The title of the post on the left and an image of football helmets on grass on the right.

Sports and Recreation Software: 6 Must-Have Features

People of all ages benefit from community recreation programs. From children excitedly heading to little league practice to the adults blowing off steam at an after-work basketball game, recreational activities are fun for everyone. However, as you add more of these programs to your roster, management will become more complex—you may need a sports and recreation tool to sort out the details.

That’s where sports and recreation software comes in. With a dedicated solution, you can support a whole host of community activities with less hassle. When purchasing software for your organization, look out for the following features:

A depiction of must-have sports and recreation software features, also covered in the text below.

  1. Online registration tools.
  2. Memberships and passes.
  3. Secure online payment processing.
  4. Facility management and scheduling.
  5. Marketing and messaging capabilities.
  6. Prompted donation requests.

With these six features in mind, your sports and recreation community will be well on its way to running seamlessly. Let’s jump into the first feature: online registration tools.

1. Online registration tools.

Every program starts with registration. Ideally, this process should be as quick as possible to keep community members engaged at the get-go. However, as your activities become more popular and a greater number of members register, it will be increasingly difficult to keep paper forms organized and processed promptly.

An online registration tool will allow community members to register for a class or activity, purchase event tickets, or register to volunteer through an uncomplicated online process.

Customizable registration tools like the online forms in CommunityPass’ recreation software ensure you have all the necessary information. This includes:

  • Name
  • Birthdate
  • Contact information
  • Emergency contact information
  • Medical information and allergy alerts
  • Waivers
  • Permission slips
  • Program selection

Additionally, your software should automatically verify an individual’s eligibility for activities during registration. This minimizes cancellations on your side and allows staff members to keep an eye on the bigger picture while the software takes care of the administrative items on your checklist.

2. Memberships and passes.

People come to your sports and recreation center for various reasons, so you should offer a wide range of memberships and passes to accommodate their needs. Your sports and recreation software should enable you to offer all the membership plans and passes you need, including:

  • Rolling or recurring memberships
  • Seasonal, day, guest, and free passes
  • Fixed duration passes
  • Family and multi-sibling discounts
  • Exclusive membership discounts and packages

With clear, easy-to-use memberships, you’ll encourage greater community involvement and increase participation in your sports and recreation center’s activities. A robust software solution will allow you to offer automatic membership renewal and automatic membership expiration reminders for added convenience.

3. Secure online payment processing.

Online payment processing is a must in today’s technology-centric society. Regardless of whether you run a school, nonprofit, or rec center, make your payment process convenient for visitors and staff members by moving it online.

Your software should come equipped with online payment processing that can:

  1. Handle single- and multi-tender transactions.
  2. Keep credit card information on file for ease of use.
  3. Offer the option to automatically bill membership charges.
  4. 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 people to sign up and pay for your membership programs conveniently.

4. Facility management and scheduling.

The right parks and recreation software solution not only provides community members access to programs and activities but also makes recreational facility management much easier.

Instead of manually scheduling your programs in countless facilities, the software will allow you to access all the data you and your visitors need in one place. View bookings for buildings, rooms, and fields, and show them on a single, centralized calendar to avoid booking conflicts. Add any closures to the calendar that will affect bookings or your community’s program schedule.

With this information, you can facilitate online rental requests, effortlessly planning around your existing bookings. Plus, you can add photos of your facilities to your website and calendar so guests can see the space they’re reserving.

5. Marketing and messaging capabilities.

You need to be able to communicate with the people in your community, whether it’s about upcoming programs, building closures, or cancellations. While direct mail is a great communication method, digital marketing is a better fit for time-sensitive communication.

A robust sports and recreation software solution will allow you to market through the following channels:

  • Your website. According to Getting Attention, your website is one of the primary resources for community members who want to engage with your programs. Your tool should empower you to create and manage such a website, and even help you optimize it for search engines to increase your visibility and grow your audience.
  • Email newsletters. Segmentation is the separation of a large group into smaller subgroups based on shared traits and characteristics. Your software should allow you to segment community members into different groups based on their demographics and interests. That way, for example, families with young children will receive information about the new play park opening, and sports-oriented members will receive messages about the tennis court closing temporarily.
  • Social media. Platforms such as Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, and TikTok allow you to grow your organization’s audience substantially. Choose a sports and recreation solution that integrates with these platforms. Then, manage your social media strategy alongside your other marketing channels.

Don’t underestimate the importance of quick marketing and messaging for the success of your community’s recreation programs. Additionally, your software should help you compile data on the effectiveness of your communications by tracking key metrics such as open rate, click-through rate, and number of followers.

6. Prompted donation requests.

There are many ways for your organization to attain the revenue needed to provide great experiences for your community members. For organizations that accept donations, sports and recreation software can help with that too!

The best tools will incorporate online donation into the registration process so every registrant will be presented with the opportunity to give at the point of purchase, making it much more convenient for them to contribute.

However, that’s not the only way software helps you meet your fundraising goals. It should also support stand-alone fundraising programs, such as a crowdfunding program, fundraising event, or virtual fundraising campaign, that people can access to donate regularly.

Sports and recreation software is made with a simple goal: to make organizing, managing, and participating in community programs easier, faster, and better. As you search for the perfect solution, keep your organization’s unique needs in mind. Find a tool that effectively fulfills these needs and you’ll be on your way to managing an efficient community recreation program!

Author Bio

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.