Your recreation department relies heavily on people registering for the various programs and activities you offer. Their engagement creates a stronger tie between your organization and the community. This connection can be analyzed and correlated with the success of your organization through metrics including participation rates, recurring registrations, and revenue sources.
What if new recreation registration software could not only facilitate your department operations, but also boost the engagement of your registrants to improve all of these metrics?
That’s why we put together a list of the features you should prioritize as a part of your recreation software to increase engagement with registrants. These features include:
- Quick and Easy Registration Process
- Online Payment Processing
- Donations Prompted During Registration
- Targeted Messaging
- Membership Management Capabilities
Make sure your recreation registration software has all the necessary features to boost engagement. Let’s dive into the first feature!
While it might seem obvious that recreation registration software should facilitate an efficient registration process, it’s surprising how many organizations don’t have an easy way for people to register for activities.
The first step in the registration process is searching for an activity. Choose recreation registration software that makes it easy for people to find and register for your activities. For example, CommunityPass offers an attractive online catalog with convenient search and filter capabilities to facilitate the browsing and registration process.
In addition to a comprehensive catalog of activities, make sure your recreation registration software makes it easy for registrants to fill out all of the necessary forms online required to participate in each recreation program. For instance, your online forms can include:
- Medical forms
- Media releases
- Permission slips
When all the necessary forms and waivers are integrated into the registration process, it is easy for registrants to ensure they have all the required information filled out for each activity. Don’t forget to look for a registration solution that is flexible enough to allow you to build and customize your own registration forms, too.
Most recreation programs require very similar information. The signup process requires people to fill out general personal information (name, date, age, grade, address, phone number, etc.) for the participating family members as well as emergency contacts.
It can get repetitive to fill out this same information over and over again! Find online registration software with features that can save the information of each registrant as a part of their account profile. This way, their personal information automatically populates for all future registrations.
The easier and more comprehensive the registration process for recreation programs and activities, the more likely people will be to go through this process to join, which helps keep the beginning of their engagement with your organization as smooth as possible.
Online payment processing ensures people can complete every aspect of the registration process, including payment, in a single online location. It saves people the hassle of remembering to send in cash or a check before the program registration deadline.
Choose software offering online payment processing designed to ease registration for your registrants as well as payment collection for your department. Online payment processing is incredibly important for your registration software because:
- Tracking registration payments is easier. Those who have paid and those who haven’t are recorded in the system. You don’t need to search through piles of paperwork to find out if Jimmy has paid for his daughter’s swim lessons.
- You can give registration discounts to those who need it. Your organization has more control over the payments for online processing. When someone reaches out to you and applies for scholarship for a recreation program, you can easily override the price for them.
- No need to make multiple bank runs! Online payment processing does all the banking for you. You can view daily settlement reporting and monthly statements online. You can even offer automatic payments for things like memberships and before and after care programs so that people never miss their next due date.
Online payment processing doesn’t mean you can’t also accept cash or checks! Your recreation registration software should allow you to accept credit cards, debit cards, and E-Checks, but also provide the option to pay with cash or physical check for in-person and phone transactions.
The more payment options available to your registrants, the more likely it is that they will be able to make their payments to stay engaged (and on time too!).
Registration fees are a key source of income for recreation organizations everywhere, but often not the only source of income. Donations also help you fund the amazing programs you offer.
Don’t choose a registration software that limits your income source to only registrations.
Registration software that accepts donations is an excellent choice for recreation departments who want to engage their registrants in a giving opportunity. Some recreation software, such as CommunityPass, even gives you the option to prompt donations during the registration process.
Prompting donations during the registration process is a key strategy for a couple different reasons:
- You spread awareness of your acceptance of donations. Engaged registrants are more likely to donate because they have an invested interest in your organization due to their own involvement.
- You appeal to those who already have their credit cards out. When someone has just finished registering for a program, they won’t have to run to get their credit card to also make a donation. It’s already right there in their hand!
Prompting donations during registration becomes part of the registration process, making it easier for people to donate, and therefore more likely that they will do so.
Switching between registration and communication software is an absolute hassle and wastes a ton of time. What if you could send your messages all from the same place?
Some recreation registration software providers like CommunityPass offer integrated email (and text!) functionality.
With built-in communication tools, your organization can choose to send messages:
- To notify someone it’s time to renew their membership.
- To remind registrants of an upcoming event or program they plan to attend.
- To ask for donations from previous donors.
- As promotional material to market an upcoming program.
These messages are most effective when sent directly to someone’s inbox. Bulk email capability facilitates your organization’s processes when reaching out to a list of people, such as all the registrants for your upcoming soccer tournament.
These messaging techniques give you the opportunity to segment your email list to best reach out to people by appealing to their demographics and registration history. Targeted email enables your organization to encourage future registrations as well as communicate information to current and past registrants.
Choose recreation software that offers more than just single-visit passes. Is it not your goal to keep people coming back to register for more activities? Memberships options inspire people to get their money’s worth and return to your programs and recreation centers.
Some of the memberships and pass options you might choose to include for your organization are:
- Seasonal passes. These passes are perfect for season-specific activities and facilities. Summer season passes to the local pool is a perfect example.
- Guest passes. Some participants will want to share their recreation experience with family and friends. Offer a limited number of guest passes so that they can share your wonderful facilities and activities.
- Free passes. Free passes make great promotional items to encourage people to come see what great activities you offer. Try offering a free pass to your gym facility as a gift to local 5K registrants.
- Rolling memberships. Recurring monthly memberships are a great option to offer for your local recreation center. Encourage people to sign up for a membership giving them access to the recreation center in exchange for a monthly fee.
- Multi-visit passes. Offer multi-visit passes or punch cards for people who don’t want to commit to a program with a set schedule. Multi-visit passes and punch cards are great for people who want to drop in to a class at their leisure.
Choose recreation registration software that allows you to print personalized identification cards and key fobs for your members. Printed ID cards with barcodes and photos give you the option to scan members in and out of your facilities. You will have the comfort of knowing who is in your facility at any given time.
Encourage people to continue their membership engagement by sending renewal reminder emails. Or, members can keep a payment card on file to facilitate rolling membership payments. Retaining these memberships is an easy way to encourage continued registrant engagement with your organization. Increased rates of engagement further encourage future activity registrations.
Recreation registration software is key to the engagement of your community with your recreation organization or department. Set yourself up for success by ensuring your software includes all the features above.
Check out these resources for more information to help your recreation department become the best it can be:
- Ready to Buy Recreation Software? Look for These 7 Features! This CommunityPass software guide will help you continue to narrow down the search for recreation software that will best fit your organization.
- Foolproof Sports and Team Fundraising Ideas: 10 Top Picks. Does your recreation team need to raise money for your next big event? These 10 top fundraising picks from Bonfire will lead you in the right direction.
- Membership Software Comparison: 5 Picks. This software guide will help walk you through how to choose the best membership software for your organization.
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