When managing a booster club, one of the most important things you’ll need to do is establish clear guidelines for joining the organization. You can’t admit new members on a case-by-case basis. Instead, you need clear guidelines explaining who can join, how they become a member, and what you expect of club members.

Here are some common approaches to establishing booster club membership guidelines so you can decide what’s best for your organization. 

What Determines Booster Club Membership?

Ideally, your booster club should be incorporated. As part of this process, you’ll have to create bylaws. The club’s bylaws should address operations, board positions, election processes, and memberships. Bylaws are critical for regulating and running your booster club, so make sure they are detailed.

Keep in mind that you can always amend bylaws later. However, you need to cover as many operational aspects as possible in your initial set of bylaws. Make sure to include a mechanism for changing bylaws, electing board members, admitting and removing general members, and hosting meetings.

When writing your bylaws, you can establish whatever membership criteria make sense for your booster club, provided that your rules don’t discriminate against anyone or violate any laws. There are two common membership processes that most clubs use, which include:

Membership Fees

The membership fee approach is very common, and it also serves as a great revenue-generating tool for the club. Under the membership fee model, people will have to pay a monthly or annual fee to join the club, participate in meetings, contribute to activities, and run for board positions. 

Remember, the fee isn’t meant to be restrictive. However, you should make it high enough that it delivers some value for the club and promotes your fundraising efforts. For instance, you could implement an annual fee of $100 or a monthly recurring fee of $10. 

Automatic Admissions for Parents

Many booster clubs automatically admit parents who have students in the program. For instance, if a married couple has a daughter who plays on the high school volleyball team, the entire family would be granted membership. However, once the student graduates or stops participating in high school sports that your club supports, the family would have to pay a fee to maintain their membership.

You don’t necessarily have to grant parents free membership. After all, not all parents are going to be active in the club. That’s why some clubs require every member to pay dues. 

The Importance of Communication

Regardless of which framework you choose, you’ll need to regularly communicate with all members and parents. You should communicate with alumni as well, even if they haven’t paid dues or become members. The goal is to build a strong network of support, which is invaluable when organizing online fundraisers, planning events, and asking for volunteers to staff games. 

Remember, there are no one-size-fits-all answers when it comes to booster clubs. You need to evaluate what is best for your club and school. As long as you have the best interests of the student-athletes at heart, you can’t go wrong!