The importance of budgeting and managing finances in youth-sports programs

All league administrators should have a budget in place before taking a single registration. The budget should estimate revenue and expenses and separate them as individual line items. Estimate revenue low and expenses high in order to provide for some margin of error. Once the budget is set, keep the spending within the budget unless there is additional revenue that might justify additional spending.

A budget serves as all of the following:

  • Operations guide: A budget will dictate how to operate a league based on anticipated revenue and expenses. It will explain how the organization is divided by roles and how they operate.
  • Financial plan: Sound budgeting will keep finances in order and identify any areas where you can fine-tune spending or save money. It should show sources of revenue and allocated expenses.
  • Communications device: A budget provides an understanding for others in a league or the overall organization as to the forecasted revenue and the plan to allocate funds for expenses. It helps stakeholders understand why only certain funds are used for certain expenses.

The purpose of a budget is to allocate resources to achieve financial goals and objectives. If a league or organization is large enough to be separated into departments, each department will have its own budget with the total contributions to the organization’s annual operating budget. A budget should be divided into line items that reflect every aspect of an operation:

  • Staffing and referees
  • Rent/lease/ownership expenses
  • Operating supplies
  • Jerseys and uniforms
  • Equipment
  • Awards
  • Concessions
  • Repair and maintenance
  • Marketing/promotion
  • Background screening
  • Facility improvements
  • Training
  • Insurance.

Budget categories are based on the league’s operation and should be flexible and monitored regularly. Here are five ways to manage a budget and finances:

Breakeven: Find the breakeven point to determine how much revenue you have to bring in to sustain the league. If the only source of revenue is participant registrations, then simply figure out how many participants are needed to run the program. If you have significant revenue in sponsorships, concession sales, etc., include that so you are not dependent on participation alone.

Cost recovery: Similar to the breakeven, cost recovery goes one step further and shows exactly how the total expenses were recovered, based on the revenue brought in. To determine cost recovery, separate all revenue and all expenses. Then divide the total revenue by the total expenses. Hundred-percent cost recovery means you broke even. Anything higher than that means the league made money. Anything less means it lost money and will need to subsidize losses with additional revenue sources.

Expense tracker: Track every league expense to the penny. It can be as simple as entering items onto a spreadsheet. This will help keep track of all funds and ensure you stay within the budget. If you control the league’s bank account, you can reconcile expenses to the account. Tracking expenses will also force you to fine-tune spending and identify places to save money when needed.

Cash-handling: Anytime you are taking in cash, or managing any finances for that matter, more than one person should be involved for accountability and for checks and balances. Decide who is allowed to take cash, determine how it is to be counted, and decide where it goes. If possible, consider going “cash free,” or work toward it.

Contingency: Contingency is more for those who have complete control over league funds, such as a non-profit Little League or Pop Warner team. A larger organization, such as a government agency or larger YMCA association, generally will not have control of this at the league level as they have their own finance departments. If yours is a smaller operation, always have some type of contingency or savings fund. Take a small portion of each registration and put it in a contingency. If things go south or there’s an unexpected expense, it can be handled without being detrimental to the program. As this fund increases, you can also use it for items like scholarships or capital improvements.

All youth sports programs, regardless of the size of the organization, should have some level of budgeting and financial management. Having a plan to manage finances will ensure you can run a viable program.

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How to Efficiently Manage Hotel Bookings

Booking and managing all of the hotel rooms for your team or club may seem like a terrifying and pressure-filled process. As long as you keep on top of everything, it’s a fairly easy process!

Timing

One of the most important aspects of this entire process may not be something you would have thought of; it’s all about timing. Timing plays a huge factor throughout this entire process, and once you understand that, the easier your job will be. Booking hotels for tournaments is not something you want to do one month or a few weeks before an event. This needs to be handled and planned out months ahead of time. Booking agencies tend to coordinate with tournaments long in advance to prepare their hotels for the event. Waiting until months after they are released will leave you with little to no options. Preparing months in advance and getting your dates straight is even more important for lacrosse clubs participating in Stay-to-Play events.

Organization

Keeping everything organized and filed correctly will save you a lot of headaches and frustration. An up-to-date spreadsheet outlining events, dates, locations, teams, and everything else will help you easily identify and stay on top of everything. Take an ample amount of time weeks before the season starts to get as much information as possible laid out in front of you. Once you have everything set up and organized, it’s on to the next step.

Finding a Plan

Going into the hotel booking process blind or without a plan will lead to failure. When trying to get a large number of rooms or blocks, you need to know dates, timelines, and how everything works. Take time before the season to learn who will be the hotel booking agency, find out release dates, and know when you need to book. Don’t be afraid to reach out to the booking agencies directly. A lot of times they can provide you with the information you’re looking for, including release dates.

Managing and Tracking

Once you got everything straight, blocks reserved, and deadlines marked; you aren’t in the clear yet. There are two more big steps to ensure you, and your parents have the easiest process.

First, be sure to track those expiration deadlines. When using a booking agency, block reservations are only held for a short time. After about 1-2 weeks, most blocks will be released back to the public. This is not always the case, some tournaments and agencies give you a long window. But, be sure to note when that deadline is. You can always reach out and attempt to get extensions, but this is not always guaranteed. Some agencies have restrictions on their extensions or don’t offer them at all. Tracking those dates as well as how many rooms your parent’s book is important for moving forward in the process.

Secondly, is distributing those booking links and information. Once you reserve a block, you’ll receive a confirmation with all the necessary information for parents to book. Getting this information out to them can vary based on the club. Some prefer to post on their team pages like Teamsnap or LeagueApps. Others would prefer to post it on the website. Whichever option you chose, be sure to fully post all relevant information and have parents book as soon as possible.

Coach Rooms

When it comes to reserving coach’s rooms, most clubs like to give their staff a different option so they aren’t staying with all the teams and players. That’s not something required, you can always have coaches pull rooms from the reserved blocks. If you decide to have them stay elsewhere, the best thing to do is make sure you reserve with free cancellation. Booking months out and getting the cheaper non-flexible rate may seem great at the time, but you never know what could come up in the future. Booking the flex rate is going to be your best option, just be sure to set reminders to cancel ahead of time if needed.

As the season approaches and parents are all booked up, your job should be relatively complete. It will then just turn into a maintenance role. Helping parents with one-off rooms, and troubleshooting issues as they appear. The whole process may seem very daunting, but as long as you keep everything organized and marked, it’s a fairly easy process!

If you still feel that your hotel booking procedures are too much, Sports Office 365 are experts on the hotel booking process and can take that task off your hands!

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The Growing Issue in Youth Sports: Longevity

Longevity in youth sports is a growing problem. At Sports Office 365, we eliminate that problem and save you and your staff time and frustration!

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The Benefits of our Sports Administrators

Running a sports team or organization is a lot of time and work. Just like in any business, a solid administration forms the strong backbone of your team! If you’re looking to free up time and ease that workload, look no further. Below are some of the best benefits of a Sports Administrator that you can find with us!

1. A dedicated Sports Administrator frees up your time

Tired of those long nights building out schedules and rosters? Fed up with the stresses of player carding and registration? Let us handle it! At Sports Office 365, We take pride in significantly easing the workload for clubs across the country.

2. Streamlining of Clerical Duties

Everyone gets backed up from time to time on something. Get teams proper practice time, issue refunds, organize communication; you name it! We help you stay on top of everything!

3. A Solid Communication Hub

Working at a club will bring you in contact with a ton of people. Don’t get backlogged on emails and phone calls. Let us handle that. We help out with incoming parent emails and our receptionist will be more than willing to yield their calls. Sports Office 365 will serve as your communication hub for your club!

4. Offset your Weaknesses

Everyone has their weak points when it comes to running an organization. We are able to work hand in hand with your strengths to drastically improve your club while helping fill in those areas that may be lacking.

5. Social Media and Marketing

One of the more difficult aspects of running an organization is marketing and media. We pride ourselves on our media and marketing abilities and are skilled in many different systems to improve your club and reach new audiences. We are able to post to your social media accounts, run email marketing and even have our own in-house graphics team to help develop your brand!

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Sports Office 365’s Mission

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