Best Practices

Managing money for a youth sports team can be intimidating, especially if you’ve never done it before. There’s a lot to keep track of, and you want to make sure that you are doing things the right way. Because of that, we’ve put together a list of tips for managing money specifically for youth sports organizations.

Elect a Team Treasurer

One of the first steps for your youth sports team to take to effectively manage its money is to elect a treasurer to handle the financial responsibilities of the team. Ideally, this will be someone other than the coach. Many of the tips listed in this post, such as building a budget, opening a bank account and building a payment plan, will be the responsibility of the treasurer. For more info on a treasurer’s responsibilities, check out our full blog post.

Open a Separate Bank Account and Don’t Commingle Funds

Youth sports teams need a bank account in order to operate effectively. These bank accounts should not be a personal bank account, and should instead be set up in the team’s name. Team money should not be commingled with any of the coaches’ or officers’ personal bank accounts as this could result in undesirable legal or tax implications. Having a separate bank account sets your team up for successful money management, and allows you to perform necessary functions like collecting checks in the team’s name and paying out expenses from the team’s account.

Build a budget

Building a budget is one of the first orders of business for team planning as it determines how much each player will pay. It’s important for setting expectations for families and getting financial commitments from families.. We’ve put together a few tips to help you create an effective budget..

  1. Overestimate expenses — things like travel, hotels, gas aren’t always exactly predictable ahead of time. Overestimate things because it’s always easier to give money back than it is asking for more.
  2. Try to budget for as many expenses as you can foresee or put placeholders for the expected number of tournaments/travel. Also consider whether families will pay for travel on their own or if the team will pay.
  3. Consider scholarships and how they will affect your team budget. If one player is getting a scholarship, you will need to collect more from other players to make up for this. Having one player on a partial scholarship is very common.
  4. Update the budget as expenses are incurred. Make it a part of your routine, and don’t fall behind!
  5. Be transparent: Share the budget with families regularly. There’s nothing worse than rumors about the misuse of funds. Share the team bank balance as well. Take steps to promote the attitude that it’s “our money.”
  6. Have the goal of giving money back at the end of the season.

Building a budget from scratch? Consider using our free team budgeting template.

Consider fundraising options

Fundraising can help bring down the costs that parents will need to contribute to the team. If doing fundraising, make sure to closely track all of the money that your team raises. If tracking fundraising on a per player basis, still have each player commit to making monthly payments. The fundraising revenue they generate will then lower the amount of future unpaid payments owed. Interested in a platform to help your team fundraise? We recommend checking out Snap! Raise!

Build a payment plan

Creating a payment plan is a great way to collect payments throughout the season, rather than have all of the money due at the beginning of the season. However, this does mean that you need to be especially thoughtful in how you set up and follow through on this payment plan, because you don’t want to run out of funds halfway through the season.

We recommend requiring a deposit or commitment fee up front to join the team along with creating a financial commitment agreement for parents to sign. This helps filter out players that aren’t serious or families that aren’t reliable. We also recommend frontloading payments to help mitigate missed/late payments throughout the season.

When creating the payment plan, take the budget and divide by the number of players, minus one or two. This helps ensure you have enough money even if you don’t fill out the team or a player drops during the season. Again, have the goal of giving money back at the end of the season, rather than having to go hat-in-hand to parents asking them to pay more.

We also recommend automating payments and reminders. This helps teams collect payments on time, and eliminate time spent chasing checks and sending payment reminders.

Open a Digital Bank Account with Groundwork

Here at Groundwork, we’re dedicated to making managing your club’s money easy, starting with opening a bank account. Groundwork’s digital banking platform gives you an online bank account with built in online payments to collect dues and budgeting tools to track spending. It’s the easiest way to manage your club’s money.

So, you’ve decided to use Snap! Spend for your upcoming season and are looking forward to a life free of chasing down checks. Not so fast. Snap! Spend is a powerful tool that can help you achieve this, but only if you use it right.

Here are our top tips for teams to succeed with Snap! Spend this season.

Set up your account in advance

You’ll want to sign up for your Snap! Spend account a few days before you start collecting. Once your account is activated, you’ll be able to start setting up teams and customizing player payments immediately. However, we need to verify your bank account before parents can start paying, and that takes about two business days. Be sure to give yourself enough time and signup in advance.

Let parents know about Snap! Spend

Give parents a heads-up that you’ll be using Snap! Spend this season and that you will provide them with an email invitation or signup link. If you’d like a template email to use, let us know and we’ll provide one.

Use Snap! Spend to collect all of your fees

We want to make your collections headaches a thing of the past. That’s why we’ve poured our heart into building Snap! Spend . To get the most out of Snap! Spend , you have to go all in and make it the only way you collect payments. If Snap! Spend is just another way for parents to pay, you’re still going to be chasing checks. Let parents know that all payments will be collected online through Snap! Spend.

Collect a non-refundable deposit

Non-refundable deposits are great for a number of reasons. They give players the ability to reserve their spot on the team and force indecisive players to make a decision and stop shopping around. Collecting a deposit is also the easiest way to get parents signed up to Snap! Spend and in the system. To pay your deposit you have to pay online, to pay online you have to signup to Snap! Spend. Once parents are signed up, they’re either paid up in full or on autopay which makes your life easier for the rest of the season.

Open a Digital Bank Account with Snap! Spend

Here at Snap! Spend, we’re dedicated to making managing your club’s money easy, starting with opening a bank account. Snap! Spend’s digital banking platform gives you an online bank account with built in online payments to collect dues and budgeting tools to track spending. It’s the easiest way to manage your club’s money.

Playing youth sports is a huge part of our upbringing. It teaches kids values like teamwork, responsibility, commitment, and work ethic. It gives them an outlet to have fun, make friends, and learn the importance of physical fitness at a young age. It’s also become a big business—a $15 billion business, to be more precise.

Unfortunately, all that money has created some ethical issues. Financial fraud and embezzlement in youth sports are seen in more and more headlines all the time. The people helping to run the teams that are supposed to instill values in our children sometimes do the exact opposite of what we’re trying to teach them.

With travel teams and clubs becoming increasingly more expensive, there’s a lot more money to keep track of. Accountability and transparency around where that money is going is more important than ever. Parents are making significant investments in their kids, and they want to know that their hard earned money is being spent responsibly.

Here’s our take on how non-profit teams and clubs can improve their accountability and transparency.

Create a budget and set clear expectations

Before you ask for any money, you should take the time to write up a budget and share it with parents so they know how much they can expect to spend for the season. If you don’t know the exact numbers yet, make a projected budget so they at least have some idea how much it will cost. Make sure that everyone knows exactly what their financial responsibility will be and tell them their remaining balance after every transaction.

Set a clear refund policy and let parents know about it upfront. Most teams do not offer refunds, so make sure parents know that if their child leaves the team mid-season, they should not expect to get their money back. Explain that when a player leaves, the team’s expenses are still the same, and the money they pay is needed to ensure you’re able to provide everything needed for the rest of the players.

Have a clear policy and process for financial reporting within the organization

Every dollar should be trackable. There should be a clear record each time money changes hands, including who it came from, who it was given to, and what it was spent on. Keep detailed records—don’t just put expenses into broad categories. Break down each category so that you know exactly where money is going. For example, rather than just saying “equipment”, make notes of the type of equipment bought (helmets, uniforms, bats, etc.). This not only deters fraud, it also helps make sure that you’re sticking to your budget.

In order to ensure that money is being spent appropriately, you need to have a system in place so that purchases and expenses are tracked and reported. For example, the team treasurers report to the club’s director of finance, who then reports to and updates the board of directors. Schedule regular reviews to go over budgets, receipts, expenses, and collection status.

Designate one person to handle collections

When too many people are collecting money, it’s easier for it to disappear, either as a result of fraud or by accident. Spreading the responsibility to more than one person creates a liability, and makes it much more difficult to keep accurate collection records. By delegating this job to one person, you can ensure accountability. There can be no confusion as to who collected what from which parents if all of the money goes to the same person.

Never mix club bank accounts with personal ones

Open a team bank account for all collections and expenses. Using a personal account for team funds is a recipe for disaster. It creates confusion and makes it far too easy for club money to get mixed up with personal funds. The hassle of combing through dozens of transactions to separate the personal purchases from team expenses is not worth it. Plus, with a separate account, there’s an added level of transparency so the treasurer can never be suspected of using club money improperly.

Allow autonomy for teams, but keep club leadership informed

From an accountability perspective, having one person handle all collections and expenses is the simplest thing but it’s not always feasible. Oftentimes clubs allow for each team to manage their own budget and collect for their team. This autonomy is important, but the club leadership should never be in the dark.

One way clubs solve this is to have each team have a separate checking account all under one organization account. Each team can access their own checking account and the club leadership has access to all accounts. This strikes a nice balance between autonomy and accountability.

If you’re using Snap! Spend to manage your team collections, you can have one club-level account and provision teams each with their own manager. That way teams can manage their own collections and the club leadership has visibility into every dollar collected.

Provide season-end and year-end financial reports

When each year or season wraps up, put together a report of exactly how the team’s money was spent. Include information about how the projected budget matched up with the actual budget. If there were any funds left over, provide a detailed explanation of what will be done with the extra money—will it be refunded or rolled over to the balance for the following season? Answering these questions will help parents and club leadership to feel confident that all collected funds were managed appropriately.

The Bottom Line

If you’re going to be collecting money from parents for team expenses, it’s important that they trust you. Being clear, transparent, and upfront puts them at ease and prevents questions and confusion later on. Planning and putting straightforward policies and procedures in place ensures that you won’t end up dealing with fraud and sets a good example for the players on your team.

About Snap! Spend

Here at Snap! Spend, we’re dedicated to making managing your club’s money easy, starting with opening a bank account. Snap! Spend’s digital banking platform gives you an online bank account with built in online payments to collect dues and budgeting tools to track spending. It’s the easiest way to manage your club’s money.

Whether it’s at home, school, or work, being organized makes everything easier. And sports teams are no exception. Our goal at Snap! Spend is to streamline and take the stress out of the payment process for both the teams and the players’ parents. When all the logistics of managing or playing for a team are running smoothly, you can focus on the reason you’re there in the first place—the game.

Organized Teams Attract Better Talent—And Keep It

If your child has ever played for a team that was poorly managed, you’ve probably experienced all the downsides to a lack of organization. When you don’t have easy access to the team’s payment schedule, it’s hard to remember how much you owe and when it’s due. At Snap! Spend, we know most parents have a never ending to-do list, and our automated payment system helps you cross a few things off.

For teams, making the payment process, quick, straightforward, and painless for parents can actually give you a competitive edge. No one wants to deal with a team where making payments is a headache, and it would be a shame to lose talented players to another club due to a chaotic and confusing payment system. Keeping things simple and efficient means that parents are more likely to want their kids to play on your team again the next year. And the one after that.

It’s Easy to Make Sure Payments Are On Time When They’re Automated

When fees are automatically paid from your bank account or credit card on the day they’re due, you don’t need to worry about forgetting. You can relax for the rest of the season and know that you’ll always be paid up. And Snap! Spend will always give you a heads up when a payment is coming—we send you reminders a few days before each one is due so you can log in to view the amounts and change your payment method if necessary.

From the team’s perspective, automated payments are a huge time saver. Once the schedule is set, you don’t have to remind parents or make those awkward phone calls asking for money. You can make changes to your payment schedule or add additional fees for tournaments or other expenses at any point in the season. You can log in anytime to see how much you’ve collected and when you can expect the next payments to appear, all in one quick glance.

It Helps Teams and Parents Stick to Their Budgets

Having a payment sneak up on you means you may not be prepared when it’s due. And there’s nothing worse than having to pay a last minute bill you didn’t budget for. When you always know ahead of time exactly when a team payment is due, you can make sure to leave room for it in your monthly expenses. And those reminders we just talked about? They give you the piece of mind that you’ll never be surprised when you check your account balance.

Coaches also know how important it is to have a solid team budget. It’s not uncommon for a team to have 30% or more of their fees go uncollected, simply because there is too much confusion around what is due and when. And you don’t want to get halfway through the season and realize you don’t have enough money to cover all your expenses. When your payment system is well organized, staying within your budget is much easier because fees are more likely to be collected on time.

The Bottom Line

There are no downsides to being more organized. It gives parents and players a better experience, and saves the team a lot of hassle when it comes to collecting payments. No more remembering due dates or making collection calls. We’ve got your back.

Here at Snap! Spend, we’re dedicated to making managing your club’s money easy, starting with opening a bank account. Snap! Spend’s digital banking platform gives you an online bank account with built in online payments to collect dues and budgeting tools to track spending. It’s the easiest way to manage your club’s money.

Team fee collections are a big part of managing a club or travel team. Different sports have their own ways of organizing the collections process depending on the size of the club or team and how their budgets are set up. If you’re part of a club with a lot of different teams, it’s important to find the method that works best for your specific needs.

Whether you’re doing it for the first time, or you’ve been managing collections for years and are wondering if there’s a better way, there are several factors to consider. To help you decide which is the best method for your team, here are a few different models that youth sports teams use and the pros and cons of each.

One Person Handles All Collections for the Entire Club

It’s possible to delegate all the collecting to one person if all the teams in your club are similar in cost structure, travel locations, and the number of tournaments they attend. A lot of volleyball and ice hockey clubs organize their collections this way. This method works best if you already know what your team fees will be in advance.

The biggest benefit to this method is that it’s very simple to set up. One person does all the budgeting, so they don’t have to coordinate with anyone else. You always know who to ask if you have any questions about the club’s collections status, and there’s a single point of contact for parents of the kids across all the different teams.

On the other hand, it is a lot of work for that one person. They have to do all the budgeting and collecting for a lot of teams. It’s a full time job, which means that you’ll have to hire someone to do it. If you don’t have the funds to pay someone or don’t know your expenses in advance, this may not be the best method for your club.

Each Team Handles Its Own Budget and Collections

If the teams in your club have a lot of differences in their budgets, it may not be feasible for one person to organize them all. In this situation, it’s better for each team to be in control of its own budgeting and collections. The club has obligations like providing insurance and a central bookkeeper, and each team has its own responsibilities including collecting team fees and paying club dues.

With this method, individual teams have more autonomy and can decide for themselves how to set up their budgets. They are in charge of how many tournaments they want to go to and how much they want to spend each season. They also won’t have to pay to hire a full time finance manager, which is better for all volunteer organizations that don’t have as much money. This method works well for teams who don’t necessarily know what all of their expenses will be ahead of time.

The downside is that each team will have to recruit a team treasurer and manager every year and train them. Oversight and accountability is more difficult and you’ll definitely need to set up a centralized process to make sure everyone knows their responsibilities and who they need to report to.

The Bottom Line

Every club is different. What works for one may not work for another due to variations in size, number of teams, and cost structure. Finding the best method for your club will make the collections process run much more smoothly and save you a lot of time and hassle.

Regardless of which method you choose, Snap! Spend can help automate your collections and make things much easier for both parents and team managers. Learn more at spend.onsnap.com.

Collecting checks costs more than you may think, both in time and in money. The inconvenience of paying team dues by check is apparent to many parents, coaches, and team administrators, but not everyone realizes the true costs that checks have on a team’s collections process.

There are several steps that have to be completed every single time a check needs to be collected.

  1. As parent: Remember to pay
  2. As parent: Find checkbook
  3. As parent: Write a check
  4. As parent: Deliver a check
  5. As club: Get the check
  6. As club: Deposit the check
  7. As club: Reconcile the check

Going through this lengthy process every time a check needs to be collected is inefficient and prone to errors. Paying by check is easy to forget. Checks can get lost. Late payments are likely. Plus, accounting for checks is a manual process that is extremely time-consuming. Teams end up spending significant hours each week simply keeping track of payments.

The burden falls on the club to remind parents when payments are due, to collect the payments, and to keep track of it all. And while most teams operate on very tight budgets, ultimately the payments flow in when the checks are written, not necessarily when the team needs it most.

Teams spend more time chasing down money and end up with uncollected payments at the end of each season. Clubs that collect checks have 4.7x more uncollected dues on average than clubs that collect everything online. Moreover, clubs that collect checks find that they spend 5-10x more time collecting money than those that automate payments. For big clubs, this means $10,000s and hundreds of hours each season.

What’s the alternative to paying by check?

So, knowing that checks are an inefficient way to collect payments, what’s the alternative?

The answer is automated online payments.

With autopay, there is only a single one-time step that needs to be completed for team payments to be collected:

  1. Set up Autopay

Automated electronic payments mean less time spent and more money collected, even after accounting for processing fees. The reason every business accepts card payments is because it’s worth it. By collecting team dues on time and in full each season, organizations receive the predictable cashflow they need to operate smoothly.

The automation of the collections process saves youth sports teams countless hours each month in chasing down, collecting, depositing, and reconciling payments. By removing the hassle of collecting team payments, teams can put more time and focus back on the field.

“Even the parents who initially may not have been so happy about switching to electronic payments have learned to love the system because it really is so easy,” says Kristen Dean, Director of Finance of WAVE Volleyball, a club that uses Snap! Spend for automated electronic payments. “If you want to streamline your life and have sanity in your club, this is the way to do it.”

Open a Digital Bank Account with Snap! Spend

Here at Snap! Spend, we’re dedicated to making managing your club’s money easy, starting with opening a bank account. Snap! Spend’s digital banking platform gives you an online bank account with built in online payments to collect dues and budgeting tools to track spending. It’s the easiest way to manage your club’s money.