Baseball and softball may be getting into full swing, but football isn't too far behind. It's time to start thinking about registration for the upcoming season. Here are some tips for how to run your registration effectively and efficiently.
Don't Over-Collect Information
We live in an age of contracts and liability waivers when it comes to youth sports. Yes, those forms are important, but try to keep in mind just how much paperwork parents need to fill out when registering their children. Nothing makes people freeze up more than a wall of text in front of them. Why else is it important? Because that's also how much paperwork you have to handle administratively.
I'm not suggesting you ditch any vital questions in your registration packet, but we've noticed a lot of leagues use complicated forms that take parents too much time to complete. Do you really need to know the phone number for the family dentist? Or could you get by with only the most important contact information? The more information you collect, the more likely it is for parents to make mistakes as they rush through the form. Collecting only important information will save time and ensure you get reliable answers.
Open Registration Early
This is an easy one, but it just takes a little more planning ahead of time to be successful. Early registration gives you a good feel for the amount of of players who will be playing in the upcoming season. This is important because you can get a better idea of what your operating budget will look like, what facilities you need to reserve, and what orders you need to place, well in advance.
Early bird registration is also enticing to parents because of the perks that come with it (discounted price, first dibs on jersey number, etc.). These minor aspects can make your sports organization more attractive than the one across town. If you want more players to participate, the earlier you open registration, the better.
Keep the Fees Simple
By keeping your pricing simple, it causes less confusion and results in fewer mistakes - especially in terms of online registration. It may sound like we're beating a dead horse when talking about "confusion" while registering, but you may (or may not) be surprised by amount of errors someone can make while registering. I don't have an exact number, but it's a lot. A LOT.
Are you thinking of offering different prices for each age group, or multi-tiered discounts for this or that? I'd suggest reducing the number of complicated fees, and charging a flat fee for each player. It makes the lives of board members and coaches easier, and eliminates some of the potential for user error. The last thing you want to be doing is issuing refunds to someone who paid the wrong price (that being said, we have you covered if you need to).
Send Out Texts and Emails
Sending out texts and emails to last season's participants is a great way to get parents started with registration. Try sending a reminder every few weeks during registration to make sure parents know it's time. Also, once registration wraps up, you can also use text and email to let everyone know the date of the first practice, picture day, or any other important events. Just be sure to follow THESE tips if you do!
Limit Payment Options
The more options you give the participants, the more work you'll wind up creating for yourself. We recommend giving parents one option to pay: Online. More and more football organizations are turning to online payments registration, and it is making their lives easier. Contrary to what some may think, online payments are more secure now than ever, and can even limit the likelihood that your money and/or identity are stolen.
You may have a few parents that make a special request to pay with a different method or in installments, and that's OK! Unique scenarios pop up every now and then, and those can be handled on a case-by-case basis. However, the vast majority of parents will be fine paying with whichever method is easiest, and you'll save yourself loads of paperwork and trips to the bank.
What other registration tips do you have?
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