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garrettterlaak

Junior Member
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Posts: 3
Reply with quote  #1 
Good morning. We're a relatively new SE customer of about 5 months. We are a high school football program with 125 players, split between Freshman, JV, and Varsity. We could really use some help from more experienced SE users who are like us. We're all parent volunteers, and we have a lot of experience with competing platforms to SE.

If anyone is willing to chat, and give us some best-practices, we'd appreciate it:

1. Can you show us an effective registration session?
2. Are you using email/text messaging through SE? How are you helping your families understand how to enable text notifications?
3. Do you ever collect partial or offline payments from players, and how do you handle that in SE?

Our situation is complicated by a couple factors. Parents and kids alike don't seem to be reading email. Texting works, but explaining how to enable text notifications to people has been challenging. We have a lot of non-computer-users, and English as a second language families.

Would love to talk about best practices with anyone. Our website is elmodenafootball.com.

Thanks.


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docnzok

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Posts: 47
Reply with quote  #2 
Good Morning Garrettterlaak! (Wow thats a forum name)

My name is Mark and I have been working with the platform for about 5 years.

I have done football and lacrosse sites and have done everything from registration to email to text messaging and used all the bells and whistles.

Here are just a few things that the platform is going to provide you with (and Im sure these were some selling points to you) but you will immediately see the benefits.

1. Registration -getting everyones information into a single DB is priceless (and the info stays with them as they progress through the program)
2. Paperwork. No more waivers and paperwork chasing.  All that is done through registration
3. Mobile App (TOTALLY USEFUL) - getting news, schedules, and messages out to individual teams, players, parents or coaches.
4. Coach ownership. Coaches can use the system to message about time changes or other crucial information.
5. Reporting. Awesome for getting a list of all players that use inhalers, or printing game day rosters.
6. Financials - Direct to bank deposits and full financial reporting.
7. Ability to have payments split up. Parents struggle with large costs, so you can split the payments up.

THere are a hundred other things that I could tell you about that will change the entire basis of the program after you start using the platform.

A few words on preparation though.  BEFORE YOU START doing anything on the platform including registration, and content and anything else.  SPEND TIME WITH THE OTHER BOARD MEMBERS and plan out the following

1. What you want to collect during registration. Waivers, signatures, schools, birthdates, insurance info, medical history, and anything else that can be collected that is relevent to your club.
Although the SE team is great at making changes, it does take a bit for a registration change to be made

2. Financials. Ensure that you decide if the club or the parents will pick up the processing fee.  Over 5 years of experience, I have never setup a registration where the parents pay the fee.

3. League Setup. - IMPORTANT - If you want to use the rostering and team pages and all that (if you have that capability) you need to setup opponents and games and times and locations and that takes time.  The mobile app will use all that info for the parents to see the schedules and news and rosters and contact info and maps to locations, so spending a lot of time doing that right is key.
If you choose to do the rostering and team pages and use those functions, changing back to the simpler way is not easy, so spend time choosing the pros and cons of each setup.

4. PREPARE YOUR PARENTS. ENSURE YOU SEND LOTS OF EMAILS TO THEM ABOUT HOW TO CREATE AN NGIN ACCOUNT AND WHERE TO GO FOR HELP IF THEY GET STUCK.  You will run into issues here, but the SE has awesome help pages to guide them through setting up the account. KEEP THE PARENTS WELL INFORMED OF THE PROGRESS OF THE NEW SITE AND THE TOOLS THEY CAN USE TO MAKE LIFE EASIER (Like not signing 10 waivers on paper anymore)

5. CREATE DISTINCT AND CLEAR POLICIES THAT THE USERS WILL SIGN ELECTRONICALLY during registration.  Things like social media policy, photo and video policy, code of conduct, fair play, rules (of the club), parent conduct. The more policies that you have the easier it is to enforce the issues that arise during the season.

I could go on, but detailed preparation of your registration data, how the users will pay (payment plans) and what information to collect and the selection of using the team and league features is the biggest thing I can tell you at the point you are at.

You will run into small things like forgetting to check the box that allows users to register more that one athlete, or forgetting to tell SE that you want a discount for other siblings that are also part of the club and possibly

I hope that gives you a general sense of what needs to happen, and I hope you have time to complete all that before you want your registration to start. (I have 2 football programs that open registration in February for the fall season)(and there are reasons to do that)

Anyway- use your SE rep and the excellent help desk that they have and you'll get through it.

Mark
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garrettterlaak

Junior Member
Registered:
Posts: 3
Reply with quote  #3 
Thanks for the thorough response. We've done 3 registrations, and most of our challenges are related to capturing all parent and player contact information, and being able to simply email or text them from the Team Center or mobile app.

People inevitably haven't enabled text notifications or don't know how; or they email me asking me to add additional addresses to our "mailing list". I explain they have to do this themselves. At that point, a lot of them just give me their password, and I log in and do it.

To comment specifically on your response:

1. Registration - I agree a single database is great. It's just a lot of clicks to navigate to get the information I need (even with custom reports).
2. Paperwork - For the most part, I agree. Our District requires the use of AthleticClearance.com to get our athletes cleared physically, so we have to have each family do SE and AC. It's a pain, but that's not SE's fault.
3. Mobile App - No one in our program reads emails. High school kids hardly use it, and the parents aren't much better. They do, however, react to texts. Problem, is either the wrong member of the family is getting the text, or text notifications aren't enabled. If someone willingly gives you a mobile number, why would text notifications not be enabled by default? It may be a California legal thing.
4. Coaches - Now that I have the JV/Varsity kids dialed in, the coaches love using the app for messaging. I wish the app would give you a notification when you receive a message. It seems to only give you one for events.
5. Reporting is good.
6. Financials are OK, but our Treasurer wanted to run parallel books in QuickBooks, since that's what we've always used. I can see us dropping QB someday though.
7. You can do partial payments?! I don't mean setting up automatic payment plans in a registration. I mean, if fees are $500, and a parent hands me a $100 bill, I can post that against the balance in SportsEngine? Please tell me how to do this. In every other platform I've used, you can enter offline / partial payments very easily.

Great advice on policies-- we hadn't considered that. As far as preparing parents, a large portion of our community do not use computers or speak English proficiently. We've started translating, printing, and handing out our SportsEngine-generated email messages. Again, this is not SE's fault. I think we were a little naïve that all our families would just get on board, and it's been tough.

Thank you again for your advice!
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