That’s the most common model I’m aware of - the Slidell Tiger Robotics Booster Club is a 501©3. The key item of a booster club is that it exists to support (boost) a team or activity (e.g. band or cheerleaders) as an entity which is not directly associated with that team or activity’s sponsoring organization. This dis-association allows the booster club to fund activities which may not be legal or ethical for public funding (e.g. certain travel expenses, or purchases which we need in two days but which would require a 3-bid process through the school). In some cases it may also allow the team to **receive **funding from which the official team sponsor may not accept donations. (e.g. from a shooting range in the case of a public school, or a government agency or contractor for a team chartered by a church school). As far as I am aware, the great majority of booster clubs in the U.S.A. are set up as 501©3 corporations to maximize the opportunities to receive funding.
When setting up your Booster Club, CYTP (Consult Your Tax Professional). You may be able (perhaps through personal contacts) to find one willing to assist pro bono; if this happens, it is prudent to list them as a sponsor appropriate to the value of the services donated.
Addition: While I don’t know if it will help, I’d like to suggest that you specifically target sponsorships from businesses which clearly identify themselves as Christian organizations. Hobby Lobby springs instantly to mind, as well as a number of local businesses in our area. (E.g. the F.O.M. Bakery, where F.O.M. stands for Fishers Of Men).
Addition2: While this is not likely to land you the major sponsors, though you never know… To all teams: DO SPONSOR RALLY DAYS! There are probably plenty of recipes that work, but here’s what we did this week: Put one mentor and 3-5 student team members and several dozen sponsorship flyers in each car, taking care to distribute your minority team members across the groups. Divide your city/school district up geographically into as many areas as you have cars, and send a car into each area to walk into businesses and ask for sponsorships or donations. Yesterday (Wednesday), we came up with a $1000 sponsorship (half paid on Wednesday, remainder prominsed by October), four more $100+ sponsorships (paid on Wednesday or Thursday), several smaller donations, a sponsor willing to do our chassis this year on their MASSIVE CNC router they use for making parts for large boats, and a whole lot of leads on more stuff. We sent three more cars today (Thursday), and didn’t yield another $100 in cash, though we sent a lot of flyers off to business owners, and a number of managers expected to be able to give us gift cards and in-kind donations for tools, automotive electrical components, fasteners, and other stuff that we would have purchased anyway. These two sessions were only three hours long each, with three cars each day!