Everything Booster Clubs Need to Know About the Fiscal Year

Calendar Pages

What is a fiscal year, in a nutshell? A fiscal year defines the start and end dates for an organization’s accounting. Annual and quarterly reports to donors, as well as tax filings, all flow from the fiscal year. So do budgeting and revenue goals. While the majority of U.S. companies’ fiscal year perfectly overlaps the calendar year (Jan. 1st to Dec. 31st), deviating from those dates is more common than you’d think. For example, check out the fiscal years for these organizations: Feb. 1st … [Read more...]

Passive Fundraising With Scrip: Little effort, big donations

Torn Company Scrip

There are two primary kinds of fundraising that organizations use to increase donations: active fundraising, which requires large amounts of time and resources (like a car wash), and passive fundraising, which goes on in the background and requires little effort on your club’s part. Traditional scrip fundraising falls somewhere between active and passive. Clubs are required to purchase gift certificates or cards from participating merchants at a discounted rate, then sell them at full value to … [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...]

How to Write Booster Club Bylaws Like a Founding Father

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If you’re drafting a set of bylaws for the first time, don’t worry.  Anyone who’s taken a high school civics class or worked for an institution intuitively understands bylaws. Like the U.S. constitution or an employee handbook, bylaws enumerate rights and responsibilities. The process of writing bylaws is like a structured conversation about what those responsibilities should be and how the club should conduct business. How to structure bylaws and what to include will vary depending on the club. … [Read more...]

Booster News: Booster Club Loses Nonprofit Status

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Booster clubs can lose non-profit status with the IRS. A recent Forbes article brought this to our attention again, highlighting an IRS ruling from late August. “Capital Gymnastics operated in a manner that allowed substantial private inurement,” said the ruling. “[Capital Gymnastics] promoted private, non-public interests.” How did Capital Gymnastics ruin it’s 501(c)(3) status? Using a point system. Parents who didn’t want to fundraise paid, while other parents did collective fundraising … [Read more...]

Booster Club Officers

Leadership Road Sign

Chairperson? Officer? Here are booster club board member responsibilities. In this post, I take a look at the most basic and most specialized booster club officer positions. Maybe you are starting a booster club and you’re asking yourself “how many officers do I need?” Maybe you are joining a booster club, and you’re asking yourself “what do all of those titles mean?” Think of the booster club officer positions less as people and more as collections of responsibilities and skill-sets. They need … [Read more...]

Is Competition Good?

3 Strikes, You're Out

What’s the point of competition in high school sports? What are the teachable moments, and what are the costs? Subjective as the possible answers may be, I've been thinking about the purpose of competition. My interest was sparked by this funny scene in Billy Crystal’s 2012 comedy hit, Parental Guidance. (Click on the image to launch the video). (In the video, Billy Crystal’s grandson is pitching at a little league game. The grandson strikes out the batter, but he’s not “out.” Upon … [Read more...]

How to Start a Booster Club

Running track

This is my step-by-step guide to starting a booster club. It’s intended to be a checklist, not an exhaustive manual. You can click links for more detailed advice on how to accomplish each step. I also put them in what I believe to be the correct order of tasks for starting a booster club. For example, you don’t want to register with the IRS with one mission statement, and then realize that the school doesn’t approve of its governance structure, or waste time trying to get a business bank account … [Read more...]

3 Ways to Get 501(c)(3) Status and Become a Nonprofit Booster Club

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Thinking about starting a booster club? Not sure how to certify it as a nonprofit organization? As you may know, becoming a nonprofit makes your club tax-free* and allows donors to make tax-deductible donations. But if you’re starting a new club or resurrecting an old one, it can be a daunting task. Don’t worry! Others have come before you, and done what you’re about to do. There are at least three ways to become a nonprofit, or more specifically, an IRS-designated 501(c)(3). I’m not a lawyer, … [Read more...]