Valuing Volunteers

With the exception of 2020, which wiped out youth sports, one of my favorite moments each year is reviewing the final applications from the NAYS volunteer coach- and parent-of-the-year nominations. Applications come in from around the world from member organizations on almost every U.S. military installation that organizes youth sports.

Recognizing volunteers has always been one of the top priorities of youth-sports administrators. It is always on top of the list when we survey members about the best ways to attract more volunteers to programs. I don’t know of a better way to recognize volunteers than with awards that shine a spotlight on all the hard work and effort they put into programs in their communities.

Reading about the moms and dads who spend hours before, during, and even after a season concludes is truly inspiring. I think about the military mom who won the Parent of the Year award a couple years back. A number of her children were enrolled in sports, and she took on the responsibility of coaching because many of the other parents were active duty and could not dedicate the time. The fact that she not only coached her own team of 7- and 8- year-olds, but also acted as a team mom for another team because of a lack of parents available, made her an easy selection. I think of a Coach of the Year recipient from a number of years ago who had contracted a flesh-eating virus, lost both of his hands and legs, and still returned to coach kids in a basketball league. And he’s still coaching today.

I also think of my own coaches and team moms from many years ago. Instead of going home from work, these hard-working men and women volunteered their time to work on drills with me and my teammates, and then would sit in the parking lot until dark discussing game strategy and line-ups. I didn’t appreciate it back then, but I sure do now.

These are the people who truly make youth sports operate. Just think about that for a second. If we had to pay these individuals for their true value, consider how much youth-sports participation would cost in this country. You really don’t have to wonder; just look to the school system and see what it costs to have qualified, caring individuals in charge of our children’s education. It truly is astounding when you think about it.

What’s even more astounding is not every organization we work with actually takes the time to participate in the award program. Of course, there is only one winner for each category nationally, but that doesn’t limit the impact that can be made locally. One doesn’t need a national award to make an impact. We encourage all organizations to give multiple awards during the season. A weekly or even a mid-season event, where volunteers can be nominated and recognized, can have a tremendous impact on a program and show volunteers they are valued and appreciated for their efforts. Plus, if recreation leaders are going to submit a nomination for an annual award or a national award, they have already done all the work.

We have always stressed to administrators that volunteers should be regarded as employees. Part of that process is screening to ensure you have only the best people with the best intentions; monitoring and recognizing those individuals is the best way to ensure volunteers will be willing to show up when the next season rolls around. Plus, what better way is there to inspire the next wave of parents who will be joining the program?

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How To Perfect Your Registration Setup

Setting up a registration can be a daunting task. There needs to be a lot of information collected, waivers signed, payments, and more. Many times, there are details left out of registrations that just make your job harder in the future. To some, a simple registration that collects payment and the name of a player will be all they need. But, every registration is different. Here are a few tips on how to perfect your registration setup!

1. Take your time.

Building a good registration doesn’t need to be a one-and-done task. Stretch out the building process over a few days, give yourself time to think of new data points and information that you’ll need to collect. This can also ease the stress of rushing and trying to quickly build a half-fledged registration. Setting some time aside and using the Sports Office 365 Registration Checklist is a great way to stay on top of your job!

2. Think of past mistakes and missing information.

It’s very easy to build what seems like a perfect registration that can be used over and over again; until the time comes to order uniforms and you realized you didn’t collect sizes. Look at past forms you’ve built and learn from what you’ve done in the past. Another option is reaching out to others or consulting online help to see what some of the most simple yet important information is that you may be missing.

3. Marketing your registration

Building a good registration is more than just adding in a few forms and then letting it sit. Registration is a constantly active program. Marketing your registration is going to be more in-depth than building the actual form; and arguably, more important. Marketing, whether it be social media, email, or any other preferred method: is an easy way to boost up your exposure. The more people you market to, the more registrants you’ll get. Be sure to set a good amount of time aside and plan to market far in advance.

4. Keep it simple

A well-designed registration is simple. There is no need for elaborate steps or forms that take more than 10 minutes to complete. The more user-friendly, the better!

5. Run Tests!

Perhaps one of the most forgotten about steps in this process is testing the actual process. The last thing you want is to go into your registration platform a week after it opened only to see nothing has been working the whole time. Set time aside to run through it yourself, have friends, and others test it for you. The more testing and tweaking you do, the easier it’ll be on you in the end.

Building a good registration doesn’t need to be hard. Set some time aside market, run tests. The more time and attention you set aside to building a good form, the easier it’ll be on your parents, and your future self!

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The 7 Day Registration Checklist

Building a registration form can be difficult, especially if you’re doing so by yourself. Check out our 7-Day checklist inspired by TeamSnap!

1. Find a Good Platform

Finding a good platform to set up your registration is the most important step in staying organized. A good platform will allow you to collect as many data points as you need, collect a payment, and track all the happenings of who is registering and when. Getting a good system in place will save you a lot of time and effort in the end!

2. Find out what needs to be recorded

Data is the quintessential piece to your registration setup. Without the appropriate information, you’ll get disorganized and things will start to fall apart. It’s important to take some time to think about what you may need to do with the data in the future and set out some of the major data points you need to be recorded.

3-4. Begin building your form

Once you have found a good foundation and set some time aside to take notes on your registration fields, it’s time to get to work building it out. Take some extra time to really make sure that you hit every point when building this out. Incomplete or difficult registration will only make the lives harder for yourself, coaches, volunteers, players, and parents. Building something simple and easy for parents to complete is the ideal goal when formatting. There is no need for anything too flashy on the registration side of things.

5. Run Through Tests

Now that your registration form is complete, have yourself and a few others run some tests. You may find you missed a data point or find you want to add or remove certain items. You also want to make sure someone other than yourself can run through these tests to get a good outside perspective on the ease of the process.

6. Begin Marketing

After the registration building process is complete, you aren’t done yet. Marketing your program is just as important as the initial setup. Marketing your program can be done either through social media, email marketing, flyers, or whatever your preferred method may be. The more your program is marketed, the more traction it’s going to get.

7. Launch, Promote, and Track

You’ve built out your registration, marketed it, and now it’s time to launch. Once your registration is active, it’s not time to slow down. You’ll want to keep active on things, especially in the first few days to make sure everything is running smoothly. Keeping a watchful eye on things as time passes will help you prepare for the actual program you run. This will also give you a good idea of things you may want to change in the future the next time you set up your registration!

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Club Announcement- Goodyear Soccer Club

Sports Office 365 is excited to announce our most recent partnership with Goodyear Soccer Club. Based out of Arizona, Goodyear brings a wide variety of programs to their area! Club, Academy, and Competitive; Goodyear provides kids many great options to grow with the sport and have fun!

We are excited to be working with Goodyear Soccer Club moving forward!

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Gulf Coast Futsal Partners with Sports Office 365!

Sports Office 365 is excited to announce our recent partnership with Gulf Coast Futsal! Based in Pensacola, Florida; Gulf Coast Futsal is an organization helping to grow the game of futsal in the United States. GCF provides kids a chance to play soccer year-round and to become better athletes!

Sports Office 365 is excited to work with Gulf Coast Futsal moving forward!

Sign with Soccer Office Today!

Sports Office 365 owns and operates Soccer Office. Furthermore, both companies function as virtual assistant services and virtual administration services. Soccer Office offers a full-time call center, marketing services, Full-Time sports registrar, sports websites, business development, accounts receivable collections which we provide to SAVE YOU TIME, MONEY, and EFFORT. For a complete list of our services please visit https://sportsoffice365.com/services/. If your club has an interest in our services please click this link to set up an appointment to speak with our Director of Business Development, Sam https://calendly.com/samc8

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