Booster Organization- Today I want to address the fact that we are all busy. For example, we plan lessons, complete paperwork, send emails, make phone calls, attend meetings, perform at concerts, go to football games and we always feel there is more to do.
Starting a Booster Organization
Does this give us the quality time we need to teach effectively? More importantly, is our work worth sacrificing the limited time we have with our families? For some of us, our workload is a heavy burden that affects our health and throws our personal lives into a tailspin. Fortunately, the BOOSTERS are here to save the day!
Above all, if you are willing to allow others to help you, booster volunteer organizations can:
- Create programs and multi-media material
- Implement hospitality events
- Chaperone and provide transportation
- Provide meals for students and staff
- Develop your music program’s website
- Arrange some of the spring trip logistics
- Organize generalized logistics
- Copy music
- Record Performances
- Serve as volunteer staff crew members
- Help recruit
- Communicate with and amongst other school organizations
- Pick up custom-made shirts and other materials
- Provide physical labor
I taught in two school systems that had different philosophies about having booster organizations. Most administrators, I worked with, respected the positive benefits booster programs can have on a music program. The 17 years I taught at a competitive high school were only possible with the physical and moral support my band booster parents provided me.
Unfortunately, there are red flags to watch out for in some community programs. In some communities, parents must work around the clock just to put food on the table. As a result, parent participation is limited to a few committed parents. That is to say, this is where 20% of the parents do 80% of the work.
In contrast, some parent volunteers are extremely involved in their child’s music program. As a music professional, some would give their kidney to get this type of support. Moreover, a word of caution, parents -like their children- like to stay involved and tend to be socially natured creatures. Sometimes parent personal agendas will operate contrary to the mission of the music program which is supposed to be lead by the music director. In addition, remember the purpose of the booster organization is to do what is needed to support the music program, under the direction of the music director.
Let’s Get Started
Do you want to start a music booster organization? Great to hear! I feel the pros completely outweigh the cons.
- First, file for 501(c)3 non-profit status. Research, time and approximately $100-$800 (depending on the state you live in) will be required to legally conduct the financial business you will need to implement within a booster organization.
- Decide on a plan. In other words, this plan should outline how to operate a fiscally responsible booster organization. This approach includes a priority based process that meets the goals of the organization.
- Utilize the gifts of your booster parents. Everyone has something to offer your program: time money or special skills. Communicate with your boosters so that your organization will benefit.
- Remember COMMUNICATION is KEY. Successes and problems result from your ability (or lack of) to communicate. Find multiple ways to communicate. A balance of communication techniques will help make sure your message is received.
- Research what works. Learn from others and incorporate their successes into your program. If you plan to attempt a new process and it doesn’t to work… at least you know you don’t want to do that again. BUT if a technique works, then you have enhanced the value of your program.
- Document, Document, Document. When dealing with groups of volunteers, it is important to document data and communications. Documenting helps you remember how to replicate a process that worked in the past and also provides evidence of a practice that may come into question. Work smart-document!
In conclusion, I certainly recommend starting a booster organization. Moreover, know that booster programs require a lot of work and nurturing to be successful. Love and support your volunteers and the benefits will payout tenfold.
Thank you again for joining me. Please feel free to leave feedback and spread the word of the “Band Buzz” Blog. Remember music can change the world… (and you can too!)