So, you have purchased on line registration (OLR) either for the
first time, or have been using it for some time. Maybe you are thinking
about how to increase the number of people using OLR, or just how to
better use and manage it. Well, here are some ideas and tips!
Each year it will be important to ensure that everyone involved in
the OLR process is included in the planning and on side for the
implementation. Your treasurer, registrar and webmaster (and possibly
others depending on how you are organized) will have a role to play in
the process. From budgeting for OLR expenses and setting fees to
deciding the who, what, where and when of communication regarding OLR
availability to your membership - there are numerous important decisions
to be made and implemented by your organization. Also, another
important party in the planning group is your OLR provider! Involving
them at the outset could save you many headaches down the road. There
are some decisions to be made as you setup your OLR, in particular in
the first year as your organization becomes familiar with the process,
so starting the setup process early is always a good idea.
Budget for OLR Fees
OLR generally has two fee components: the cost of the software and
the cost of the credit card transaction. Make sure you understand the
fees for your system as it is important to budget for these costs before
you start your season.
What will your OLR provider need to know from you?
To effectively setup your OLR forms, etc. your OLR provider will need
to know the following information from you: age categories, fees per
age categories, estimated start and end dates for OLR, discounts
offered, your governing body, number of seasons you run and season run
dates as well as the person they should work with from your organization
for the setup process. Ideally, you should contact your provider early
in your planning process so you are aware of the information that needs
to be passed on.
Make sure you membership knows OLR is available!
Every year it is imperative to make sure you inform your membership
that OLR is available and what the advantages are to them in using it.
Some examples of how this can be accomplished are as follows: e-mail
your membership list and inform them they can register on line this year
and direct them to the link where they can register. Clearly mark on
your website that OLR is available. Then, clearly indicate the link to
OLR on your website. Ensure that OLR is mentioned in all meetings you
have so your entire membership can spread the word. When registration
time comes around, and if you put up billboards or use other advertising
mediums for your club’s registration, ensure that the advertisement
indicates OLR as available and that your website address is clearly
indicated on the advertising medium. Finally, throughout the year take
advantage of any other advertising or communications you do for any
purpose (either through e-mail or otherwise) to mention that OLR is
available for the next registration season. Also, consider a link to
your Facebook or Twitter accounts and any other social media software
ITSportsNet has found that, on average, in the first year, if the
membership has been well informed of OLR, an adoption rate of about 50%
of the membership is a reasonable expectation. In the second year we
often see an increase to 70% and higher, if the membership has been well
informed. Some organizations have made it mandatory that registration
is done on line - this saves organizations a significant amount of time.
Remember, since your membership is always changing, it is important to
inform your membership of this registration option every year so all new
members are informed also.
Recurring Pre-Authorized Payments
ITSportsNet offers a recurring payments option. For organizations
with larger fees this can be attractive to registrants. Registrants that
want a payment plan vs. paying for large fees all at once will like
this option. Administrators of organizations that offer payment plans
will like this option also as it significantly reduces the work involved
in collection of payment plan type fees. Collecting cheques and dealing
with NSF cheques become a thing of the past.
The process is as follows: when a person registers they choose to
either pay the entire fee at once or pay via payment plan. If the
payment plan option is chosen then pre-determined amounts and payment
times are selected and when the next payment cycle arrives the system
automatically processes payments on the credit card of the holder. After
this occurs the organization’s administrator goes through the payment
list, comparing to the payments received, and ensures all payments were
successfully processed. Invoices are not cleared until this process is
completed (this is a control to ensure the organization is aware of any
payments that are declined).
Stay tuned for Part 2 - Processing Returns and Voids, Managing Credits, Reconciliations, etc.