Club Funding, Student Generated Funds, and T-Shirts: Everything You Need to Know

Club Funding, Student Generated Funds, and T-Shirts: Everything You Need to Know

Jaiden Reddy

At the beginning of this year, Mr. Rael released a new policy that required all clubs to purchase from a single vendor. This vendor, BSN, had been previously used by some athletic clubs but was never mandated due to worries by some club advisors about how BSN’s higher shirt prices could decrease club membership. Now that the shift has been made, club advisors and members alike have been left to wonder how the increased costs will be covered, why they were implemented, and how school administration will aid in club fundraising. We interviewed Mr. Rael to understand exactly how the fundraising process will change and why a single vendor is mandated for school T-shirts.

Mr. Rael started with why the school is purchasing from a single vendor in the first place.

“The biggest [reason] for me was the overall quality. It’s a question of equity and quality. It shouldn’t matter what club or sport you’re a part of for the quality of apparel that you get. There were certain, well-known programs on our campus that had really, really nice apparel and then we had many lesser-known programs both in the athletics and the clubs world, and their apparel wasn’t quite as nice,” says Mr. Rael. “We’re going to expect that the BSN contract for Nike is going to be true for all our sports teams. Nike is a level of quality. On the other side, we didn’t expect other clubs to use Nike… but it’s really a quality assurance policy [purchasing from BSN], no matter what club you’re in, [even if you’re not getting Nike].”

While this quality of goods is important to many organizations, others have begun to worry about the negative effects of increased spending.

“Because of increased T-shirt costs, we had to decide this year that we weren’t going to give out T-shirts. As a really small club, raising entrance fees would be damaging for the club and fundraising would be too difficult,” says a board member in the Mock Trial Club.

“We’ve seen T-shirt costs double or even triple,” says a club advisor we spoke with.

Most of the money spent on student improvements originates in a fund called Student-Generated Funds (SGF), which is primarily funded by the Student Store. Much of the confusion around club funding originates in confusion about how the SGF operates. This fund has individual accounts for each club and one larger pot managed by school administration and an SGF committee to determine expenses.

“[Each club] has a [student generated funds] account. So you have the overall student-generated funds for the school, a pot of around $93,000, and you have each individual club’s student-generated funds. Anything [spent from the school fund] that doesn’t go directly to students must have permission of the SGF committee before it can be spent out, so it’s not like I could just decide how to use it. It’s very rigidly regulated. Mr. Winfield is the one that conducted the allocation of the funds and the votes… for [expenses like] the tailgate we did.”

To explain how the BSN contract and SGF are related, Mr. Rael started by explaining how the BSN deal mitigates costs to the fund.

“We pay 60% of retail value in Nike purchases [when we buy from BSN]. Whatever we pay for everything, we get 10% back [as a rebate],” explains Mr. Rael. “[That rebate] comes back to the school not as a check, but as comp dollars for future purchases. [That money] goes to administration, so it really becomes me who determines how it’s utilized…and when you buy staff shirts, instead of then using money from SGF, you don’t have to tap into that pot of money; you actually use comp dollars [which are not deposited into the SGF].”

Despite the increase in costs, Mr. Rael expects that there will be numerous other ways to obtain funding.

“In future years, [if] one of our smaller clubs comes in and says, hey, I used to be able to buy these $5 shirts, but now the principal’s expectations are that I buy these 12$ shirts, that’s a lot of extra money, we may be able to use some of the [BSN] comp dollars to offset the costs for your club,” Mr. Rael explains. “We [also] created a process this year for [SGF club requests]. SGF set $20,000 dollars aside for clubs [and $80,000 from the district, which] clubs can request from Mr. Winfield’s office. What you are buying changes what pot of money you can use. You can’t use district money for stuff that students keep, like shirts, but you can use SGF money. [We are] really trying to offset some of the costs until the cycle of rebates comes back next summer.”

While there is a large amount of available money for club requests, this money isn’t guaranteed in certain quantities for any specific club or athletics program.

“This is different this year in setting aside a pot of money [and] we don’t really know where the asks are going to come from. In the past, [club requests were estimated] around $40,000, but we didn’t have any real clean numbers. This year, we’ll have real clean numbers and then we’ll determine going forth next year [how much] it needs to be. For athletic uniforms, the district actually provides funding to the school, so those uniforms are actually a separate pot of money,” explains Mr. Rael.

Unfortunately, it’s unlikely that First Fridays will become a strong source of revenue for other clubs as a solution to some of the fundraising problems clubs are facing.

“First Friday was less of a fundraising opportunity and more about a student culture opportunity. It was a [way] to mend the guidelines in terms of nutrition by saying it isn’t a consistent or frequent endeavor that we do. First Fridays only happen a handful of times [out of] 180 days a year. It was a pretty good money generator the first time we did it, but we can’t increase the number of opportunities for First Friday. In terms of other opportunities [similar to First Fridays], I don’t have anything on my radar but I’m always open.”