A bit of background first...
Club Organiser was designed first and foremost, with competitive swimming clubs in mind. The LTS section within CO was added as a feature for the purposes of those clubs who have LTS sections, acting as a natural feeder direct into their development and competitive squads, thus keeping everyone in -house from the moment the pupil joins, to the time they are participating in galas, meets, water polo matches or synchro competitions. LTS has now grown and continues to grow as we've had Independent Swim Schools come on board - often asking if we can tweak things slightly so as suit their individual needs, which we've been happy to do as long as it still fits within our framework and doesn't cause disruption to those already using the software.
In it's most simplistic form...
the LTS section is just one small part of CO and works on a class-based system whereby you set up your classes, swimmers are 'put' into classes, a fee (weekly/monthly/termy) is applied to the class which, in turn, can then be applied to the swimmers' account statement. Parents/swimmers will be able see the fees due when they login to their account. Providing you allow online payments, they can also pay those fees directly there and then. Instead of lots of paperwork, you simply send out a bulk email (per class/ section or the whole lot in one go), telling them to log in to their account and they'll see the fees they need to pay. You choose the payment options you want to accept and if you want you can include that information as well as term dates etc. in the email, so no manual (time consuming) mail merge type letters need be posted or emailed. [Incidentally, there is a mail merge facility available within CO if you prefer to use it, but we've found it's rarely used now since we added the live account payment functionality].
Registers, Pathways and Awards...
Both live and manual registers enable teachers to mark a pupils progress as they go through the term and then mark them as 'ready to move' when they have accomplished all their outcomes for that given class stage/badge. Awards/badges can be added to the pupil's record - presently done separately from the class register and these can tie in with the STA, Swim England or DIY Pathways that a school may prefer to use. STA and SE Pathways are stored within the software, ready for your selection, or you can create your own badge/stage/award requirements by using the DIY Pathway feature to apply to any of your classes during the class set up process
Providing you/your teachers use the registers to tick off a pupil's progress including the 'ready to move' option, you can download a 'Movers Report' at any point during the term to see if anyone is ready to move yet. This movers report is a recent addition for one of our Userclubs, and we are in the process of developing it further, so as to enable electronic movement and reallocation of all movers, in all classes for the start of a new term all on one spreadsheet.
Any pupil's progress can be commented on using their Diary Page, where they can also add their own goals and communicate with their teacher/coach when not at the pool. Parents will of course, have access to see what is written by both parties in the interest of child safety and welfare.
If you move a pupil at any time, simply tick/untick that pupil's class / section allocation and their names and details will then appear on the 'new' class/section you've moved them to.
What about a Waiting List?
Existing user clubs are setting up a Section to use as a 'Waiting List' to store enquirers basic contact details in, however, we are also developing a fixed Waiting List field within our LTS framework so that enquirers can be added together with comments regarding their swim awards to date, special requirements etc. Once a space becomes available, you'll simply tick them in the chosen class, untick them from the waiting list and their details will be transferred automatically and fees applied to their account. We hope to have this facility running by the end of 2018.
I need to see all my Classes at a glance...
No matter what size school you are, you'll be able to download a 'Class Spreadsheet' which will give you an overview of all classes, complete with location tabs for different areas of the pool/swim complex, showing the Class name, Time, Teachers' Name and the Pupils Names. See example below.
How do I take fee payments for Classes?...
You choose what payment methods you want to offer your clients, as CO can accept all types. You simply mark each pupil's chosen payment method within their bank details page on the system and then apply any payments received via the applicable methods:
Cash / Cheques - accept the amount, go into the pupil's account statement and add the amount received by manual adjustment
BACS transfer - providing you're using the system properly and have issued online logins to the parents/adult swimmers, then they'll have been allocated a unique membership number e.g. CLUB123 which they then use as their bank reference when making the payment or setting up the standing order. This bank reference then appears in the electronic bank statement which you can upload into CO. The bank ref is picked up by the system and the amount is added to the pupil's account statement electronically and the balance adjusted automatically.
Credit/Debit card - providing you have set up and linked a Stripe.com account to your CO account, you'll be able to accept payments made by credit/debit card direct into CO and the amount paid will appear on the pupils account statement once it's cleared by Stripe. [We recommend only using Stripe as it's 2% cheaper per transaction than PayPal, therefore saving you and your clients money].
Direct Debit - the DD service we use is through GoCardless.com and is proving extremely efficient and reliable. To use DD, you will first need to set up a GoCardless account, set parameters within Club Organiser and then your clients will need to set up a DD mandate from their login page. A full Direct Debit Help Guide is available once you've signed up for the 30 day free trial of CO.
In summary, the most time-efficient way to receive payments is DD, once the mandates are set up, but Credit/Debit Card is most definitely a very easy way of taking payments too. Another bonus with Credit/Debit payments is that you can add extras such as merchandise/badge fees to a pupil's account statement and that will be included in the visible balance, so can be paid in one transaction. BACS takes a little time to upload the bank statement, and if anyone pays without using their unique code the payment details will be saved and you'll need to use the Accounts Manual Reconciliation feature to ensure it's allocated to the correct account. Cash and Cheques are by far the most time consuming methods to process, which you'd expect.
Thank you for reading this (rather lengthy) blog.
If you're looking to modernise your administration system for your swim school and save yourself time without it costing you a fortune, and think our system may be what you're looking for, go ahead and sign up for the 30 day free trial. Please also feel free to get in touch via phone or email and we'll happily answer any other questions you may have.
We guarantee you that we will not pester, pressure of persuade you to change your mind if you decide you don't want to continue at the end of the free trial - we're much happier knowing that our clients are happy with their choice of software provider, so you've really got nothing to lose.
We look forward to hearing from you and to helping you get better organised. #friendlyclubsoftware