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...]

Boosterwashing

Kid Whitewashing a Wall

How Companies and Charities “Colorwash” Ever notice how every major cause today gets a color? Pink for breast cancer, green for the environment, red for AIDS--causes cover the rainbow and beyond. This kind of branding is effective, raising millions of dollars in the name of various organizations. Yet like most branding, the color codes have a great potential for abuse. With no clear standards for what counts as pink, green, or red products, fundraisers inevitably find themselves in conflict … [Read more...]

Should Your Booster Club Buy Insurance?

Throwing a life preserver

It was a booster club’s worst nightmare: A referee at a charity volleyball game injured her ankle when the stand she was sitting on collapsed. The booster club turned to the school district for help, only to be told that the district’s insurance would not cover the referee’s worker’s compensation claim, and that they considered the club financially responsible. The ensuing legal wrangling led to the dissolution of the booster club under threats of a lawsuit. "I'm just a mom, you know," Karen … [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...]

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 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...]

Does your help hurt?

different - verschieden

Creating Dependency In developing countries, aid programs give things and services. They compensate for the state’s shortcomings in education, food, or shelter. I was reminded of this by a Forbes article which highlighted the failures of an NGO in Eastern Europe. By pursuing the classic charity model--giving locals things they didn’t have--the NGO created dependency on their services (mostly clothing and food programs). They choked development. Recognizing this, the NGO switched gears. Instead … [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...]