank Your Donors

Woman with card Thank You

Make a list, check it twice, and be sure to acknowledge those who’ve supported your organization over the past year. It takes a little time to do it right, but it’s a simple task and there are lots of reasons to make the effort. One reason is that some of your donors may feel unacknowledged due to mistakes made by volunteers in the past. A friend of mine recently told me that she stuck her neck out to get her company to donate auction items to the local elementary school. She had to pester all … [Read more...]

How to Cut A Budget Beforehand

Cutting the Budget

Austerity Budgets What would your club do if a major revenue stream dried up, or if schools drastically cut your extracurricular funding? We see governments do this all the time: shutdown, sequestration, and austerity plans. Nonprofits and charities have had to face serious austerity budgets as well. After the economy collapsed in 2008, many charities had to decide which programs, staff, and other sectors to cut. Many weren't prepared. Booster clubs are very different than most … [Read more...]

Making Traditions (Whether You Mean To Or Not)

Memory Lane

We are the makers of memories! What are your best memories from high school? What stories do you retell when you go to a reunion or get together with your old classmates? Arguably, most booster clubs aim to make great memories, so I think it’s crucial that we try to put a finger on what made our own experiences stick with us over time. Sometimes experiences are memorable because of random events--spontaneous downpours, chance encounters, or the serendipity that sparks both romantic and … [Read more...]

What Does Boosterland Share from Board Meetings?

Visitors Parking Spot Photo

Behind the Scenes Over the past several months I have visited dozens of high school booster clubs. Most have strong web presences, and list the dates of their open meetings. Boosterland has also benefited from many phone calls with booster club officers across the country.  Although we started contacting booster clubs that were easy to find online, we welcome invitations from those who are just starting out or don’t have a strong web presence. Just a Fly on the Wall When I visit a meeting, I … [Read more...]

5 Ways to Manage Booster Club Grants

Money

Just as there are different kinds of booster clubs and ways to raise funds, there are many ways for booster clubs to distribute grant funds they raise among different groups. I’ve observed numerous clubs take different roads in managing budgets to meet their individual needs. Understanding the five most common modes of funding allocation can help board members choose the system that will best benefit the club, school, and students. 1. Monthly: Booster clubs evaluate requests for funding and … [Read more...]

What Happened to Multi-sport Athletes? (Part 2)

iStock_000008551486Medium

In part one of this post, I questioned the role of specialization in sports. I mentioned that many American parents encourage specialization over well-rounded development in the classroom and on the field. In other parts of the world, it’s not like this. Cedar Attanasio, who helps edit many of the posts on the Boosterland blog, shared this anecdote from his time studying in Hong Kong with Chinese and Cantonese students. “In Cantonese, there’s this term, quan cai, which means ‘well-rounded … [Read more...]

What Happened to Multi-sport Athletes? (Part 1)

sports balls

Should students play a single sport, or diversify? In this post I discuss the decline of the multi-sport athlete, and the implications for a 21st century workforce. I use sports as an example--but this post applies to other activities as well: theater, orchestra, debate, etc.  I list a few of the assumptions that fuel the single-sport phenomenon, including some that booster clubs may take for granted. In my next post I’ll talk about multi-sport athletes in the past, and how their 20th century … [Read more...]

Booster News: Tax Alert!

time for taxes

While some booster club board members are focusing on recruitment, funding requests, and fundraisers, treasurers should take a minute right now to think about tax filings. Nonprofits are required to file a tax return, even if they don’t owe any taxes. Small organizations with under $50,000 in gross receipts have to file, too. However, they can use a 990-N “postcard,” which is more simple than regular nonprofit filing. Either way, it’s time to start gathering receipts and training new volunteers … [Read more...]

11 Life Lessons of Theater

Shakespeare and goth man.

If “All the world's a stage, / And all the men and women merely players,” then there’s no better place to prepare for life than in the theater. I made this list of 11 theater lessons as a reminder of how much performance art can help the development of our young people. This post, like my 31 Life Lessons of Sports post, is designed to help booster club leaders articulate the value of extracurriculars. Sometimes we forget why we toil to support programs. Even when we do, it’s hard to articulate … [Read more...]