When I became president of the Blackman High School Band Boosters, I was beaming with enthusiasm. However, I had never led a student support organization. There were many aspects of a nonprofit where I simply did not know what I didn’t know. So I quickly became a “student of leadership.” Here’s what I learned.
The booster club president is the chief executive officer and sets the tone for the organization. He or she oversees the organization’s operations and is accountable for its actions. The booster president typically:
- Presides over all meetings
- Oversees all aspects of the organization
- Appoints committees
- Chairs the executive team
- Enforces the organization’s bylaws
- Resolves problems in the membership
- Regularly reviews the organization’s finances with the treasurer
- Schedules an annual or special audit of records
While all of these tasks are necessary, what really sets an exceptional president apart from the rest? What skills are required to inspire and lead the organization toward a common purpose?
Five Attributes of an Effective Booster President
- Passion. Robert Steven Kaplan says, “Passion is the rocket fuel that helps you perform at your best… It is hard to perform at a high level for a sustained period of time without passion for what you are doing.” At times, there will be undesirable and unglamorous tasks, bad days, and occasions when you just don’t feel like leading. This is when your passion to serve the students will motivate you to persevere.
During the recession of 2009 (when the government was bailing-out American automakers), a local car dealer told a reporter, “the trouble at ‘XYZ Motors’ is that no one wakes up every morning with the ‘Diamond’ brand on their mind.” As the booster club’s executive leader, you must be the one who wakes up every morning with the best interest of your students, program, and organization on your mind. No one else in the organization has this responsibility.
- Inspiration. The booster president inspires others to serve. When you lead with passion, others will see that you care and will be inspired to volunteer. It is vitally important to maintain a positive attitude because you set the tone for the entire organization.
- Servant leadership. Effective booster presidents lead by example. If you expect your parents to spend a certain number of hours fundraising (working a concession stand, etc.), then you should be one of the first to work your hours as well. There should be no “executive privileges” for the booster president.
Think about it this way; the students in your program are expected to perform with a competitive attitude. Whether on the field or in the performance hall, they are driven to give their all. Shouldn’t we serve with the same level of intensity we expect from our students? Lead by example, and walk the talk.
- Transparency. In order to build trust with your volunteers, you must operate transparently. Say what you’ll do and do what you say. If you make a mistake, admit it and move on. Communicate openly, and keep calm if things aren’t going your way. Transparent interactions reveal your true character and show others that you care.
- Influence. When you begin to demonstrate the first four attributes, you will build credibility with your volunteers. As people begin to respect your leadership, they will be compelled to follow your vision for the future. In a volunteer setting, their respect for your leadership will give you the relationship power necessary to run the organization.
When you lead by these five attributes, you’ll begin see your influence grow and your booster club thrive. And if you find this helpful, I have even more to share with you.
I have written The Booster Leader, 35 Leadership Essentials for a Thriving Booster Organization. The Booster Leader consists of…
- Thirty-five proven leadership essentials that are quick and easy to implement
- Eighteen inspirational stories that bring the leadership essentials to life
- A twenty-nine point checklist to help you identify risks that may jeopardize your organization if not properly addressed (and the answers to help you resolve every issue!)
Now is the time to start leading your own thriving booster organization. In The Booster Leader, I show you exactly how to do it!
Question: What opportunities will a thriving booster organization offer your students? You can leave a comment by clicking here.