Adding an athletic booster club to your school is a great way for parents and other fans of the school to elevate all of the school's athletic programs. Here are three essential issues to consider if your school is interested in creating a booster club.
Booster Clubs Can Increase Donations
First, schools should start a booster club to increase the funding of the athletic department. This is the the primary reason to start a booster club! Starting a booster club allows specific fundraising just for athletics. It gives parents and other interested people an opportunity to make donations and gifts directly to athletics. This giving then allows the athletic department to do more than what its budget will provide.
The athletic budget might be as little as the fees it generates from participants. Allowing boosters to contribute specifically to athletics will give them an opportunity to give where they want to give and give above and beyond what they might otherwise do for the school. While there may be some crowding out (for example, some people might give to athletics instead of putting their resources toward other school budget items), over time it is more likely that gifts to the booster club will allow the athletic program to thrive while increasing the total giving from most families to the school.
Booster club fundraising for athletics can make a big difference in the quality of programs and the quality of the experience for the kids. Financial gifts can provide for such things as newer or better uniforms and equipment to covering fees to banners and trophies or even helping with travel to away tournaments to contributing to long-term capital needs.
Booster Clubs Support, But Don’t Control Athletics
Second, schools should not have a booster club so that parents can have a greater say in athletics. Schools already have established procedures for parents to provide feedback. Athletic programs, scheduling and staffing are all decisions made by the athletic director. The athletic director reports to the head of school. The head of school is governed by a school board. The last thing the athletic department needs are a multitude of additional direct bosses. The booster club does not need to have a say in the administration of the athletic department.
Booster Clubs Are Not About Coaching
Third, a school should not create a booster club to improve coaching. Giving boosters a say in who coaches and how they do their job complicates the chain of command and gives power to the wrong people – those making financial contributions. It is up to the athletic director to make hiring decisions and to be sure the coaches do their job. It does not need to be up to several or more boosters.
Booster clubs can be a very helpful activity at a school for both the athletic program and the overall financial health of the school provided boosters realize they are there to financially support the athletic program but in no way run the department.
Joel Campanella is the father of a Covenant Classical student. He is also the President of the Warriors’ Athletic Club.