If you want to build a better booster club, raise more money and boost your high school arts or athletics activity’s success, make sure to sponsor and support youth programs for your particular sport or activity – both at the local level and within your feeder elementary and middle schools.
This can and should be done in multiple ways:
Offer regular clinics to youth and youth coaches. Sponsor an annual youth clinic or camp for your particular program or activity. Involve coaches or directors from both your youth programs and current high school program. Ask players or current program participants and prominent program alumni for help in conducting it. Teach basic fundamentals and skills at these youth clinics or camps, which are good for both your youth program participants and the coaches or directors who instruct them. Hold a lot of competitions and games, give out participation gifts and prizes and most of all, HAVE FUN so the youth will be drawn to your high school and program.
Sponsor a youth and youth parent pre-season or performance event. Another great way to expose and draw youth program participants and their parents into your particular high school arts or athletic activity is to hold an annual pre-season game or performance event that they are invited to and will in some way participate in. Make sure to make a BIG DEAL out of this event too. Hold the event in your actual performance venue, have the youth warm up with your high school players or participants, conduct the activity like a real performance game or event and hold an autograph and photo-taking session after the event. This will create some hero worshipping on the part of the youth and will boost the egos of your high schools players or performers, which will help in their later performances too.
Sponsor a youth day at the game or performance event. In addition to a pre-season performance or event, you should also hold a special youth/youth parents day at an actual performance, game or event where the youth and their parents might get in free or at a reduced rate, receive some special game or performance day giveaway and will be introduced in some prominent way at the game, performance or event.
Send out and feature youth activities in your program website and/or newsletter. If you have a website for your program or activity and a mailed or electronic newsletter that you regularly send out (which you should have and do), devote a portion of this site or newsletter to featuring youth program news, and do a good job of covering youth program activities and accomplishments.
Send out birthday, holiday and special occasion cards to youth and youth parents. This is self-explanatory and a simple thing to do if you have a good contact management database, especially those designed for non-profit and, ideally, booster club use.
Give a portion of your income to your feeder programs and schools. Always give and say that you are going to give a portion of what you raise (I suggest a minimum of 10%) to support your feeder programs and schools. This is usually needed and very much appreciated by youth coaches, program directors, players and participants as well as their parents, and it gives you a reason to ask them to support your program too.
Recruit a youth program chairperson and make this committee a standard committee on your booster club board. This person and the committee they recruit should initiate and oversee all activities involving your feeder program or school youth.
By making this a standing position and standard committee of your board and changing your booster club bylaws to reflect this, it will help to assure that the focus of these activities will continue in future years.
Following these simple suggestions will help you to build or strengthen a bond between your high school program or activity and the youth programs for your activity both at the local level and in your feeder school. This, in turn, will benefit your program immediately financially, and eventually, it will result in increased numbers to both program participants and fans when these youth and their parents get to high school.