People of all ages benefit from community recreation programs. From the children excitedly heading to their little league practice to the adults blowing off steam at an after-work basketball game, recreational activities are fun for everyone.
But, with all of the activities that your community supports, you will need sports and recreation software to sort out all the details. After all, why worry about things you don’t need to?
With the right software, you can support a whole host of community activities without the hassle of manual registration, payment, team formation, or facility scheduling. The best software will have:
- Online registration tools.
- Memberships and passes.
- Secure online payment processing.
- Facility management and scheduling.
- Effective league management.
- Targeted marketing and messaging capabilities.
- Prompted donation requests.
Of course, there are a lot of considerations to be made as you make your software selection but if you keep these 7 key features in mind, your sports and recreation community should be well on its way to running perfectly.
Let’s dive into the first must-have feature: online registration tools!
1. Online registration tools.
The beginning of any great team is reliant on the simple act of registration. Every team needs members, but it can be difficult to juggle the paper forms for every single activity you host.
An online registration tool will allow community members to register for a class or activity, purchase tickets to events, or register to volunteer with an uncomplicated, online process.
The software should automatically verify an individual’s eligibility for activities during the registration process so you don’t have to!
Customizable registration tools like the online forms in CommunityPass’ recreation software ensure you have all the information you need. This could include:
- Medical information and allergy alerts
- Permission slips
This will let your staff keep its eye on the bigger picture while the software takes care of the tedious, administrative items on your checklist.
2. Memberships and passes.
People come to your center for a variety of reasons, so you should have a wide range of memberships and passes to accommodate their needs. Some people may only need a guest pass to accompany a friend to a single activity, while others may want to pack their schedule full with a variety of new, exciting programs and need a rolling membership.
Your software should incorporate a variety of passes and membership plans like:
- Rolling or recurring memberships
- Seasonal, day, guest, and free passes
- Fixed duration passes
- Family and multi-sibling discounts
- Exclusive membership discounts and packages
These plans should allow for either auto or manual renewal, as well as expiration date reminders.
A clear, easy-to-use membership plan will encourage greater community involvement and increase participation in your center’s activities.
To see a comprehensive application of membership management to a community pool, click here.
3. Secure online payment processing.
In the world of digital payment scams, some people are skeptical of putting their payment information into a new system.
But people are too busy today to have the time to come down to the rec center or rec administrative office every time they want to make a transaction. It is possible that a community member would decide not to book an activity or program if they deemed the payment process too complicated or unsafe.
Your recreation management software should assure its users that its payment methods are absolutely secure while also providing a wide range of services.
Your software should come equipped with online payment processing that can:
- Handle single- and multi- tender transactions.
- Keep credit card information on file for ease of use.
- Offer the option to automatically bill membership charges.
- Provide the option to pay online by credit card, debit card or e-Check.
As community members check out or donate to community fundraising events, they should feel confident that their information is secure. The software you use must be PCI compliant, ensuring the transaction data meets the security standard.
A safe and straightforward payment system will cut down drastically on missed or overdue payments and enable more people an easier way to sign up and pay for your membership programs.
4. Facility management and scheduling.
Sports and recreation software does not only provide community members easier access to programs and activities, but it makes management of recreational facilities so much easier.
People use your sports and recreation centers and fields for so many programs throughout the entire year. As school gets out for the summer, you are probably flooded with programs to entertain the kids all day. After all, as more children register for summer camps, the more challenging it can be to accommodate all of your program needs.
Don’t get lost in the paperwork!
Instead of manually scheduling your programs in countless facilities, the software will allow you to have all of the data you need in one place. With a simple swipe of your finger, you should be able to switch between buildings, rooms, and fields to see availability and potential reasons for closures that will affect your community’s program schedule.
This information will allow you to facilitate online rental requests with ease but don’t forget to make sure your software has customizable permits for different types of rentals.
5. Effective league management.
Sports teams take a lot of planning and fundraising to execute without a hitch. Coaches put so much work into making sure their team lineup is just perfect and that they have practiced every potential scenario. So, why not make sure they have an efficient way to stay connected and manage their team?
League management software will allow your coaches to build and manage teams while also maintaining communication through a built-in, easy-to-use messaging system.
Once someone registers for a specific activity, the coaches will be able to get to work for the season with a centralized database with the team’s information.
6. Targeted marketing and messaging capabilities
When was the last time you opened up your email to see a mass email chain about something that has nothing to do with you? Arbitrary mass messaging happens all the time, but it doesn’t need to.
Of course, you need to be able to communicate with the people in your community about upcoming programs or building closures, or cancellations, but there has to be a more effective way than a mass email blast.
The best software will allow you to create and send targeted messages, and completely erase the need for sending a message to every person participating in your database.
Your software’s messaging should feature:
- Eligibility and interest verification: The software will filter out users who are not eligible for programs you are marketing based on whatever criteria you set (e.g. program, age, grade, gender).
- Open tracking: You can compile data regarding who opens your messages so you can more effectively target a specific audience.
Don’t underestimate the importance of quick, efficient, and effective communication for the success of your community’s recreation programs.
7. Prompted Donation Requests.
It’s impossible to get around the question of money when you think about how to run a community rec center. To host any number of programs, you need capital to make things happen.
There are so many ways you raise money for your community centers and as always, your software should handle this so you can worry less and plan more fun activities for your community.
The best software will incorporate online donation tools into the registration process so every member will be presented with the opportunity to give while they already have their wallets out.
While everyone has the opportunity to donate when registering for a program, this is not the only way your software can help you meet your fundraising goals. It should support stand-alone fundraising programs that people can access to regularly donate and encourage fundraising ideas that suit your community’s needs.
If you want even more ideas for raising money for your organization, check out Bonfire’s sports team fundraising ideas.
Sports and recreation software is made with this simple goal in mind: to make organizing, managing, and participating in community programs easier, faster, and better.
Now you know everything you need to know to choose which recreation management software is best for your community, so why wait? Get on your way to managing an efficient community recreation program!
Joseph Oriente is the President and Founder of Capturepoint, creator of CommunityPass. Joe established Capturepoint in 1999 and launched CommunityPass in 2003, which was initially created to provide online registration and payment for a local town sports council that was overwhelmed with an increasing number of paper registrations. Since then Joe has been responsible for expanding CommunityPass nationally to become one of America’s most well respected and complete online management solutions with registration, membership and facilities software serving the recreation and school markets.