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Nonprofit Law/Booster fundraising


The Ag parents of two High Schools in "ABC" School District has started an AG boosters this year to help support the Ag / FFA departments of both high Schools (there are only two high schools in the district).  We are incorporated non-profit and in the process of applying for 501(c)(3), tax exempt. We have had to go in the hole financially to get this started (-$500 due to insurance the school district required us to get).  We are having our first fundraiser this weekend - which is a $5 car wash - pre-sells w/ tickets.  We asked the teachers to help get the tickets to the students to take home.  We have been told (by the activities director of High School "A") that the students can not sell the tickets on school campus, during school hours, as it is a boosters fundraiser. We were ok with this.  We now are being told the boosters can not have students sell the tickets period, only the parents can.  I told them what I have my children do when I have them home is my business.  Then the activities director of High School "A" went one step further.  She is telling our teachers they can not help collect the money from the sold tickets and hold for us.  Students were to bring unsold tickets and/or money to class and turn in, after the school day one of the Booster officers would pick up the unsold tickets and money - since we are working parents and volunteer.  The teachers at High School "A" are being told they can collect unsold tickets for us, but not money.  If they TOUCH the money they will be "commingling of funds" and will risk loosing their jobs or being reprimanded.  This is interesting that only High School "A" activities director is saying this, but not High School "B".  I have attached a copy of the Booster Guidelines she gave us.

I am asking for ANY information and guidance you can give us.  I am also on the Band boosters - which a few years back had the same run around with High School "A"'s activities director.  She tends to try to make it VERY difficult for Boosters to get going, as she wants to CONTROL all funds through ASB activities.  She does tend to give leniency to the Athletic Boosters.

They have also told us that a director and/or instructor from the program (AG or Band) MUST be at all BOOSTER meeting including Board meetings.  If not we are non-compliant and violating laws about Booster Clubs. We were given the CASBO Chapter 12 Guidelines for Booster Clubs.  

High School "A" Activity Director blurs the legal lines so much that we question ourselves.

Any guidance will help.  Thank you...

You wrote "I have attached a copy of the Booster Guidelines she gave us" but I do not see that attachment.  You can send it to but "Guidelines" may not have been adopted properly by the School Board as a resolution (regulation).  In any case, unless you signed a contract with the School Board your private booster organization is not subject to the school regulations.  The school only has a choice to accept or reject your grants.  The school may have some trademark rights to its name, so they may be able to restrict your use of their name, but, from what you wrote, I don't know if you are using their name for solicitations.

The School Board may have regulations as to what teachers may do and I suggest that you not try to get in the middle of the school-teacher relationship.  As for whether a school board may, under the U.S. constitution, prohibit students from engaging certain free speech activities off of school property. they may not do so unless they can show that their regulations are a valid time, place and manner restriction. For example, see the Information from the California Attorney General. "In fact, the United States Supreme Court has ruled in three separate decisions that solicitation of charitable contributions is protected speech under the First Amendment and that state laws cannot infringe upon this protected speech."
on page 12

Generally, as to Free Speech Rights of Public School Students see the web page of the University of Missouri, Kansas City Law School at

Harvey Mechanic, Attorney at Law -

P.S. This response is intended to be a general statement of law, should not be relied upon as legal advice and does not create an attorney/client relationship.  

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Harvey Mechanic


I am an attorney and I volunteer time to answer general questions about U.S. Federal income tax issues of nonprofit 501(c)(3) public charities only. Those questions could be about establishing and maintaining legal requirements for such non-profit organizations in the United States, including Internal Revenue service filings and requirements. I will not be working on this free forum to answer questions about Nonprofit's possible unrelated or for-profit businesses or how to fill out forms. This forum is only for general questions about federal tax law, not as the law applies to your specific situation. If you do not make your question public then I will not be spending much of my donated time on answers that would not benefit the public. If you have other questions, please contact me at I will reply from my email. In any case, do not reveal confidential information to me until after I have contracted with you to provide personal legal services. My responses on this forum are intended to be general statements of law, should not be relied upon as legal advice, and do not create an attorney/client relationship. For me to consider your individual situation and how the law applies, I would need to gather extensive information about the situation. To search my previous answers you can do a Google search by "" without the quotes and then add your search terms before hitting enter.


I have been practicing law and especially the law of nonprofit organizations since 1990 when I was admitted to the New York Bar and I have maintained my status with the Bar since that time.


B.S. Columbia University in New York City, 1970

J.D. (Law Degree) Brooklyn Law School, 1990 -- Cum Laude.

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