Director, Association of Washington Student Leaders


Washington State Booster Club Association

Associated Student Body:  Laws, Rules, Regulations for Washington State Schools

Guidelines for School Administrators, Athletic Directors, Activity Advisers and Student Officers

Fundraising Information

Booster Club Review

Guidelines for Parent Groups/Booster Clubs

Groups Commonly Associated with Schools

  • Parent Teacher Associations (PTA) (PTSA)
  • Parent Teacher Organizations (PTO)
  • Booster Clubs (Sports, Music, Arts, Robotics. JROTC)
  • Alumni Groups
  • Scholarship Committees
  • Parent-sponsored Senior Class-Trip Committees
  • Charitable Organizations
  • Summer Athletic Teams
Parent support groups, in cooperation with the school administrative staff, can be wonderful assets in enriching the school climate with volunteer help and donations. The Principal at the local school building is usually the parent support groups first point of contact. It’s important for parent support groups to remember that they are there to complement the school’s programs and not interfere with the decisions made at the building by the Principal or Athletic Director or the Central Administration.

PTA and PTSA are proprietary names and are registered service marks. Parent Support Groups may only use PTA/PTSA if they are registered with the National Congress of Parents and Teachers and the Washington State PTA. The PTA and PTSA are a local, self-governing, nonprofit, and usually tax exempt membership association with their own set of bylaws, elected officers and membership.

Booster Clubs are either internally administrated by the School District or separate entities from the school and school district. In both scenarios, booster clubs can generally be found supporting the athletic, music, arts, robotics and JROTC programs of a specific school.

All internal booster clubs, those ran and administrated under the school districts tax exempt status, are governed by the school districts policies and procedures. All money is handled and distributed through the school’s Athletic Director. As the sole-source financial manager for internal booster clubs funds, the Athletic Director is responsible for maintaining a single accounting that ensure district, state and Title IX procedures compliance.

All separate booster clubs seeking to be recognized as an external entity need to adhere to the following:

  1. Current status and compliance with the state secretary as an incorporated non-profit entity.
  2. Current status and compliance as a 501c3.
  3. Current status of liability insurance, naming district as additional insured.
  4. Accounting procedures that ensure Generally Accepted Accounting Principles (GAAP) procedures compliance.
  5. Signed acceptance of district – external group agreement and compliance with all annual reporting requirements and terms.

Parent support groups must also follow local school district policies and procedures, especially when renting district facilities, gifting donations, or involving student groups. Parent support groups need to be aware of equity issues when donating money and/or equipment to the school’s athletic teams. Title IX issues for equity come into play when donations favor one segment of athletics over another, i.e. boy’s sport’s over girl’s sport’s. When parent support groups and school administration work together in a positive way, the benefits that come back to the school program and the students are valuable and rewarding.
Annual Parent Support Group Checklist

It’s important that parent support groups hold annual executive team planning meetings to go over the various requirements both district, state and federal. The following topics outline the areas parent support groups should be addressing annually.

  • Corporate Book
    • Current organizational by-laws (review-amendments)
    • Articles of Incorporation with Secretary of State stamp
    • IRS Tax exempt request letter and/or Tax determination letter
    • IRS Tax Identification # (EIN)
    • Annual Renewal filed – state secretary
    • 990 filed – IRS
    • Bank Accounts – signers
  • General Liability Insurance
  • School District – External Support Group Agreement
    • Current list of officers
    • Fundraiser approval
    • Budget review – approval
    • Facility use permits/approvals
  • Accounting
    • Annual Budget – past, proposed, approved
    • Treasurers Reports
    • Checking Account –
      • monthly officer audit
      • Double Signatures
    • Funds request/approval – process review
  • Meetings
    • General Meeting Schedule
      • Agenda
      • Minutes – books
    • Executive Board Schedule
    • School Overseer meeting
  • Membership
    • Code of Ethics
    • Member in Good Standing - review
    • Membership drive
  • Fundraising
    • IFA account review
    • Fundraising Calendar
    • School approval
  • Officer Transition
    • Nominations – Elections - Installation
    • Change of statutory agent – state secretary
    • By-laws – review; amendments
    • Officer Books
  • Inventory of equipment
  • Any other agreements
  • Health cards (if food is sold)

Resources for Parent Support Groups

Resource Description
National database of non-profit organizations

Connecting people with nonprofit information since 1994, GuideStar offers basic, in-depth, and customized data services on almost 1 million U.S. nonprofits.
Independent Sector https://www.independentsector.org/

A coalition of leading non-profits, foundations, and corporations strengthening not for profit initiative, philanthropy, and citizen action.
Charity Navigator
Your guide to intelligent giving

America's premiere independent charity evaluator works to advance a more efficient and responsive philanthropic marketplace by evaluating the financial health of America's largest charities.
Internet Nonprofit Center
Information for and about non-profits

The Internet Nonprofit Center is a project of The Evergreen State Society based in Seattle, Washington, USA. The Internet Nonprofit Center is the home of the Nonprofit FAQ. The FAQ is based on "frequently asked questions" – and their answers – drawn from the 'Nonprofit' email discussion forum.
Internal Revenue Service https://www.irs.gov/

See form 1023 or 1023ez for application, and 990 to report income/expenses.
Secretary of State https://www.secstate.wa.gov/charities

Washington State laws (WAC/RCWs) regarding charitable solicitations and trusts.
Washington State Booster Club Association (WSBCA) https://www.wsbca.org/ Statewide Booster Club association providing booster club guidance, education, training and support to booster clubs and school administrators. Booster Basics and Compliance Best Practice workshops facilitator statewide.

Washington State PTA
Every child. One voice.

We are people of all ages improving the education, safety, and health of children. Join us in building a better world for children.
Washington Association of School Business Officials https://www.wasbo.org/

IRS Overview: Forming a non-profit and Tax Exempt 501c3 Organization

Parent Support Groups who seek to support school based programs are asked to become 501c3 organizations. The initial steps begin with registration with the Washington Secretary of State's office.

The first step involves filing the Articles of Incorporation to form a domestic non-profit corporation in the state of WA. The articles can be filed online and the filing fee is $50. If filed via mail the filing fee is $30 and they are processed in the order received. In both cases groups need to insure that their articles meet the IRS regulations for 501c3.

The second application filed with the state of WA is the application registering as a charitable organization. This application needs to be filed when an organization’s annual revenues exceed $50,000.

To file online Articles of Incorporation with the Secretary of State's office, the website is:

and to register your group with the Charitable program, the website is: https://www.sos.wa.gov/charities/.

In addition to the filing of the Articles of Incorporation, the parent support group will need to secure its on Employer Identification Number (EIN). To apply use Form SS-4, Application for Employer Identification Number. This is done online via the IRS website. There is no fee charged to secure an EIN, but the individual applying will need to provide their social security number to validate that they are a U.S. citizen. The SS-4 form can be found online at: https://tax-irs-ein.com/application/non-profit.

Once the parent support group has received it’s approved articles of incorporation from the Washington Secretary and its EIN from the IRS, it can complete IRS Form 1023 or 1023ez – Application for Recognition of Exemption. The cost to apply will depend upon which application the parent support group completed. For all groups with revenues under $50,000 annually they can file form 1023ez, and will be required to pay an online fee of $275. For all groups with revenues in excess of $50,000 annually, they will be required to complete form 1023, which will require a payment of $875. The process for the IRS to determine the organizations tax exempt status takes on average 6 weeks if filing the 1023ez and 6 to 9 months if filing the 1023. To complete the 1023ez form visit the IRS website at: https://www.pay.gov/public/form/start/62759871. To access the 1023 application visit the IRS website at: https://www.irs.gov/pub/irs-pdf/f1023.pdf.

The IRS now requires all organizations seeking 501c3 status to file annual 990 forms regardless of the amount of revenues annually – even those with no revenues annually.

All support parent groups seeking to become tax exempt 501c3 organizations can access the Washington State Booster Club Association (WSBCA) for step-by-step guidance and resources to each step and process from pre-formation to tax exemption. The association also provides those organizations who elect to become members with discounted insurance, training workshops and hands on support from trained Club Advisors. Their website is: www.wsbca.org. Membership dues are $95 for low income, inner city and Title 1 affiliated groups and $195 for general members.

Non-Profit vs. Tax Exempt Clarification

Parent Support Groups sometimes confuse the filing and benefits of a non-profit corporation with that of a tax exempt 501c3 organization. Only organizations who have completed the IRS form 1023 or 1023ez, and who have received a letter of recognition from the IRS acknowledging approval as a tax exempt 501c3 organization can take advantage of the many benefits associated with 501c3 status, which include: exemption from federal income tax, exemption from federal unemployment taxes, State sales tax exemptions, limited property, Business and Occupation, and other excise taxes, bulk mailing permits, foundation grants, deductible contributions from donors.

Parent Group or ASB Activity?

Many factors come into play when determining whether an activity is ASB or when it can be conducted for a Parent Group.

To be a parent group activity the activity must be:

  • Planned
  • Managed
  • Operated solely under the direction of the parent group
  • School Board policies ensure the parent group is a “real”
  • entity, and can handle the responsibility and the liability
  • Uses district facilities per district policy
  • Fund-raiser and ASB money will not be commingled

What turns a bona-fide parent group fundraiser into an ASB activity?

  • The cash receipts are given to the school ASB secretary
  • The cash receipts are stored in the school safe
  • The students handle the cash receipting reconciliation process
  • The inventory is purchased by the ASB... Student officer signs a purchase order
  • The school district holds and inventories the goods for resale
  • A majority of the work is performed by the students...was it really "operated" by the parent group?
  • The parent group uses the school name (without adding "boosters")
  • Money is placed into a district bank account
  • School district personnel are involved during staff time

The following graph will help to walk groups through the process of determining what qualifies an activity to be ASB or Parent Group:

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