How to Grow Your J-Program by Taking Advantage of Your Greatest Resource: Parents


Spaghetti supper from last year (election day, November 2012). The parents collected donations, advertised the spaghetti supper and worked in shifts from 8 a.m. to 8:30 p.m. preparing food and selling and delivering plates. This is a student account fundraiser, and more than $2,000 was raised that day. Pictured above front to back: Erin Root, Mary Ann White, Sarah Beth Messer and Debbie Messer.

Most schools have booster clubs for athletics, band and – if they’re lucky – academics. So why not a J-Booster?
Below are some tips to help you get started.
1. Talk to your principal. Some schools have policies regarding boosters, and some require groups to have a constitution in place.
2. Send information home in your parent letter at the beginning of each semester or year. Get parents onboard early by scheduling your first meeting soon after school starts. If you can, plan it for the block of time immediately before or after open house since they will likely be at school already. Meet often enough that parents remember they are part of the group but not so often that it becomes burdensome. Consider meeting quarterly and calling special meetings while planning fundraisers.
3. Elect officers. Remember this is a parent organization, so they are the decision-making body. If you have enough parents involved, elect a president, vice-president, secretary, treasurer and financial officer. Having multiple people responsible for the finances acts as a safeguard for those involved with handling the money that passes through the program.
4. Establish a separate account at a local bank. This ensures the funds cannot be deemed part of the school’s finances.
5. Plan fundraisers that benefit the students and the program. Designate fundraiser opportunities as being deposited into student accounts or for the general fund. Establish policies for how student account money can be spent and what happens to it after graduation. Can it be used for spending money on field trips? Can they take it with them after they graduate? Can it be passed on to siblings or other relatives? Will the leftover money be transferred to the general fund?
6. Encourage parents to help in ways other than fundraising. Have them bring dinner on staff deadline nights. Ask them to chaperone trips and/or help with transportation. Let them help with advertising your program and its needs in the community.