Booster Club Volunteer Management Best Practices

Congratulations! You’ve been elected as an officer for your booster club! Uh oh, what do you do now? This fear and uncertainty is very common. You are not alone.

Booster club leadership turns over yearly for most booster clubs. This brings the unique challenge of having frequent changes in leadership, and it is a problem for continuity of the club and the transfer of knowledge from one term to the next. Managing a booster club and ensuring its success can be a difficult task. However, the reward that comes from seeing the beneficiaries of the club flourish is hard to beat.

Consider these tips for managing a thriving booster club:

Prioritize making sure that your booster club stays focused on its mission.

If you are focused on your mission, even if the club has a down year for membership or fundraising or volunteering, you can still walk away with a successful club, due to putting the resources that you did have available directly toward the mission of the club, with little waste or inefficiency. Even with hard times here and there, if your community sees that your booster club is focused and delivering good results, that itself is a great way to encourage new volunteers and new members to step up quickly and regularly.

Value Your Volunteers

Volunteers who feel appreciated are likely to continue offering their time on a regular basis. If people don’t feel that their contributions are valued, they will likely use their free time for other things. Make sure to recognize your volunteers for the time and efforts they put into the booster club. This does not mean that you need to buy them gold watches or hold a banquet in their honor. In fact, the most effective way to recognize someone is to contact them directly, and say thank you to them for specific actions they have taken. Another way to value your volunteers is to make sure they are asked to do tasks which are important. Give them responsibilities! Ask for their ideas and creativity! Put them in charge of slices of the shared project.

Define Rules and Expectations

For regular fundraising events, it is important to establish booster club guidelines and rules for each role that volunteers fill. For example, if a member is expected to sell food at a sporting event, they should have documentation provided that explains how to collect money, how to document sales, and where to turn over the money at the end of their shift. Standard operating procedures (SOP’s) should exist for each regular position. If SOPs do not exist for each position, empower your volunteers to create an SOP for the task they are doing. This lets them try various techniques and come up with the best one to pass along to the next volunteer. Let your volunteers think through the process of how is the best way to accomplish this task?

Encourage Everyone to Participate

When soliciting volunteers for an event, provide different time slots to accommodate parents who work full-time. Events may often occur after school or on the weekend. Having different days and times available gives everyone a chance to participate. Some volunteers may be able to work, say, one hour each evening. Other volunteers may be able to contribute a full day’s work on one weekend per semester. Other volunteers may be able to contribute a lot of time, but it needs to be online from their home, if, for example, they are caring for an elderly grandparent. Some volunteers want to be face-to-face in front of people, selling T-shirts, or running the concession stand, while others may be more comfortable driving a van or picking up supplies from the store, and others may be more comortable doing other behind the scenes work on the website or with communications. 

If you find yourself short of hands for a particular event, notify the club as soon as possible. Provide a gentle nudge, letting them know that slots are still available to anyone who can commit to the event. If successful, great; however, the most effective way to fill a volunteer slot is the personal ask. Although it may seem more efficient to send club-wide blast emails, and indeed you may be able to fill many slots that way, still the personal ask is an almost guaranteed way to fill slots. Ask in-person or over the phone, adding specific details to the request, such as, “Mary, I could really use your help. What I need you to do is to fill the 7:00pm slot at the concession stand for the JV game on Thursday.” These types of personal requests make the volunteer feel wanted and it makes them understand the value you are putting on the request. Therefore, it is very hard for them to turn it down!

Make It Fun!

Remember, volunteering for a booster club isn’t a full-time job. Parents, friends, and other supporters are choosing to give their time to support the team that they love. Be sure to support them, encourage them, thank them, and keep each booster club event as upbeat as possible. Try not to micromanage volunteers — instead, allow them to support the club in the best ways they know how. Empower them to volunteer doing what they enjoy doing. Empower them to make decisions about the task at hand and to be creative in accomplishing the task. Keep communications upbeat and positive. Do not shame or browbeat, or, worst of all, threaten members to volunteer! Always keep things positive. Even if someone is not able to volunteer for the event at hand, you want them to have a positive interaction with the club so that in the future if they get time to volunteer, they remember that it was a positive experience. The best advice is to make it fun! If volunteers enjoy their experience, they will tell others about it, and will also be more likely to be regular volunteers for the club, coming back again and again to help out.