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...]

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...]

You Do Not Have It Covered: 20 Tasks for Volunteers

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Sometimes a volunteer catches you flat footed. “You guys need anything? Can I help out?” There’s certainly a lot that you, a booster club leader, need to do. You could use some help. To-do lists are so tightly spooled in your head it feels like they’re going to start fluttering out. Yet it feels like more effort to train this volunteer than to do things yourself. You’re tempted to tell them that you have it covered, or that there’s nothing small enough for them to take on. Don’t give in. Do … [Read more...]

Booster Club Officers

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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...]

Kill Bad Fundraisers

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Sometimes fundraisers stop generating value. Good booster clubs must know when to kill them. Behind the Ben and Jerry’s ice cream factory lies a peaceful graveyard of discontinued flavors. Marked by grey headstones, they sit memorialized on a windswept carpet of fallen leaves. These ideas were put to rest after they ran their course, buried but remembered. For Ben and Jerry’s, the graveyard’s humor suits their quirky brand image, a kind of anti-corporate, self-deprecating humor engraved in the … [Read more...]

How Good Record-Keeping Saves Nonprofits from High-Turnover

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Watching the 2000 film Memento again, I realized that high-turnover volunteer organizations such as booster clubs suffer from serious amnesia. In the film, 30-something Leonard can’t create new memories because of brain trauma suffered during an assault. Imagine a person who can’t remember the lessons of the past, or the opportunities set to present themselves in the future. Lacking a system of good record-keeping, that’s the situation of most booster clubs. In Memento, Leonard compensates for … [Read more...]

Robert’s Rules of Order for Booster Clubs

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Why Most Meetings Suck... ... And How Robert Can Help Open the unabridged Robert’s Rules of Order (RRO) and you might feel intimidated. With 75 sections and over 600 pages, it’s a monster. Written in the 1870s by a general named Henry Robert, it’s a time-tested tome of organization and efficiency. It’s kind of like the dictionary of meetings. But like a dictionary, you don’t have to memorize every definition to be conversant in this language of efficiency. Also like a dictionary, you’ll never … [Read more...]

4.5 Types of Booster Clubs

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When it comes to booster clubs, size matters. I don’t mean the amount of people it serves, or volunteers it has, but rather the size and type of “turf” that it covers. Is the booster club responsible for an entire district? An entire school? The answer tells me right away many of its strengths and challenges. That's because booster clubs usually find themselves covering one of the following 4.5 scopes of turf. (Yes, there is one that’s only half different than the other 4.)  And there are a few … [Read more...]