Monday, 19 October 2020

Published Monday, October 19, 2020 with 0 comment

Managing Communication Channels for Youth Sports


Texting, email, phone call, instant messaging, tweeting, website updates, social media feed… there are so many communication channels these days that keeping up becomes a task, especially for youth sports clubs that need to engage with youth and their parents both. And then there is the Goldilocks dilemma: too much or too little of information can be tricky, it has to be just right.

Here are some tips to help keep the information just right but making optimum and judicious use of each communication channel.

Social Media

Socialmedia is one of the best ways to share and promote the club. Share news, achievements and values on social media. Your usual posts on social media should include:

·         Club and player achievements

·         Charity and social causes support event updates

·         Upcoming events

Refrain from commenting on other clubs, posting or commenting on political affairs, sharing negative comments or posts, and most of all, getting personal on the platform. Once you get this right, you will conquer social media and reap the benefits of SM presence.

Website

Your website is the face of your brand, the sacrosanct channel that represents the official version of the club. Keep it updated. Remove any obsolete information/communication, non-existent contact information, misleading facts (like, “we are the no.1/best club, etc.”, all such information should be either published or verified by a third party) etc. The information on the website should be crisp and updated. Refrain from self-praise or  accreditation that is not verifiable.

The Newsletter

The email information of your clients is precious data. It allows you to communicate with your clients by sending them emailers/newsletters etc. Use this privilege wisely. Do not bombard your clients with excessive emails or unnecessary communication. Send newsletters with information that is aimed at providing some kind of value to the clients, for instance, update on the latest happenings in the club, calendar of events, tournament or event reminders etc. Although this information will be updated on the website and on the social media platforms, a newsletter can have an added impact for the brand. Treat it as another window to engage with your clients, but remember this engagement should purely be aimed at providing value to your clients.

Internal Communication

Internal communication and coordination is the backbone of a sports club. Internal communication would include the communication and coordination amongst staff, management and coaches; and communication and coordination of the club with players and their parents. Using different modes of communication for each group can be both taxing and confusing. InstaTeam eases, simplifies and expedites internal communication of the club, be it amongst the club personnel or with the clients (parents and players). With features like notifications, automated reminders, scheduling, attendance marking, automated payments management, carpooling etc., InstaTeam takes care of all the communication, coordination, administration and management needs of the sports clubs.

 

 

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Published Monday, October 19, 2020 with 1 comment

Managing Checks and Payments

 


According to a study conducted by Pew Research, of all the people who used traditional payment methods, 37 percent used checks.  According to another statistic from the Federal reserve, in 2018, there were 14.5 billion check payments made in America.

We have moved from credit cards and debit cards to mobile banking and digital wallets, and the check payments are receding year on year, but the numbers are still considerable. Some people will still hand out checks, and companies will have to manage them.

A few years back, managing checks was not that big a problem even though companies received way more checks than they do now, since there was a set system and well defined processes for managing checks. The problem is now that people do not deal in checks, they don’t really know how to handle them anymore. If you are looking for help in managing checks, here are a few tips that will come in really handy:

·         If the checks are handed personally – have a designated person to receive checks. Hand over the check acknowledgement receipt as and when the check is received. A copy of that receipt must be kept in the office for records. After handing over the receipt, scan the check using scanner or mobile scanning app and make a manual entry in the check payment log where-in you should write all the specifics of the check including the check number, bank, player’s name, parent’s name, their contact information, payment made against (month and year), and take the signature of the depositor.

·         If the check is received in the mail – it should immediately be handed to the accounting person responsible for checks, who then needs to scan the check and make a manual entry should be made in the checks’ payment log with all the relevant details as mentioned above and the date of receipt of check.

·         There needs to be a person designated to take the checks to the bank and deposit in the club’s account. There should be a deposit log that would mention check details along with the deposit details include date and time of check deposit.

·         Make sure the check is deposited the same day or the day next. Do not let checks sit idle in the office.

·         Make sure you keep checking on all payment and deposit procedures to avoid any mis happenings.

Encourage mobile payments

Some people might still write out checks, but the good news is that the number of such people is declining. Educate and encourage clients to make mobile payments on the InstaTeam app. Other than making your life easier by automating and managing the entire payments function of your organization, InstaTeam will help your clients with the convenience of anywhere, anytime payments alongside giving them the surety of a recorded digital transaction versus human errors. The digital trail of each payment also helps reduce the paperwork and legwork of noting trivial details and running to the bank each time a payment is received.

InstaTeam has an exceedingly simple payment feature which makes it easy for people to accept and start using it on a regular basis. The best part is that it does not require you to be savvy with digital payments, you can use your debit or credit card to make payment, which is the most commonly used mode of payment in America today.

Looking for activating the payments feature on your InstaTeam app? Read this: Collecting Payments on InstaTeam.

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Monday, 5 October 2020

Published Monday, October 05, 2020 with 1 comment

Updated Online Profile – Key to Success for Youth Sports Club

You advertise and publicise your club registrations heavily. Interested parents get intrigued and go online to find more about your club. Your website shows outdated information, your online profiles are mostly inactive and out dated, there’s no updated information that can help people base their decision on. How does this look for a club that’s working towards getting registrations for a new season.

 

Most club managers and athletic directors argue that they have been too busy managing the game and working towards performance, which is what matters. But, at the end of the day, if people need to know about that performance, and that matters as much as performance itself.

 

If your club has been facing the same concerns, here is a step by step guide to help you manage and upkeep your online profile in minutes.

 

Download InstaTeam

 

If you haven’t already, you should download InstaTeam. InstaTeam not only makes communication, coordination and collaboration of all teams easy and efficient, it also seamlessly connects all aspects of sports team management.

 

Update Website

 

Your website is a reflection of your club. It should have updated listing of programs, achievements, photos and everything that you deem necessary information that should be shared. For instance, if there is some social cause that the club has supported, endorsed or volunteered in, or basic information like the kind of programs offered, the fee, the features of each program etc.  Regarding the schedule of the team, InstaTeam can be synced with your website in a way that as and when the game schedule is created on InstaTeam, the same is updated on the website. So if there’s an upcoming game, you will not have to update that information, it will get automatically updated.

 

Update Social Media Accounts

 

InstaTeam brings all your social media accounts on the same platform. Posting pictures and stories becomes so easy. Make a schedule, like every alternate day or once a week when you’ll post on the internet. If you create it as an reoccurring event every week, or set it as an alarm in your calendar, you’ll get automatic reminders and you won’t miss out on your social media posts.

 

Update Testimonials and Reviews

 

Encourage parents and players to put testimonials and reviews about the club. Do not fear negative reviews, rather post sensible, empathetic replies to posts, especially negative ones. This will highly add to your credibility and reflect good on the club.

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Published Monday, October 05, 2020 with 1 comment

InstaTeam Helps Cut Accounting Work by Fifty Percent

 


Margie Adorno, administrator at a youth soccer club in Minnesota, has been spending more time in helping organize events for the club, and she is extremely happy about it. 

 

 Margie was hired into club administration when the club started its operations in 2012. Since then, the club has been adding teams and programs that keep expanding. Margie, could never get out of accounting ever since she joined. There were different teams with their own payment schedules and program fees. Sometimes within a team, there would be players that have different payment schedules and varying amounts. Maintaining excel sheets month on month, matching the payments with cash received or checks received, and tallying accounts was painstaking and tedious. Margie hardly could take time out.  

 

InstaTeam changed that. InstaTeam’s ‘Payments’ feature automatized everything, from keeping track of individual payment schedule to accepting online payments that are directly credited into bank account with the mess of having to handle cash and checks. “Before InstaTeam we worked hard to keep track of payments received every month, reminding parents, chasing after them for due fees was time taking and painful”, says Margie. “Now with InstaTeam, each players individual record is maintained, parents get automatic reminders and the payments they make through the app is directly credited to the bank account and the payment information is simultaneously updated. All I need to do is get a payment report at the end of each day and I am sorted”, she adds. Margie along with the club’s manager, Don Kask, agree that the payments have become consistent and predictable. Even parents are satisfied as the payments get auto credited and their accounts are instantly synced, leaving no scope for errors.

 

Margie, who takes keen interest in organizing events for the club, now has the time and bandwidth to do it. “InstaTeam has cut the time and effort spent on accounting previously by more than half”, says a proud Margie who’s busy planning try-outs for the upcoming season.

 

 

 

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Published Monday, October 05, 2020 with 1 comment

Youth, Sports and The Pandemic

 


Post Covid-19 spread everything has changed. Our priorities have changed, our outlook towards life has changed, things that mattered and things that will matter, all of it has changed.

 

There was a time sports were almost a necessity. Games are and have been an essential part of our being, directly or indirectly. You either played them, loved them or simply admired those who played. Parents of kids who played good, felt privileged. And parents whose kids did not fare well in sports, encouraged their kids to take up some outdoor activity to keep them healthy and fit. Today, parents discourage stepping out of the house, health is indoors and physical activities have taken a back seat.

 

Here’s a question – how relevant is sports at a time like this? The answer – very. Actually, more than ever.

 

The pandemic and consequential lockdown has made us realize the value of all things we otherwise took for granted – human connection, togetherness, hope, immunity, health and so on. Ironically, these are the very things that made sports an important part of our lives. Millions of New England Patriots’ fans, strangers, come together sharing the same intense sentiment during Super Bowl; they cheer, cry and get overwhelmed by feelings during the game so much so that even witnessing it you are moved – this is the power of human connect. This is what sports can do to people.

 

Today when we are told to stay in isolation, follow social distancing, we need to be reminded of all the values and benefits that we get from sports – hope, fitness, teamwork. We need to bring back the thrill of the game, the drama around it, and make ordinary interesting again. If we have to win this battle against the virus, again all the values that playing sports teaches us – persistence, endurance and confidence, will help win the battle. Don’t give up on human connection because you have to follow social distancing – connect online, call, come in your porch and sing out loud. Don’t give up on health and endurance because you have to stay indoors – exercise, with family, friends online, neighbours in respective gardens. Don’t give up at all, because you live, breathe and eat sports, and in sports you never give up.

 

We at InstaTeam believe firmly, the game must go on. And here’s to the spirit of the game – we shall win this, too!

 

 

 

 

 

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Tuesday, 29 September 2020

Published Tuesday, September 29, 2020 with 0 comment

Pre-Season Meet in Corona Times


Parents are the key to success of any youth sports program. Having a pre-season meet with parents is strategically important as it’s a platform to align them with the training program’s goals and set tone for communication and collaboration for the year ahead. Since coronavirus has made virtual the new normal, youth sports clubs need to prepare for online pre-season meet with parents.

Online meet with parents may not be as easy as it sounds. It would require perfect coordination and planning amongst the athletic directors, coaches, volunteers and staff. Bringing everyone together on the same page, while keeping overcommunication in check can be rough. However, sports team management applications such as InstaTeam make communication, collaboration and coordination easy, quick and precise. For each team, coaches can create a new team on InstaTeam with coaches, admins, parents and relevant staff. The pre-season meet can be scheduled on the InstaTeam calendar which has auto reminders ensuring that no parent misses out on the meeting. Furthermore, coaches can ask parents to mark attendance, ensuring that all parents have read the message and have the information well in advance. Another plus about creating a team and scheduling the meeting on InstaTeam is that parents will get a feel of the suave communication and professional bearing of the club.

Here are some more pointers that can help you host the perfect pre-season meet for parents on InstaTeam.

Plan the meeting in advance

Take time to plan your meeting well. Do not schedule the meeting in a hurry, without taking ample time to plan out all the details and technicalities. This will also ensure parents get enough time to adjust their schedules and be available for the meeting.

Make it serious business

Do not have a casual approach towards the meeting. Let the parents know the importance of this session. In your communication email state things like “important information will be shared regarding how the season will conducted…” and so on. Make participation in the meeting compulsory. If you use terms like “it would be nice to have you join us in the meeting…”, it may sound like an option, and trust us, most parents will opt out.

Share all important information

This is the platform where you can set the tone for the entire season. Show professionalism by sharing all relevant details, however minute they may seem. Here are a few pointers to get you started.:

·         How do you plan to conduct training while adhering to social distancing?

·         What would be the frequency of online training and physical training sessions?

·         How long would the sessions be?

·         How are the positions decided?

·         What is the escalation matrix in case a parent has a concern or wants to reach out?

·         How often will parents meetings with the coach be conducted?

·         How does parents’ volunteering work?

These are just a few of the many important points that should be discussed at the pre-season meet.

Dry run the presentation

Since an online presentation is way tougher than a regular meeting, it is advisable that you practice the presentation with your team. Have a few key members of the team join you in the meeting. Introducing them to the parents will reassure the parents of the detail-orientation on the club.

Encourage questions

The more questions they ask, the more involved they are. Parents involvement is a good thing, as long as they do not get involved in the training. Encourage parents to ask questions as this will help settle their curiosity and bring in clarity as to the working of the club.

The highlight of the pre-season meeting is to set the message straight, parents and coaches are on the same side, so their help and suggestions are appreciated, but interference in coaching is not. As far as coaches can convey this message, your pre-season meet will be a success.

 

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Published Tuesday, September 29, 2020 with 1 comment

Things You Won’t Be Doing With InstaTeam


Over-communicating or under-informing 

The thing with good communication is that it’s precise. Too much of communication is noise. It may waver focus from the key point, confuse people or even be a turn-off, again resulting in the key point being missed. Under-informing has obvious issues like confusion, mistakes, misunderstanding and incomprehension. Both can have disastrous effects.

In youth sports training, there is no scope for either over-communication or under-information. If you want the players to come for the practice match at a ground that’s booked for the purpose from 9 am to 11 am on Saturday, you cannot afford to have any confusion there. With emails and instant messenger apps, people tend to start discussions around the topic, or even if they merely acknowledge the message, it’s unnecessary botheration for the group. InstaTeam helps cut the clutter and get to the point precisely. Coaches can send notifications to all the team players and team parents through InstaTeam, and the team can mark their attendance on the app. This makes the coach’s job simple, and those who are interested in finding out the attendees can find out, while others can merrily stay out of the conversation without being disturbed. What do people have to bring, are there any parent volunteers required, who has to bring the drinks and refreshments, all of this information can be set while scheduling the event. The respective members will receive notifications, and once they accept the invite, the coach would know it’s noted. 

Sending reminders for events 

Parents are usually juggling roles and responsibilities to get through their daily lives. This means that any added event in their schedule may need to be adjusted. Given the busy schedules, it is only natural for parents to miss out on team events. Since a coach cannot afford that, coaches would add sending reminders to parents as their pre-game prep. But no more. While scheduling an event on InstaTeam, the coach/admin can set reminders, time and frequency, and the app would send auto reminders. Works perfectly for coaches and parents. 

Manually managing fee collection 

Ask a coach and they’ll tell you fee collection is the perhaps the toughest part of their job; InstaTeam make it one of the easiest. The whole fee process, from collection to depositing it in the account to reconciling payments, keeping track of payments and sending auto reminders to fee defaulters, InstaTeam automates the entire function. 

Using multiple applications to manage different functions for the team 

From scheduling to syncing scheduled events to your digital calendars, to managing texts and notifications, to automating fee function, to carpooling, to social media posts, all the team functions can be managed through InstaTeam. You will never have to deal with the confusion and clutter of using multiple apps for team tasks.

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