soccer management hockey management rugby management basketball management football management ringette management lacrosse management gymnastics management golf management

ITSportsConnector Blog

Friday, August 6, 2010

Getting the Most out of Online Registration - Part 2

Posted by: Helen Wallace on Friday, August 6, 2010 at 1:05:28 pm Comments (0)

Using Returns and Voids

Once you have collected your fees you often have to do refunds to registrants for various reasons. Because OLR allows you to do returns and voids refunding fees becomes a breeze! No more writing cheques!

If your OLR package includes the voids and returns option make sure you perform these functions as soon as possible. Voids can only be performed within 24 hours of the original transaction. Depending on the gateway in your OLR package you will have either 90 days or 180 days to perform returns. After this time period, returns cannot be performed and cheques will have to be issued. The period of time in which a return can be performed is restricted to protect credit card holders. Therefore, gateways are limited in the period of time they can store credit card data, which limits the amount of time you have to perform returns.

Ideally you would review your on line transactions daily to ensure there are no duplicate transactions. Duplicates can occur from time to time in any OLR system and they are easily dealt with by performing a void. Duplicates occur when 2 payments are processed on one invoice. Duplicates do not happen often but due to the nature of the internet they can occur and it is a good idea to monitor for them.  If a void is performed the credit card holder does not see the void or the transaction you voided on their credit card statement. If you miss processing the void during the void period you can easily do a return later.

Returns can be processed easily in the systems (if your package includes this option). Returns are a great way to refund members that end up not playing. In the gateway systems ITSportsNet offers, an amount greater than the original transaction cannot be returned and the return can only be processed against the card the original transaction was processed on (these are security features to protect your organization and the credit card holder against possible fraud). Additionally, you can return only a portion of the amount originally paid, if you want to. For example, you may want to withhold an administration fee (as more and more organizations are doing). Another example for using returns: some of our customers charge their parents a volunteer fee. For example, a parent is charged x amount when they register their child and if they volunteer a certain number of hours during the season the charge is refunded. Some of our customers have successfully used returns for this process. In such an instance as this it is imperative to ensure your returns are done within the return period allowed (as mentioned above).

Reconcile your OLR to invoices and statements systematically

Although errors in payments do not occur often due to the nature of the internet they can occur so regular reconciliation is recommended. So, regardless of which OLR provider you are using a regular reconciliation process is necessary (generally to be performed by your treasurer or other designate). A daily (or weekly, if you have a manageable volume of weekly transactions) review of your invoices compared to your paid transactions (per your gateway reports) would identify any problem areas.

You should also match the total transactions per month per your merchant account statement to the total of your invoices in the month to ensure all payments have been processed at month end. Then, match your merchant account statement to the cash in the bank. Once you have done this you have tracked your cash: from invoice, to gateway, to merchant provider, and finally to your bank account - and you can feel comfortable that your cash reconciliation for our OLR transactions is in order. This process does not take much time and will give you peace of mind that your are receiving all of your cash.

Review the process at year-end.

Once your season is complete it can be valuable to meet with the parties involved in OLR to discuss what worked and what needs to be changed for next year. Consider passing on any comments you have on the system to your provider - they will want to know what you think! This way you will always improve on your process and the system. Make sure to pass on your comments and plans to new board members if you leave so they can learn from your experiences and continue to improve the organization!

Getting the Most out of Online Registration - Part 1

Posted by: Site Administrator on Friday, August 6, 2010 at 1:01:05 pm Comments (0)
After you have purchased On Line Registration - What's Next?

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!

Plan ahead

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 you use.

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.

Friday, July 16, 2010

Planning for Success Series: Introduction

Posted by: David Cooper on Friday, July 16, 2010 at 1:11:09 pm Comments (0)

Have you ever wondered why so many successful elite athletes become consultants, motivational speakers, writers and successful business people?  The elite sports environment is an almost perfect laboratory for what goes on in the rest of the world.  What elite athletes learn in their athletic career is directly applicable to success in all other aspects of life.  One of the many important skills they learn is to Plan for Success.

There are many elements involved with success but there are just two that are the ultimate starting point. The first is the desire to succeed and the second is putting together a plan for that success. With the exception of lottery winners, nobody ever succeeds by accident.

“It’s not the will to win, but the will to prepare to win that makes the difference.” Paul ‘Bear’ Bryant

Bear’s quote captures the idea that it is not enough to have the will or desire to win, but rather you have to have the will to be prepared to win or succeed.

This series of articles looks at how you can chart your organization or team’s path to success.

“Luck is where preparation meets opportunity.” Seneca