Mission to Metrics 2: Cooperation, Theater, and Auditing

A closer look at metrics, for a theater booster club that values cooperation. (The introduction to this series is called “Why Booster Clubs Need Metrics”.)

redseatsreducedMost booster clubs have non-financial goals such as creating cooperation or community involvement. Since non-financial goals require an accounting alien to the standard budget report, relevant metrics may not be intuitive. In this post, I take the mission statement of a theater club and show how to translate it into core objectives like cooperation. I also show what metrics can help to measure accomplishment in those areas.

First, skim this summary* of the Panther Creek High School Theater Arts Booster Club bylaws:

Theater Booster Club Mission Statement

  1. Support the faculty of the PCHS Theater Arts Department and for charitable and educational purposes.

  2. Promote cooperation among the administration, faculty, parents, students, and the local community regarding the Theater program

  3. Financially support to the PCHS Theater Arts program for charitable and educational purposes.

What do you see in this mission statement, how does it inform the focus of your own club?

I was struck by point #2, “promote cooperation”. Cooperation is particularly important for a theater club. There are so many things they need only some of the time, and so many things that they need to share. Performance space, practice space, and a modicum of possible props mean that negotiating, borrowing, and coordinating are central challenges to running a successful theater program.

The focus on cooperation is just one example of how Panther Creek High’s booster club has created appropriate objectives in it’s mission statement.

But what are the best ways to gauge outcomes related to cooperation? Highlighting accomplishments in the sphere of cooperation might seem daunting and subjective, but here are a few metrics that could communicate success to parents and other supporters:

      • Number of shows
      • Size of cast
      • Number of cooperating institutions (sponsors, space donations, etc.)
      • Number of school-affiliated volunteers
      • Number of non-school affiliated volunteers and cast members.

I’d emphasize that last metric, non-school volunteers and cast members, because it’s a really good way to indicate the club’s reach into the community.

What would you add to the list above if cooperation were an objective in your club?

Then there’s #3 on the theater club’s mission statement: “Financially support [the theater program] for charitable and educational purposes.”  That “for” indicates an underacknowledged role of the booster club: auditor. Is the funding really going where it needs to go? Is the club even necessary? The club might not be necessary, if the booster club’s fundraising supports only superfluous bells and whistles. In addition to presenting the tax forms you submit to the IRS (for nonprofit requirements), release details on how money was spent. Consider releasing a full report once or twice per year. Then, take pride in this metric of transparency, and don’t be shy to remind your supporters of that achievement.

      • Whether or not the club reported it’s income and expenditures (this is a binary yes/no metric)

*Each mission statement in this series has been edited for length and clarity, but the message and the order of the points has been preserved.

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