Our Booster Club Does a 50/50 Game at Our Fundraisers. Is This Gambling?
The key to successful booster club fundraisers is encouraging participation and having fun. One of the easiest ways to do this is with a 50/50 game at fundraisers. 50/50 games incentivize supporters to donate by offering a prize and also help the organization meet its fundraising goals.
While it seems like a harmless activity, 50/50 games are often considered gambling, which can come along with a whole host of rules for your event. Your booster club responsibilities include ensuring that all activities are permitted under the laws of your state, so it is a good idea to familiarize yourself with the rules around gambling.
Under federal law, gambling is defined as “accepting, recording, or registering bets, or carrying on a policy game or any other lottery, or playing any game of chance, for money or other thing of value.”
Your state likely has its own gambling laws as well. Without a license, your event could be considered an illegal gambling activity, which can put your club and its officers at risk.
There are certain exceptions to these rules. Your raffle could be considered “charitable gaming,” in which case you do not need a full gambling license in most states.
In some jurisdictions, while a full gambling license is not required, there still may be local requirements. For example, some states require a raffle license issued by the local county sheriff’s office.
IRS Fundraising Gaming Rules
In addition to the possibility of violating gambling laws, holding a 50/50 raffle could also have tax implications. There are strict rules from the IRS about what is considered gambling. The agency offers guidance on this and considers the following activities gambling:
While it’s possible that your raffle could be considered to be a game amongst parents where the winner donates their proceeds, it can be a risky interpretation that opens your organization up to risk.
Things to Consider
If you are planning on hosting a 50/50 raffle at your next fundraiser, you need to make sure you are legally permitted to do so. Before moving forward with the plan, there are a few things you should consider:
What are the booster club laws in your state?
Do booster club rules permit this type of activity?
Who is responsible for ensuring compliance with the laws?
Are all booster club officers in agreement?
Has the club hosted a raffle before?
Since booster club officers can be held personally responsible for illegal activity in the club, you should take extra care in doing your research before hosting the raffle.
Consult with a Professional
The best thing you can do to prepare for your raffle is consult with a professional. Most states have an accessible gaming commission that will be able to answer specific questions about your raffle. In addition, a tax professional can help walk you through the implications of the raffle at your event.
Planning an event with a raffle takes coordination of a lot of moving parts. Stay organized with a booster club software, like BoosterHub, which can help you manage documents, organize communication, and keep track of volunteers.
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Our Club Has Been Using Charms and Has Student Accounts — Why Is This a Bad Idea?
There’s a lot to like about Charms Office Assistant. This program has been a music program stalwart and can help schools and boosters communicate with students, manage assessment data, and collect payments.
We get the appeal of using Charms to support your band’s billing activities — the system is already in place, and you can collect payments from students and parents all in one platform. However, Charms wasn’t really designed for booster clubs. It was really designed to be used by the school or music director.
Most booster clubs are non-profits. The activities and best practices are different. For instance, non-profits can not fundraise for the benefit of one person. They must fundraise for the group as a whole. Also, fees can not be mandatory in a non-profit. You can certainly say “100% participation is highly encouraged,” but you can not require anyone to pay to participate.
By replacing Charms with a purpose-built booster solution, your club can:
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Round Rock Volleyball Is Ahead of the Game by Using BoosterHub MVP
After each sports season, the coaching staff gets together to review what went well and what they can do better next year. Often, coaches will turn to league winners for inspiration. During this process, they analyze film, look at stats, and explore ways to incorporate these insights into their own coaching strategies.
Your athletic booster club can apply these same principles to get better at fundraising during the off-season. On that note, let’s turn our attention to the Round Rock Volleyball booster club and how they’re delivering for student athletes with BoosterHub.
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Is SMS a Good Way to Communicate with Donors and Booster Club Members?
Finding effective ways to communicate with donors and members is a problem as old as your school’s rivalry with the neighboring high school football team. And just like that generation-spanning rivalry, you never seem to be able to maintain the upper hand for long.
During your time as an athletic booster club member, you’ve probably tried a variety of communication techniques, from phone calls to flyers and even email. If that’s the case, you know that none of these strategies are especially effective for relaying information to your membership.
While you’ve probably considered using SMS messaging to talk to donors and booster club members, you may be hesitant to make yet another change to your communication strategy. But trust us — SMS messaging is the way to go. With the right SMS messaging tools in place, you can effortlessly share information, keep parents in the loop about upcoming events, and make 2023 your most productive fundraising year ever.