How to Get Parents Excited About Your Booster Club

by Jim Connelly, founder of BoosterSpark

Let's face it. The phrase "booster club" is usually associated with "those people who want me to work for free" or "that group that always asks for money." Kind of sounds like a leech, doesn't it?

If that bothers you — and if you are a booster club board member or coordinator, it should — then you need to know you have the power to change that reputation. Here's how.

People are not motivated to work for free, and they are not attracted to people who always ask for money. But they ARE attracted to positive reinforcement, projects that positively impact their family, and fun. Make sure your club is a constant source of those attributes, and communicate it to the community at every opportunity.

Tell parents, faculty, and business owners in your community the total financial impact your club made in the past 12 months. Better yet, tell them the total amount donated over the past four years.

Show them where the money goes. You can do that by publishing annual allocation reports on your website that list what opportunities and improvements were funded by your club. You don't need to name names or line item dollar values. A bullet point list showing investments funded by the club will suffice. Be sure to include links to these allocation reports on social media, school newsletters, email blasts, and local media.

Describe the social events made possible by your club. Detail the impact those events made. Examples of social events include Staff Appreciation Lunches (shows gratitude for the impact faculty make on our students), Award Banquets (recognizes student achievements), Senior Picnics (one more fun memory for graduating seniors before they enter the next chapter of their lives), etc.

Communicate small wins at every opportunity. "Small wins" can be the winner of a 50/50 raffle, group photos of club volunteers at planning meetings and events, and so on.

Paint a picture of a club that is popular, successful, fun, and something people want to be a part of. Be sure to explain it is all made possible by memberships, sponsorships, fundraisers, spirit wear sales, and donations. After explaining all of that, invite people to become a member today.

Who Wrote This? Jim Connelly, founder and lead developer of BoosterSpark, is past president of a booster club in the Chicago suburbs that donated over $40,000 to his children's high school annually. The Illinois State Board of Education presented Jim with the Those Who Excel Award of Meritorious Service in 2017 recognizing his extensive booster club service. During his tenure, he created and coordinated an annual 5K fundraiser, managed an engraved brick fundraising campaign, created a sponsorship program, enhanced an existing membership program, increased sales of spirit wear, initiated new volunteer recruitment programs, guided the volunteer team that won the $5,000 Buffalo Wild Wings Spirit Challenge two consecutive years, launched an informative club website, ensured the club was properly insured, researched 501(c)(3) compliance, and increased annual club revenue. Professionally, Jim has been a business consultant trusted by companies in over 100 industries since 1996.
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