The most incredible story of return on investment (ROI) in the history of sports isn’t a lopsided trade or some rookie who put up MVP numbers on a minimal salary. No, the honor goes to the owners of the Spirits of St. Louis, an American Basketball Association franchise from the 1970s. When the NBA absorbed four teams from the flailing ABA, the Spirits were left behind. To avoid being sued, the NBA agreed to give the St. Louis owners one-seventh of the TV revenue share of the four departing teams in perpetuity. The NBA, of course, took off, earning the lucky Spirits owners hundreds of millions of dollars over the decades.
Youth rec sports leagues don’t expect to turn a profit, but some ROI is nice. Organizations with tight budgets can breathe a little easier if they can generate more funds than expected. Paperless registration, offered through top league management solutions, provides a means to achieve a noticeable return on investment. Here’s how:
Dozens or even hundreds of handwritten registration forms mean hours of work for league administrators and registrars. As volunteers, they aren’t being paid for the work they put in — including inputting registration info into a spreadsheet or other program — but the time does add up and prevents them from other important league functions. An alternative is to pay someone to enter all the data, but besides the obvious cost, roster formation afterward still will take longer than it should. Paperless registration eliminates so many intermediate steps: Parents register their kids, and the players’ information automatically drops into the system, ready to be attached to a team (which the league management software can handle as well). Time is saved, as are money and resources.
Here’s a simple fact: Parents prefer paperless registrations. In this day and age, manually filling out paper registration forms seems hopelessly old school. Moreover, registration forms can be lost or forgotten, thus resulting in a child not being registered at all. Parents appreciate paperless registration because it’s convenient for them, they can avoid dealing with writing out checks and mailing in the registration (or, they don’t have to show up in person for a registration day), and automated reminders — sent via the league management software — decrease the odds they will forget to register. More registrations mean more funds for your league and the appearance you are thriving, which in turn leads to more registrations, and so on and so forth.
As already mentioned, paperless registration saves admins and league directors time. Few leagues operate with just registration fees alone; they need sponsorships and donations to operate properly — rent fields and courts, buy equipment, pay officials, and so on. When directors aren’t overburdened by manual registrations, they can devote more time to fundraising and securing key sponsorships. This produces an unlikely but tangible ROI and, ultimately, helps create a better organization that parents won’t hesitate to sign their kids up for year after year.
The online payments element of paperless registration can produce a return on investment in a few ways. First, you aren’t making multiple trips to the bank to deposit checks, which saves time. Second, parents are paying fees with credit card from the outset, thus eliminating the possibility of checks getting lost or not sent at all (plus, you aren’t wasting time chasing down missing payments). Finally, and perhaps most importantly for ROI, online registration fees give you immediate access to funds. Parents register, and their fees automatically drop into the league’s account. If you have been forced to use a credit card for your league to make purchases while you waited for checks to arrive and go through, you might have faced interest and fees that dinged your budget. Paperless registration avoids this floating of funds — parents register, and the money is there for the league to use right away.