The Economics of Running a Club


Clubs are required to fill out a fundraising packet if they want to host a fundraiser and must get approved by ASB.

Stephanie Xu, News Editor

What do students think of clubs?



An outlet to discover their passion? A hangout with friends? Perhaps a place for college application purposes?



These may be the thoughts circling in the minds of students as they wiggle their way through the huge crowd on Club Rush day. But as they scan the various club booths, do students ever wonder how these clubs even exist?



Probably not.



Common knowledge is that if the Associated Student Body (ASB) approves of a club and it follows ASB guidelines, then the club will exist.



But that’s not it.



Like any business out there in society, there is one important key to the existence of many clubs on campus.









The clubs at Beckman are little businesses of their own. They have their own presidents, vice presidents, treasurers, secretaries, and board members; they have their own Constitution that all club members have to follow, hold monthly board meetings, and have to report to the Inter-Club Committee (ICC) of ASB, with the ICC being the headquarters of all the clubs. Clubs are responsible for managing their own club affairs ‒ which also means that they need to be able to manage their own economic affairs.



Many clubs need funding in order to support club activities. All the clubs start at zero expenses, so clubs need to be able to figure out how they will get funding in an appropriate manner.



So where do they get the funding?



The common method of fundraising is through food. Clubs host restaurant fundraisers at popular restaurants, such as Chipotle and Chick-fil-A, or sell boba in front of the school. Boba, being a popular drink amongst students, serves as a popular choice of funding for clubs.



Food fundraising is often used to cover the basic needs of a club. However, many clubs require additional funding to carry out their events and activities.



Math Club receives donations from the Beckman PTO and participating families to fund registration fees for competitions such as the American Math Competition (AMC) and the traveling, off-campus competitions such as the Berkeley Math Tournament.



“For some of the travel ones, fundraising goes for things like the travel expenses as well as the accommodations. Some tournaments provide food as part of the cost, some of them do not, so meals will also be part of the expenses,” says Mr. Beilin, the advisor.



The Beckman chapter for OC Science receives sponsorships from local companies to cover event expenses at various OC Science events, such as the STEAM at the Park event. However, receiving sponsorships isn’t easy; board members need to make presentations to persuade companies that sponsoring them is beneficial to the community.



“We also target companies that have funds towards corporate social responsibility in order to convince them that this platform is a good place to use their utilization of funds in that category,” says Supriya Kotnani, the Director of Event Planning.



Beckman DECA collects a membership due in order to cover the expenses of being a member of the DECA national organization. Being a chapter requires $8 per member, so most funding go towards membership. Beckman DECA also receives a DECA grant of $750, family donations, and industry sponsors to cover the costs of competitions and DECA events in the region.



“We will be saving a significant sum of money for the future years of DECA. Not going to a conference this year means that we have a lot more money, and we intend on saving money so we can go to conferences in the future,” says Justin Chen, the treasurer.



While clubs have different outlets for fundraising, money could still become a problem.



Clubs need to make sure they manage their money wisely, especially for fundraisers. For some fundraisers, clubs are required to purchase a certain number of products beforehand and then sell them. But the clubs have to think carefully before they buy:



What is the is the lowest price for the product that is both affordable to students and profitable to the club?



Will all the products be sold to generate enough revenue?



While having to deal with the statistics of the fundraising, clubs also need to fulfill the requirements of fundraising by the ICC. They have to complete a fundraising form, get it approved by the Clubs Commissioner and ASB, and then after the fundraising, make sure they get reimbursed properly.



“The biggest mistake clubs make is not to get fundraisers or expenditures pre-approved by the ASB class.  If that happens and a club member has already bought something, they won’t get reimbursed for their purchase,” says Mrs. Oberlin, the ASB Accountant. “Also, sometimes a club will have a fundraiser and they buy too much inventory, and when they can’t sell it, they lose money.”



Word of Mouth encountered this issue last year. They release an annual literary arts journal featuring the literary and artistic pieces of students, so the club needed funding to print the journals. To cover the printing costs, the club has students pre-ordering the journal. However, funding wasn’t sufficient, and the board members ended up paying the remaining expenses out of their own pockets.



“We tried to set up restaurant fundraisers, but they weren’t successful and didn’t contribute much to the magazine,” says Cynthia Le, the vice president. “In the past, our literary arts journal were funded through a government grant, and we were able to afford to print them in 2017. [However], we missed the grant deadline for 2018.”



Clubs have to thoroughly plan out a fundraiser, considering every detail from the money involved to the people involved. This process requires a lot of time and effort, often becoming difficult for the clubs.



However, the clubs are not alone.



As the ASB Accountant, Mrs. Oberlin assists the clubs by helping them manage their finances. She not only handles the club accounts and processes the disbursements, Oberlin also educates the clubs on proper financial practices.



“I make sure the ASB rules are being followed regarding club finances, both money collection and expenditures,” Oberlin says. “I help them fill out the necessary forms, deposit their money, and write checks from their account after the club votes to spend the money.”



Vivek Kakar, the Clubs Commissioner, works individually with the clubs, offering assistance in planning and carrying out events and making sure they follow the guidelines. He also helps clubs communicate with Mrs. Oberlin whenever clubs are planning to host a fundraiser and need to deal with their finances, as well as other school administrators.



“As a commissioner, I work to support the clubs in any way possible,” Kakar says.






Running a club isn’t simply just getting approved by ASB and planning activities ‒ it’s running a business. Even though they are only high school clubs, the clubs are treated at a professional level, finding their own sources of funding and managing the funds.



There’s much more to a club than just their events. Behind the fun are endless hours of planning, dedication, and the economics of running a club.