Music Ed Mentor Podcast #020: Parent Booster Groups

Music Ed Mentor Podcast #020: Parent Booster Groups

I’m a huge fan of parent booster groups. They can really help promote your program, make fundraising easier, and engage your community. Joining me to talk about booster groups this week is Ryan Crabtree, president-elect of the Colorado Bandmasters Association. More importantly, however, Ryan is my daughter’s band director. Since I’m an active member of Ryan’s parent booster organization, you’ll also get some behind-the-scenes glimpses at how and why Ryan’s approach works so well.

Ryan built our booster program from scratch. His success demonstrates how it is totally worth the effort. We’re talking about five-digit fundraising, covering travel for 130 students. Even if you already have a booster organization, you’ll want to hear Ryan’s ideas on how to accomplish more with less effort.

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In This Episode, You’ll Learn How To:

  • Start a parent booster group from scratch
  • Form the non-profit corporation for your booster program
  • Manage schedules, meetings, and booster group leadership
  • Make positive changes to your existing booster group if things aren’t organized

Setting up a Booster Group

I’ve compiled all my booster group research, including my own experiences working in nonprofits and getting 501(c)3 status into a free ebook titled The Music Booster Manual. It includes sample bylaws, membership forms, and an Excel template you can use for financial reporting. Download it here. [hyperlink]
Download the manual here

Three Key Takeaways

“Waiting on the feds is a process, but it’s worth it.”

Make sure that your booster organization is a 501(c)3. The process can take some time, but by formally declaring that your organization is a nonprofit (rather than a business) people can deduct donations to your booster program as charitable giving, and you won’t have a pay taxes on purchases your booster organization makes.

“As captain of the ship it’s critical that you’re there.”

Ryan’s ten board members meet roughly once a month, and he makes a point to be there at every meeting. Whether you are a voting member of the booster board or not, it’s critical that you’re there to advocate for students, work hard for kids, and foster the relationships with active parents that lead to a strong booster group.

“When a new director is getting to know an existing booster group, read the situation.”

Be careful not to alienate a booster group! Check the bylaws and see if you can ride out the term of a board member who isn’t contributing in the way you want, or if this is a relationship you need to work on to figure out how to make things work together. Sharing your vision as a band director can go a long way. When the board supports your vision it’s much easier to work together to improve the program. Stay patient!


Elisa Janson Jones specializes in helping music educators build, grow, and manage thriving school music programs. With an MBA alongside her degree in music, she is also a coach and consultant to small businesses and nonprofits around the country, and serves as the conductor of her local community band. She has been teaching music for nearly 20 years and currently holds the prestigious position of elementary music teacher at a private K-8 Catholic School in Grand Junction, Colorado. Elisa was a top presenter at the NAfME National Conference in 2017 and will be presenting at state conferences in 2018. She is the founder of the International Music Education Summit and the author of The Music Educator’s Guide to Thrive.

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