A Dropped Ball
What to do when boosters don't complete a job.
By Kenny Berkowitz - Assistant Editor at MomentumMedia Sports Publishing.
If you have good leaders and communicate effectively, most boosters follow through. But what should you do when boosters don't complete a job?
"When people offer to do something, they almost always follow through with it unless there's an extenuating circumstance," says Melody Modell, Activities Director at Thomas Jefferson High School for Science and Technology in Alexandria, Virginia. "So my first approach is to ask whether they need help. I'll say, 'I'm not trying to pry into your personal life, but is there something we can do to support you?' At other times, someone else in the group will just naturally gravitate toward helping them out, and sometimes new friendships are forged from it. We try to protect their dignity, and if someone is not succeeding, we always offer help."
At Lebanon (Ohio) High School, Athletic Director and Head Football Coach Dave Brausch has a similar approach: If volunteers are failing to complete their tasks, he takes care not to criticize them, but offers them the support they need to succeed. "You've got to be delicate," says Brausch. "If I'm concerned about whether a job is going to be completed, I tell the booster, 'I see you're struggling a little bit with this. So I'm going to get so-and-so to help you, because it's obviously more than a one-person job.'
"The best way to handle it is to give them help, instead of treating them like they've dropped the ball," continues Brausch. "Let them know you appreciate the work they've done, and that you're going to provide some extra help for them. Get somebody else to pick up the slack, fix the mistake, and move on. Make the best of the situation and keep moving forward."
This article originally appeared in Athletic Management magazine's April/May 2005 issue.