A continuation of the series Breaking the Bundle! A Guide to Organizing a Booster Organization

Order is the central premise of organizing the entire parents group. Once that basic board with its officers and members at large are decided upon, it is then time to organize the remaining parents into teams, or what used to be referred to as committees.

You might ask, why did you say teams and not committees?

Thank you for asking. I have an answer.

Years back in my work as Co-President with the Alan C. Pope Band Boosters, I was concerned that we could not find band parents to staff our many needed committees and committee chair positions. The board positions were easily filled but we struggled to the point of pleading to find committee people and chairs; it was almost easier for the board to do it without committees.

The booster group had plenty of parents; they came to the events; they came to the booster meetings, but yet, we had no parents volunteering for committees and chairs. I was ready to fling my hands in despair.

It was then that I was invited to attend a booster organization training meeting, “Boosters to the Rescue”, hosted by David W. Vandewalker. . . then, the director at Harrison High School in Kennesaw, Georgia. . .now, the Assistant Director of Bands at Georgia State University, Atlanta, Georgia. He had our answer.

“So, Mrs. Mourdock, you can’t fill your positions on committees and chairs. You do call them committees?”

“Yes, Sir.” I said not comprehending that might be a bad thing.

“Therein is the problem. From this point on refer to them as teams and team coordinators.”

While visualizing my eyes rolling upwards and while thinking in my most sarcastic voice, I said to myself, “Sure, Mr. Vandewalker, that will make the difference.”

The next week, I began to prepare the agenda for the next general meeting. Yes, of course, we needed people, especially men, for committees and chairs. I remembered the word change that had been recommended the week before but ignored it when I listed committees and chairs as a discussion item for that meeting. Just before hitting the print button, I decided to change committees to teams and chairs to team coordinator. What a wise decision that proved to be. That very night, all team coordinator slots were filled and many names appeared on the committees. . . What was most interesting to me?. . .Most of the names belonged to MEN!

Using contemporary vernacular made the difference. “Team” and “team coordinators” are terms used in Corporate America; these words conjured changed images to the parents. No longer did they visualize boring meetings where they sat in a circle on chairs that they would have to stack up afterwards, but now they saw a group of associates working together under the leadership of a team captain who would motivate them to success. This image encouraged many of those who had been reluctant to join forces with us to now step forward and to actively join the ranks of band parenthood.

We also learned people were more likely to sign up for teams when basic information was presented to them. A brief description of each team needs to be written stating the following:

• What are the responsibilities of this team?

• How often does this team perform its duties?

• Where does this team perform it duties?

• Who is the current team coordinator?

When booster members can have the answers to the above questions, they will know if they want to volunteer their time and effort for a particular team. Success rates of a team are much higher when they know what they committing themselves to do.

It was a simple change, but it was a mighty change. The membership saw themselves as a component of an active and vital team working to for the interests of the entire booster organization. I am ever grateful to that workshop of Mr. Vandewalker. Thank you!

Read the article Stick Three: Understanding the Team Concept, found in the Organization section under the Resouce tab, for sample teams and their assignment to the appropriate members at large.  Marsha describes how one team can serve multiple events to save the time finding new people to do the work that someone has already done for another event.  She describes a succession plan and offers sample descriptions.

David Vandewalker’s Boosters to the Rescue! manual and CD may be purchased from the AMP on-line store at a discounted rate to AMP members.

Come back next week for STICK FOUR: UNDERSTANDING THE FORMATION of TEAMS. Find all the Breaking the Bundle posts here.