Bill Lennon

Booster clubs are becoming increasingly important to the operations of many teams and organizations. Because one of the main functions of a booster club is to raise money, it’s important that it has a bank account set up properly. It is essential that this bank account is NOT a personal bank account.

By setting up the bank account in the booster club’s name, you ensure that the tax and liability considerations do not fall on one individual. In this blog post, we’ll walk you through what is necessary for setting up a bank account in the club’s name.

Things to Consider Before Opening A Booster Club Bank Account

We recommend incorporating your booster club and applying for 501(c)(3) status before applying for a team bank account. Incorporating ensures that in the case of a lawsuit, the assets of the team are separate from the personal assets of the directors of your team. Gaining 501(c)(3) status will exempt your booster club from paying federal taxes.

If you need more information, there are organizations like https://parentbooster.org/ that help booster clubs with processes such as incorporation and gaining tax-exempt status.

What You Need To Open a Team Bank Account

We suggest that you check with banks in your area for specific requirements, but we have found that most banks require four things to open a bank account in the booster club’s name:

  1. Tax ID number/ Employer Identification Number (EIN) for the booster club
  2. 2 Forms of Identification & Social Security Number for Each Person on the account
  3. Articles of Incorporation or Bylaws document
  4. Minimum Deposit

Tax ID Number/EIN

When you apply for incorporation and 501(c)(3) status, you will need to get a tax ID number or EIN (Employer Identification Number) before filling out the application. This number identifies the organization and will be needed to open the bank account in the booster club’s name. Even if you choose not to incorporate, you will still need this to open a bank account. To apply for an EIN, complete an “SS-4” application through the Internal Revenue Service. Click here to request an EIN through the IRS website.

Identification & Social Security Numbers

The most common way to open a bank account for a booster club is in-person. Each member of the organization who will be listed on the account will need to be present and bring two forms of identification. Most commonly, one of the forms of identification will need to have a photo, such as a driver’s license or passport. Each member will also need to know their social security number as this will be a part of the account paperwork. Check with the branch to confirm acceptable forms of ID.

If you find a bank willing to set up the account over the phone, the person opening the account via phone will need to gather information from the others who will be on the account. Typically, this information will include their full name, social security number, date of birth, and current street address.

Articles of Incorporation or Bylaws Document

An Articles of Incorporation/Bylaws document or similar legal document is often required as proof of the organization’s existence. The document should include the team name, the date the organization was formed, and the names of the team’s officers which will sign for the bank account. Some banks will accept Meeting Minutes documents, EIN paperwork, or an IRS non-profit status letter as acceptable alternatives to the Articles & Bylaws documentation.

Minimum Deposit

While not every bank has a minimum deposit requirement, many banks that we talked to required a minimum deposit ranging from $25 to $100 to open a new bank account. Depending on the bank, this may be due at the time of opening the account, or you may be able to make the deposit within a designated time period, such as within 60 days.

What To Look For In A Bank Account For Your Booster Club

A good booster club bank account should have low fees and offer all of the perks of a normal bank account, including features such as: a debit card, online banking, checks, and mobile deposits. If you have earned non-profit status, be sure to mention that when looking at potential bank accounts, as they may have different accounts available to you.

It’s important to get a thorough understanding of the features of the bank account before you apply.  Make sure to find an account that will allow you to make all of the transactions that you need to process on a monthly basis, as some bank accounts have limits on cash deposits or the total number of transactions. Be sure to ask about monthly fees, and if there are fees, ask what criteria must be met in order to waive them.

Open a Digital Bank Account with Snap! Spend

Here at Snap! Spend, we’re dedicated to making managing your booster club’s money easy, starting with opening a bank account. Snap! Spend’s digital banking platform gives you an online bank account with built in online payments to collect dues and budgeting tools to track spending. It’s the easiest way to manage your club’s money.

So, you’ve decided to use Snap! Spend for your upcoming season and are looking forward to a life free of chasing down checks. Not so fast. Snap! Spend is a powerful tool that can help you achieve this, but only if you use it right.

Here are our top tips for teams to succeed with Snap! Spend this season.

Set up your account in advance

You’ll want to sign up for your Snap! Spend account a few days before you start collecting. Once your account is activated, you’ll be able to start setting up teams and customizing player payments immediately. However, we need to verify your bank account before parents can start paying, and that takes about two business days. Be sure to give yourself enough time and signup in advance.

Let parents know about Snap! Spend

Give parents a heads-up that you’ll be using Snap! Spend this season and that you will provide them with an email invitation or signup link. If you’d like a template email to use, let us know and we’ll provide one.

Use Snap! Spend to collect all of your fees

We want to make your collections headaches a thing of the past. That’s why we’ve poured our heart into building Snap! Spend . To get the most out of Snap! Spend , you have to go all in and make it the only way you collect payments. If Snap! Spend is just another way for parents to pay, you’re still going to be chasing checks. Let parents know that all payments will be collected online through Snap! Spend.

Collect a non-refundable deposit

Non-refundable deposits are great for a number of reasons. They give players the ability to reserve their spot on the team and force indecisive players to make a decision and stop shopping around. Collecting a deposit is also the easiest way to get parents signed up to Snap! Spend and in the system. To pay your deposit you have to pay online, to pay online you have to signup to Snap! Spend. Once parents are signed up, they’re either paid up in full or on autopay which makes your life easier for the rest of the season.

Open a Digital Bank Account with Snap! Spend

Here at Snap! Spend, we’re dedicated to making managing your club’s money easy, starting with opening a bank account. Snap! Spend’s digital banking platform gives you an online bank account with built in online payments to collect dues and budgeting tools to track spending. It’s the easiest way to manage your club’s money.

We’ve talked to hundreds of youth sports teams from every major sport and found that everyone struggles with the same problem: collecting team dues from parents. Anyone who’s been in the position of collecting for a team knows the hustle and frustration that goes into getting paid. Teams need the money to meet their obligations – paying for facility or field rentals, paying coaches, entering tournaments, granting scholarships, etc. Not getting paid can be a major blow to a team.

Most competitive youth sports programs spend 40+ hours every season collecting money and end the season with 5-10% unpaid dues. That’s a shame since most teams operate on extremely thin margins, and spending time collecting team fees distracts organizers from focusing their undivided attention on developing young athletes.

Over the course of our discussions, we found a select few programs who solved the collections problem with ease. They spend 2-3 hours per season collecting and have less than 2% unpaid dues. Here are the secrets we learned from them and used to design Snap! Spend.

They have a system to stay organized

Teams that collect with ease have a system for keeping themselves and parents organized. Teams quickly know how much they’ve collected, how much is left to collect and who owes what. They can effectively track payments, create custom payment plans and grant scholarships without losing checks or forgetting to record who’s paid.

On the flip side, parents know exactly what they owe and when. They also have a convenient way to pay. Participating on a team is a commitment from both players and parents. Players are expected to be at practice on time and parents are expected pay on time.

Paying is convenient and automated

The most common reason fees go unpaid is because they are forgotten. Either parents don’t know what they owe or when, or they don’t have a convenient way of getting organizers the money. Parents are busy juggling a million things and remembering to write a paper check and deliver it is a hassle.

Teams that collect on-time and in-full have parents enroll in automatic electronic payments, just like a monthly gym membership. Teams communicate that being part of the team is a serious financial commitment and without their support the team can’t operate effectively. Signing up to pay is easy for parents; they provide their preferred payment method up front and are billed automatically throughout the season. Even better, they receive automatic reminders before they’re billed.

The result: month-after-month, the money needed to run your team automatically appears in your bank account.

Enrollment is required to join the team

Getting parents enrolled in the system of automatic payments is the most important step. Once they’re setup, 95% are on autopilot for the rest of the season. The other 5% need to occasionally update their payment method or work with you to delay or modify a payment. Making enrollment in your payment system a requirement to be on the team is the most important thing you can do to streamline your collections. Rip the bandaid off once at the start of season and save yourself the headache of doing it every month.

They’re compassionate

Life happens and families experience setbacks. A loss of a job or an unexpected expense can come up throughout the course of the season. Sometimes parents just don’t have the money this month. The best teams encourage parents to engage with them from the start. They’re willing to work together to make sure that the team gets paid in a way that works for the parent’s budget. Teams have flexibility to delay payments, split payments up, spread them over a longer period of time or even forgive a payment. As long as teams know their budget and have an easy way to track and manage it, they can work with the parent to find a solution that works for everyone.

Bonus: cut cash and coaches out of the equation

By making payments automatic, teams cut the liability of coaches collecting payments and cash going missing out of the equation. Cash is too easy to lose or misplace. Sometimes it just disappears. The best teams have a clear money trail so these issues never happen. More importantly, coaches should be spending their time coaching, not collecting money or reminding parents to pay. Great teams know this.

Set up your own automated payment system in minutes, and save hours

While the teams we talked to put together a system of their own, it took a lot of time, cost a lot of money and required technical expertise to get started. That’s why we created Snap! Spend to make it easy for teams to stay organized and set up automatic payments in minutes.

Here at Snap! Spend, we’re dedicated to making managing your club’s money easy, starting with opening a bank account. Snap! Spend’s digital banking platform gives you an online bank account with built in online payments to collect dues and budgeting tools to track spending. It’s the easiest way to manage your club’s money.

Today I’m so excited to announce that Groundwork has been acquired by Snap! Mobile, Inc. makers of Snap Raise, the leading fundraising solution for teams, youth clubs, groups and schools.

Over the last few months, we’ve been in discussions with Snap Mobile about ways we could work together. Through that process three things became evident. First, we share a common vision and desire to have a positive impact on leaders in youth sports. Second, we share a lot of customers who get tremendous value from both products. And finally, by joining forces we can accelerate how quickly we achieve our shared vision.

I could not be more excited about this next chapter together.

A Bold Future Together

The first thing I want you to know is we are just getting started. If you like what we’ve done so far, just wait until you see what we have in store for you. Our goal is to give you tools that you’ve never had before that make your lives easier and enable you to better champion kids. Snap! Mobile, Inc. just announced a $90M financing led by Elysian Park Ventures that will give us the resources to build truly transformational solutions.

The second thing I want you to know is Snap Mobile is just like Groundwork in the most important ways and has an audacious vision to impact kids’ lives.  Snap Mobile is customer obsessed, mission driven, and led by a visionary founder. Cole Morgan, Cole began his journey on the football field as a college QB before transitioning to a fundraising product sales rep. After years of this work, he realized there had to be a better way, which led him to start Snap Raise and digitize fundraising. Because he’s experienced first-hand the issues with fundraising and managing youth sports, he’s committed to making a better solution for youth sports leaders.

Through this process, Cole and I have been in lockstep and I’m confident that our shared passion for innovation will push us to create a seamless product capable of enabling teams, clubs and organizations to successfully fundraise, track, manage and run wildly successful and transparent programs.

Charging Forward, Solving Key Needs

The third thing I want you to know is that our team will continue to charge forward on Groundwork. I will oversee the Groundwork product as the Vice President of Financial Technology and the incredibly passionate Groundwork team will join the Snap! team to continue to serve you. Our roadmap is still laser focused on the things you’ve told us are most important to you: income budgeting, receipt tracking and more user roles. And now, we’ll have more resources to get these features shipped even faster. In the long term, we’ll be integrating fundraising and other tools that will make your life easier.

Lastly, I couldn’t be more grateful for everyone who’s made this possible: our customers, employees, investors, and everyone who believed in us. I’d like to call out our amazing team who built Groundwork from the ground up: Aaron Simkin, Haw-minn Lu, Mike Tsui, Kevin Woodley, Katie Simon, Sam Raker, Emily Chau, Anthony Ho and Nick Bragg. Special thanks to my co-founder James Bergeron and our investors M2O Inc who supported us since the beginning. Thank you all for being a part of this journey.

Take a moment to learn more about Snap! Mobile and what the acquisition means for you.

Bill Lennon
Co-Founder & CEO, Groundwork
VP Financial Technology, Snap! Mobile, Inc.

In researching the best way to set up a team bank account for a youth sports team, we spoke to several banks and found out which accounts each bank offers to teams, as well as the terms and conditions of those accounts.

The relationship between sports teams and bank accounts is not an ideal one, as many of the fees require monthly balances or transactions throughout the entire year, while most sports teams operate on a seasonal basis.

With that said, here are the pros and cons of each of the four banks we talked to: Bank of America, US Bank, Wells Fargo, and Citibank. Keep in mind, your mileage may vary and banks change their pricing all the time.

Bank Of America

Bank of America offers the “Business Fundamentals” account to youth sports teams looking to set up a bank account in the team’s name. The team will be listed as an associated unincorporated non-business. Here are the pros and cons of this account:

Pros:

  • Online banking
  • Multiple people can sign for the account
  • Debit/credit card available (but separate application)

Cons:

  • $100 opening deposit
  • Monthly banking fee – Differs from state to state, but expect around $15 if requirements to waive fee aren’t met

How to Get Fees Waived:

To waive the monthly banking fee, the account must meet one of the following requirements:

  • Minimum daily balance of $3,000 during the month
  • Average daily balance of $5,000 during the month
  • If you have an organization with multiple accounts with Bank of America (perhaps one for each team), maintain a minimum daily balance of $15,000 during the month
  • Spend at least $250 on the team debit or credit card

With online banking, multiple signers, and the ability to apply for a team debit or credit card, Bank of America’s “Business Fundamentals” account can be a good option for youth sports teams. However, it can be difficult for teams to meet the requirements to waive the monthly banking fee, especially when outside of their season.

US Bank

US Bank offers the “US Bank Silver Business Package” to clubs and teams with no monthly charge. While the account does have a few restrictions, no monthly management fee makes this an enticing option for youth sports teams.

Pros

  • No monthly fees
  • Online Banking
  • Team Debit Card
  • No minimum balance required

Cons

  • $100 opening deposit
  • Only 30 deposits per month allowed
  • Only one owner and one signer with limited access allowed on account

This offering from US Bank is enticing for teams who want a basic bank account with no fees. However, larger organizations may run into an issue with only 30 deposits allowed per month if you’re collecting a lot of player dues by check. Finally, it’s unfortunate that the account only allows one owner and one signer, as this limited access does not make easy the financial transparency and flexibility that many teams strive for.

Wells Fargo

Wells Fargo offers two options for your youth sports banking needs. First, their “Simple Business Checking” account, and secondly, their “Business Choice Checking” account. The two accounts differ in their fees and restrictions, but you can upgrade or downgrade if you realize the other account may better suit your team’s needs.

Pros

  • Minimum deposit is just $25
  • Monthly management fee is waived for the first two months
  • Online Banking
  • Team Debit Card
  • Easy to switch between Simple Business & Business Choice account

Cons

  • Monthly banking fee – $10/month for Simple Business, $14/month for Business Choice
  • Limit on transactions – 50 transactions/month for Simple Business, 200 transactions/month for Business Choice
  • $0.50 per transaction after this transaction limit is met
  • Limit on cash deposits
  • $3,000 in cash deposits/month for Simple Business, $7,500 in cash deposits/month for Business Choice
  • $0.30 per $100 cash deposited after deposit limit is met

Ways to Waive Monthly Banking Fee

  • Use business debit card at least 10 times/month
  • Maintain a $500 average ledger balance for the Simple Business account; maintain a $7,500 average ledger balance for the Business Choice account

Wells Fargo’s offerings make it easy for a youth sports team or organization to get up and going with a team bank account without many up-front costs. The accounts do come with a monthly fee, but the requirements to waive these fees are relatively easy to achieve compared to some other banks. Finally, keep in mind that there are transaction limits, so you may have to monitor how often your account is being used each month.

Citibank

Citibank offers the Small Business Streamlined Checking account to youth sports organizations looking to open an account. This account offers a lot of transparency as it allows many different people in the organization to have access to the account. However, Citibank does not operate in all states, so you have to make sure there is a branch near you.

Pros

  • No initial deposit
  • Multiple signers on the account (up to 99)
  • Online banking
  • Non-signers can have online access

Cons

  • Monthly banking fee – approximately $17
  • Transaction limit – 250/month
  • Limited locations
  • Difficult to waive monthly banking fee

How to Waive Monthly Banking Fee:

  • Must have average daily ledger balance of at least $5,000

While the transparency of the account is attractive, the limited locations and monthly banking fee can make the Streamlined Checking account a tough sell for many youth sports teams. However, if you’re in an area where Citibank does business and maintain a high monthly balance, Citibank may be worth a look.

Open A Bank Account Online With Snap! Spend

Snap! Spend’s digital bank account has everything you need to manage your team or club finances. Groundwork helps you budget for expenses, track player dues, accept online payments and track spending all integrated with your digital bank account.

As part of Snap! Spend’s goal to share best practices and help educate youth sports organizers, we’ve invited special guest author, Monica Burgeson CPA, to share her expertise on managing team bank accounts. Monica is the Former CFO of Colorado Rapids Youth Soccer Club (formerly Colorado Storm Soccer Association) where she managed over 300 team bank accounts. She specializes in nonprofit management and advises the Colorado Soccer Association on financial best practices for youth soccer organizations. Prior to working with nonprofit organizations, Monica worked as a CPA for PwC’s audit and assurance practice.  She currently serves as the Director of Finance for the US Center for SafeSport.

Introduction

Many nonprofit organizations establish a cash management policy after cash has gone unaccounted for, or even gone missing.  Given their lack of resources, it’s common for nonprofits to have volunteers handling money, which creates more opportunities for money to be mishandled. As a result, millions of dollars go missing every year in youth sports alone.

As youth sports organizations grow larger, many utilize team bank accounts that are managed by volunteer team treasurers. This enables teams to operate semi-autonomously and minimize the burden on the club administrators. While this can provide a win-win for the club and team for operating flexibility and cost, it creates risks for the club when not managed correctly.

The Center for Fraud Prevention, which helps youth sports associations fight theft and embezzlement, describes three reasons why youth sports organizations are uniquely vulnerable to fraud:

  1. Members are volunteers and managing the money is a job that no one wants. This results in treasurers who have little financial experience and a situation ripe for abuse.
  2. The organization lacks formal structure and systems of oversight and accountability of volunteers handling money.
  3. Volunteers are part of the community they serve. This creates an environment of trust which weakens oversight and emboldens volunteers willing to steal from the organization.

In this article, we’ll talk about how clubs that utilize team bank accounts can do so with confidence.

Risks of improper management of team accounts

The first step in effective management of team accounts is to gain an awareness of the specific risks involved when volunteers manage money and act as official signers on team bank accounts.

Risk #1: The team treasurer goes rogue

One of the most common occurrences with volunteers handling team bank accounts is that the team treasurer goes rogue and mishandles team funds in some way. This can range from the relatively benign — like not following the club’s policy on how to reimburse coaching expenses — to outright theft.

It’s important to remember that team funds are the collective funds of families who pool their resources for the benefit of the team. When a team treasurer goes rogue, they are stealing from all of the families. When money goes missing, families will look to your club to rectify the situation.

But the loss to a club isn’t just financial. When money is mishandled, families assign blame to the club for poor oversight, and the club suffers potentially long-term reputational damage with the community.

Risk #2: Club administration is not accountable to its members, donors or funders

Club administrators are often not able to answer questions about how much money is being held in a team bank accounts because volunteers are in charge of establishing and maintaining these accounts.  Although the team accounts are set up under the umbrella of the club, funds are managed by volunteers, so club administrators do not see how much each player/family has contributed to an account.  Clubs may not be notified when donations have been made, or if each player is not contributing his/her fair share.  When issues with team accounting arise, members expect the club to step in to resolve the issue and cover any outstanding balances.  Moreover, volunteers are put in an uncomfortable position to manage team financial matters.  This often leads to issues beyond inaccurate financial reporting, such as team turmoil and loss of players.

Risk #3: The club fails an audit for insufficient financial controls

A major part of any outside audit is examining the financial controls of an organization. Auditors will see team accounts as an extension of the club and look for systems of accountability and control over these funds. Not having effective financial oversight and controls over team funds is a risk for clubs failing an external audit.

In order to minimize, or even eliminate these risks, a club must establish best practices related to how they handle team accounts and volunteers.

Best Practice #1: Establish financial controls

In this section, we share prescriptive advice for how clubs should establish financial controls over team accounts.

The club should open and control team bank accounts

The only way for the club to establish financial controls over team funds is for the club to control the team bank account. Giving the club the ability to access bank records and remove signers from the account provides the most basic level of financial oversight.

In a similar vein, clubs should prohibit the use of personal Venmo or PayPal accounts to collect payments from families since clubs have no visibility or control into these accounts.  Even if these accounts are only set up for the team, volunteers must provide personal information and the accounts are not transferable.

Establish clubs policies in a team handbook

The club should set “ground rules” for how team treasurers manage money, including the club’s policies on acceptable expenses, record keeping and ways of doing team fundraising.  Any donations made to the team should go through club administrators, not directly to team accounts.  The Colorado Rapids Team Treasurer Handbook is an excellent example of a well thought out set of ground rules.

Note from Snap! Spend: Snap! Spend provides all of our customers with a Snap! Spend Team Treasurer Handbook Template as a starting point for them to create their own handbook for using Snap! Spend’s all-in-one team financial management solution with built-in oversight and controls.

Establish and review team budgets

One of the best ways team treasurers can communicate the financial plan for the season is to complete and distribute a team budget to all players and families. To make this an effective tool, the club should create a uniform template for team treasurers and require that it is completed, and turned in to club administration, prior to the team’s first game (or some other deadline established by the club). The team budget, or team plan, should include all tournament registrations fees, trips and travel expenses, plus any other events that will involve team coordination and payments.

It is important for clubs to remember that volunteer team treasurers may not be familiar with how to complete a budget template, so it should also come with clear instructions.  Lastly, the club should periodically review the budget vs actual spending, or at the very least when the season ends. Reviews ensure that team spending is in-line with club policy; moreover, communicating to treasurers that reviews will be performed and records must be kept creates an environment that is less prone to abuse. If time is limited, a random sample of teams can be reviewed instead.

Best Practice #2: Account for team funds

Part of any external audit will require clubs to provide the balances and monthly reconciliations of their cash accounts. Cash is classified as assets of the club. This can include operating accounts, savings accounts and investment accounts.

Classify team bank accounts as “pass-through” accounts

A common concern for clubs is that, by controlling team bank accounts, the club has to record and reconcile each account, or account for the cash in each account as income.  The reality is that the cash in the team accounts is not an asset of the club. Since team accounts function to pool money from families to pay for team expenses and the money does not belong to the club, clubs can classify team bank accounts as ‘pass through’ accounts, and carry the balance of these accounts as a liability account on their balance sheet.

It’s important to remember that team funds are not the club’s money — it belongs to the families, and the club is a temporary steward of the money to ensure accountability until the money is disbursed. At the end of the season, if any funds remain, they should be returned to the families, or applied to next season’s team expenses if the families continue with the team into the next season.

As teams funds are spent, the amount recorded on the balance sheet decreases. Clubs can track this liability as the total sum of the balances of all team accounts. The club does not need to reconcile every transaction, but should ensure that teams do.

Note from Snap! Spend: using our digital banking platform allows clubs to easily see and export the balances in each team account in real-time while providing an ongoing sum of all accounts so you can easily perform club accounting functions.

When discussing team accounts with auditors

If the club undergoes an external audit, they will have to explain the concept of team accounts and sufficiently document the controls that are in place to manage team accounts. Clubs will need to point out that, since the club does not provide services to ‘earn’ the money in the team accounts, it is not classified as income to the club.  Similarly, clubs will need to explain that team accounts are not assets of the club and, therefore, are not subject to the same testing or reconciliations that are required for the club’s operating accounts.

The control documentation should include the process of opening a team account, the requirement of submitting team budgets, plus dissemination of the treasurer handbook.  It should also detail the monitoring and reviews that are completed by club administration.

The bottom line

Team accounts managed by volunteers can be a great way to enable teams in your club to operate autonomously, while simultaneously minimizing the burden on the club administration. When going this route, it’s essential to establish effective financial controls and accounting for team funds.