If your youth sports athletic association or league is looking for help on how to convert from paper to an online registration system, you are not alone. Many associations are still running on paper, yet in today's online world there is little reason for leagues and associations to rely on paper based registrations. Given that most associations and leagues are staffed by volunteers whose time is precious, anything that can be done to minimize their work load is a huge plus. The annual team and player registration cycle is one of the most demanding workloads on association staff and therefore an ideal target for optimization.
Unfortunately because board member time is generally volunteered, many youth sports organization do not put a value on that time. All online programs have a fee, some more or less than others and some with strings such as advertising or other offsets. Regardless, when comparing those fees to zero for the volunteer time, it can cause youth sports association and league administrators to pause. By automating the mundane, it frees up time for the volunteers to do more meaningful work and you may find that less volunteers are needed overall Your time is valuable, so spending less time stapling checks to registrations, making bank runs or trying to round up volunteers, will payoff in the long run.
The options for setting up an online registration process are many and affordable. Options range from generic online form and payment providers to specialized sports management systems, such as our very own Engage Sports program (shameless plug!). The only reason to choose a generic registration system is cost, and even that is a not a good reason as you will eventually find that generic systems are just that - generic. Countless hours will be spent trying tailor a generic system to your specific needs vs starting with a program that is designed to support a youth sports environment right out of the box.
Leading youth sports management systems now offer bundled or ala carte tools for running online registrations, payment processing, team websites, league and tournament scheduling, volunteer scheduling, calendars, and reporting tools. Plus, these companies are run by people who know sports; they talk your talk and walk your walk. You won't need to explain what "work-duty buy out" means or a work exemption for board members and coaches.
So, if you are looking for help to convert from paper registration to an online program, select a company that specializes in youth sports. Your outcome will be better, more economical and well received by your parents, coaches, staff and community.