Manage Members OnLine
Having made the leap to managing court bookings online and also our own internal leagues, what other opportunities were out there!!!
Our Club had been looking at options to offer members Direct Debit to pay subscription fees. There were several options on the market and also a few solutions put together by other clubs. But the costs were not insignificant, we were looking at costs in the region of 50p for a typical transaction, which may only be £5 each month. Our subs would take a hit.
I was asked to review the current options and couldn't help but look a little further and found Club Buzz. This is an On-Line Membership system that also provides an easy way for a club to put together a website, team management, scheduler and more. But what got me interested was that it provided an option to link to Direct Debit payments.
One of our major issues in taking a step towards using Direct Debit was our very complex Subscription Fees. We have 5 key sports, a Social Membership and multi-sport and family discounts. If you were to list out the possible options, there would be over 100 possible fees. Most Direct Debit providers administer the fee structure and we would have to let them know of updates, but none really wanted the head ache of our complex structure.
Club Buzz to the rescue!
OK I had to spend many and I do mean many days testing the system, trying out different ways to configure the options available in order to setup our subs structures in such a way that anyone could take it over and it was made as simple as possible. At the same time, Club Buzz announced they were developing a new relationship with GoCardLess, a direct debit provider that charged only 1% on a transaction, with a maximum of £2 on any transaction. There were other benefits in that they did not charge for failed debits and this company looked like they were going places.
We launched with Club Buzz and GoCardLess in January 2013. Our members, who in the past would re-apply for membership each year - a mountain of paperwork and administration, were to now become annual or monthly rolling members. In the future we would only need to deal with new members and any changes - MUCH LESS WORK. Also, members themselves could maintain their own profiles and contact details. They would have access to view their own club accounts, we can group families with single payees etc etc.
SO, ARE WE HAPPY WITH THE SITUATION????.......YES
Costs - this solution will cost us in the region of £250 for the year, as opposed to over £1,000 for the cheapest of the other solutions. If ALL our members chose to pay by Direct Debit, our costs would still only be about £500 compared to £3,500.
Members - members can access their information, they receive emails when payments are being made.
Committee Administration - our overall administration in the first year is more, but once we are past this initial workload of getting everyone one the system, subsequent years would require minimal effort!
Control - we are in full control of the subscriptions and financial transactions. Tools are their to assign credits, charges, manual payments etc.
Future - we have the ability to utilise this system as a convenient means to pay for other activities, Match Fee's, Social Events, Tours etc, where payments can be one-offs or spread over as many months as we like.
If I am honest, I am not sure our club would have been able to make this move without someone like me dedicating so much time and also having a knack with software. That said, I am keen to share our experiences and help other sports clubs. Money and time is always tight and I am happy to make the most of the research and effort put in to save others. Feel free contact me!