How To

We’ve talked to hundreds of youth sports teams from every major sport and found that everyone struggles with the same problem: collecting team dues from parents. Anyone who’s been in the position of collecting for a team knows the hustle and frustration that goes into getting paid. Teams need the money to meet their obligations – paying for facility or field rentals, paying coaches, entering tournaments, granting scholarships, etc. Not getting paid can be a major blow to a team.

Most competitive youth sports programs spend 40+ hours every season collecting money and end the season with 5-10% unpaid dues. That’s a shame since most teams operate on extremely thin margins, and spending time collecting team fees distracts organizers from focusing their undivided attention on developing young athletes.

Over the course of our discussions, we found a select few programs who solved the collections problem with ease. They spend 2-3 hours per season collecting and have less than 2% unpaid dues. Here are the secrets we learned from them and used to design Snap! Spend.

They have a system to stay organized

Teams that collect with ease have a system for keeping themselves and parents organized. Teams quickly know how much they’ve collected, how much is left to collect and who owes what. They can effectively track payments, create custom payment plans and grant scholarships without losing checks or forgetting to record who’s paid.

On the flip side, parents know exactly what they owe and when. They also have a convenient way to pay. Participating on a team is a commitment from both players and parents. Players are expected to be at practice on time and parents are expected pay on time.

Paying is convenient and automated

The most common reason fees go unpaid is because they are forgotten. Either parents don’t know what they owe or when, or they don’t have a convenient way of getting organizers the money. Parents are busy juggling a million things and remembering to write a paper check and deliver it is a hassle.

Teams that collect on-time and in-full have parents enroll in automatic electronic payments, just like a monthly gym membership. Teams communicate that being part of the team is a serious financial commitment and without their support the team can’t operate effectively. Signing up to pay is easy for parents; they provide their preferred payment method up front and are billed automatically throughout the season. Even better, they receive automatic reminders before they’re billed.

The result: month-after-month, the money needed to run your team automatically appears in your bank account.

Enrollment is required to join the team

Getting parents enrolled in the system of automatic payments is the most important step. Once they’re setup, 95% are on autopilot for the rest of the season. The other 5% need to occasionally update their payment method or work with you to delay or modify a payment. Making enrollment in your payment system a requirement to be on the team is the most important thing you can do to streamline your collections. Rip the bandaid off once at the start of season and save yourself the headache of doing it every month.

They’re compassionate

Life happens and families experience setbacks. A loss of a job or an unexpected expense can come up throughout the course of the season. Sometimes parents just don’t have the money this month. The best teams encourage parents to engage with them from the start. They’re willing to work together to make sure that the team gets paid in a way that works for the parent’s budget. Teams have flexibility to delay payments, split payments up, spread them over a longer period of time or even forgive a payment. As long as teams know their budget and have an easy way to track and manage it, they can work with the parent to find a solution that works for everyone.

Bonus: cut cash and coaches out of the equation

By making payments automatic, teams cut the liability of coaches collecting payments and cash going missing out of the equation. Cash is too easy to lose or misplace. Sometimes it just disappears. The best teams have a clear money trail so these issues never happen. More importantly, coaches should be spending their time coaching, not collecting money or reminding parents to pay. Great teams know this.

Set up your own automated payment system in minutes, and save hours

While the teams we talked to put together a system of their own, it took a lot of time, cost a lot of money and required technical expertise to get started. That’s why we created Snap! Spend to make it easy for teams to stay organized and set up automatic payments in minutes.

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.

What Is A Team Treasurer?

The team treasurer plays an important role in any youth sports organization.

Usually a parent volunteer, the treasurer helps the team function by handling the financial side of the game. The team treasurer should be prepared to spend 3-7 hours per week on work related to the role.  Get more details in our Team Treasurer Manual.

What Does A Team Treasurer Do?

BEFORE THE SEASON

Create A Budget

Creating a budget is a crucial first step for a team treasurer. There’s a lot of expenses over the course of a season, and the better a team can plan for them, the more prepared they will be to pay them when the time comes. By creating a good budget before the season starts, teams can set player fees to the right amount and avoid asking for more money halfway through the season.

Some things to make sure you include in your budget are team fees, coaching fees, facility fees, uniforms, equipment  and the cost of the tournaments the team will attend. For more team budget tips, check out our blog post on what you should consider when budgeting for a travel/club sports team.

Once you have a budget of what the team expenses will be, you can break them down into payments for each player. Sharing the budget with players’ parents to show where the fees are going is a good way to add accountability and transparency to the process.

Need help budgeting? At the end of this blog post, you’ll have a chance to download our free, customizable team budget tool!

Open A Team Bank Account

The finances of the team should be handled through a team bank account, not a personal one. A team bank account provides a hub for the team to handle payments, deposits, and checks. If your team is part of a larger club organization, they may already have a bank account where you can create a sub-account for your team.

For example, The Pleasanton Rage, a youth soccer club in California, has a relationship with a bank in the area that offers them free team checking accounts and free checks.

If you want more information on opening a team bank account, check out our recent blog post: How To Set Up a Bank Account For A Youth Sports Team.

DURING THE SEASON

Collect Money

During the season, it’s the treasurer’s job to collect money owed to the team and deposit it in the team bank account. This is primarily the process of collecting team fees from parents, but also includes money from fundraisers and sponsorships.

Payment collection varies from team to team, as some teams stick to cash and checks as methods of payment, while others use Paypal or an online tool. Here at Snap! Spend, we created a system to streamline the payment collection process for youth sports teams and clubs. It gives parents an easy way to pay online, making the process easier on both parents and team treasurers.

Interested in Snap! Spend? Head over to our full website to learn more and/or schedule a demo.

Pay Out and Track Expenses

Another major part of a treasurer’s role is to pay out money for team expenses. When it’s time to pay for next month’s tournament, or the team needs a new bucket of baseballs, it’s the treasurer’s job to pay out the money from the team account.

It’s also the job of the treasurer to track and record each of these expenses as they occur. You can compare the log of actual expenses to the estimated figures in the budget created before the season. This will show you whether the team is over- or under-budget in different areas.

For example, the team may be spending slightly less on tournaments than expected, but slightly more than expected on equipment and practices. This is information that you can relay to coaches and parents.

Communicate Finances With Team and Parents

As mentioned in the section above, communicating what’s happening with the team’s finances is important for the team to stay on budget throughout the season. Reports are a great way to keep everyone on the same page.

The structure of your organization will have some impact on who you send reports to and how often. Many larger-sized clubs have a Director of Finance that a treasurer should have regular communication with. In smaller clubs, the head coach may want to receive reports on an ongoing basis.

It’s important to also keep parents up-to-date with their payments. Sending reminders for upcoming payment dates, letting parents know what they have paid and what they owe, and communicating any upcoming potential expenses are all tasks that a team treasurer should do on an ongoing basis throughout the season.

Deal With Unexpected Issues That Arise

There are situations that arise during the season which will involve team finances. A player gets injured, a parent doesn’t want to pay fees, someone quits the team – How do you deal with that?

While you can’t predict what the exact situation will be, you can build a buffer into the budget at the beginning of the season to account for these situations. This ensures you are prepared for a situation during the season that could have an impact on the team’s finances. If the team doesn’t end up needing this extra money, it can always be refunded to parents at the end of the season.

These situations are usually taken on a case-by-case basis, but with the buffer in place, there’s room for more flexibility in coming to a fair agreement between teams and parents.

AFTER THE SEASON

Handle Remaining Money in Team Account

At the end of the season, it is the treasurer’s responsibility to execute whatever end-of-season plan the team has for leftover money. Some teams refund the money evenly to parents, while others prefer to roll it over to the next season.

Some teams choose to have a team banquet or buy a gift for the coaches after the season ends. Coordinating this effort with parents is another task that a team treasurer may be asked to do.

Create a Final Report

Creating a final report is the final step for the team treasurer. The report should show how much money came in and how the money was spent over the course of the season.

In addition to being transparent with the team’s financials, the final report will serve as a great resource for creating a budget for the following season.

Open A Digital Bank Account with Snap! Spend

Here at Snap! Spend, our digital bank account has everything you need to manage your team or club finances. Snap! Spend helps you budget for expenses, track player dues, accept online payments and track spending all integrated with your digital bank account.

Booster clubs are becoming increasingly important to the operations of many teams and organizations. Because one of the main functions of a booster club is to raise money, it’s important that it has a bank account set up properly. It is essential that this bank account is NOT a personal bank account.

By setting up the bank account in the booster club’s name, you ensure that the tax and liability considerations do not fall on one individual. In this blog post, we’ll walk you through what is necessary for setting up a bank account in the club’s name.

Things to Consider Before Opening A Booster Club Bank Account

We recommend incorporating your booster club and applying for 501(c)(3) status before applying for a team bank account. Incorporating ensures that in the case of a lawsuit, the assets of the team are separate from the personal assets of the directors of your team. Gaining 501(c)(3) status will exempt your booster club from paying federal taxes.

If you need more information, there are organizations like https://parentbooster.org/ that help booster clubs with processes such as incorporation and gaining tax-exempt status.

What You Need To Open a Team Bank Account

We suggest that you check with banks in your area for specific requirements, but we have found that most banks require four things to open a bank account in the booster club’s name:

  1. Tax ID number/ Employer Identification Number (EIN) for the booster club
  2. 2 Forms of Identification & Social Security Number for Each Person on the account
  3. Articles of Incorporation or Bylaws document
  4. Minimum Deposit

Tax ID Number/EIN

When you apply for incorporation and 501(c)(3) status, you will need to get a tax ID number or EIN (Employer Identification Number) before filling out the application. This number identifies the organization and will be needed to open the bank account in the booster club’s name. Even if you choose not to incorporate, you will still need this to open a bank account. To apply for an EIN, complete an “SS-4” application through the Internal Revenue Service. Click here to request an EIN through the IRS website.

Identification & Social Security Numbers

The most common way to open a bank account for a booster club is in-person. Each member of the organization who will be listed on the account will need to be present and bring two forms of identification. Most commonly, one of the forms of identification will need to have a photo, such as a driver’s license or passport. Each member will also need to know their social security number as this will be a part of the account paperwork. Check with the branch to confirm acceptable forms of ID.

If you find a bank willing to set up the account over the phone, the person opening the account via phone will need to gather information from the others who will be on the account. Typically, this information will include their full name, social security number, date of birth, and current street address.

Articles of Incorporation or Bylaws Document

An Articles of Incorporation/Bylaws document or similar legal document is often required as proof of the organization’s existence. The document should include the team name, the date the organization was formed, and the names of the team’s officers which will sign for the bank account. Some banks will accept Meeting Minutes documents, EIN paperwork, or an IRS non-profit status letter as acceptable alternatives to the Articles & Bylaws documentation.

Minimum Deposit

While not every bank has a minimum deposit requirement, many banks that we talked to required a minimum deposit ranging from $25 to $100 to open a new bank account. Depending on the bank, this may be due at the time of opening the account, or you may be able to make the deposit within a designated time period, such as within 60 days.

What To Look For In A Bank Account For Your Booster Club

A good booster club bank account should have low fees and offer all of the perks of a normal bank account, including features such as: a debit card, online banking, checks, and mobile deposits. If you have earned non-profit status, be sure to mention that when looking at potential bank accounts, as they may have different accounts available to you.

It’s important to get a thorough understanding of the features of the bank account before you apply.  Make sure to find an account that will allow you to make all of the transactions that you need to process on a monthly basis, as some bank accounts have limits on cash deposits or the total number of transactions. Be sure to ask about monthly fees, and if there are fees, ask what criteria must be met in order to waive them.

Open a Digital Bank Account with Snap! Spend

Here at Snap! Spend, we’re dedicated to making managing your booster 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.