Fix Late Registration Problems

Part of Bonzi’s educational series for sports clubs & leagues

Late registration causing problems for your sports program? Use rewards to change behavior.

PROBLEM: Every year we hear from clients about how frustrating it is when so many players register late. It’s difficult to get through to busy parents and adult members and entice them to sign up early. Most members wait until the last couple weeks that registration is available to sign up. This puts a lot of pressure on volunteers to put together enough teams for those “last minute” players, find coaches, and get those teams to the league for scheduling by the deadline.


SOLUTION: Give your parents and members a reason to sign up early. Many organizations will penalize members by charging a “late fee” as a consequence for not signing up earlier. But when you’re trying to attract or even retain members by being more friendly and easy to work with, that can be seen as very negative.


Six Easy Tips to Positively Encourage Early Sign Up


1. Change the penalty (late fee) to a reward (early discount). How do you change your registration fees to accommodate an early discount without losing money? Simply increase your registration fee by the amount of the early discount and then give an early discount to those that register by the specified date. So if your current fee is $50.00 with a $20.00 late fee, change your registration fee to $70 with a $20 early discount. You can even make the discount substantial in the first week or two and decrease over time. Everyone likes to save money and “get a deal”. This will create a more positive perception about your organization while enticing many members to register early.

2.  Use online registration and open your online registration as early as possible.

3.  Offer to return players to the same team they were on the year before if they sign up by the early registration date.

4. Create a drawing where those that sign up by a specified date will be entered to win free registration for the season.

5. Create a giveaway or special coupon sponsored by a local business where the first “X” number of registrants will receive a benefit. Use your email system to send members that registered by that date a certificate delivering the reward.

6. If you feel you have a stubborn membership that just won’t budge, use both a reward and penalty system or early discount and late fee.


Keys to Success

Make sure you publicize the “reward” for registering early:

  • Publish large headlines on your website about the “reward” with clear information about the rules for getting the reward.
  • Send multiple group email messages to announce and remind members about the benefits to them of registering early. Make sure they also know how it helps you if they do their part to help by registering early.
  • Make sure to print reference to early registration “savings” on any signs and flyers.
    Email your coaches and have them help by contacting their players.
  • Use your confirmation email message to registrants to encourage them to remind their neighbors and friends to register early and benefit.
  • Stick with it! If this is a change in policy for you, your members will need to become educated. Don’t give up if you don’t see the results you want the first time you try this. People will become educated and you’ll see better results over time as people become trained that they benefit for registering early.

Remind members about the benefits to them of registering early. Make sure they also know how it helps you if they do their part to help by registering early.

No matter what you do, you’ll always have people with busy lives or who procrastinate and register late. But using these ideas to entice and reward membership, instead of penalizing members with a late fee and possibly creating a negative perception of the organization, will help you be more successful in managing registration for your organization.

How Does Bonzi Help?

Bonzi offers our clients many tools that help you communicate easily with your membership through a website, group email and other communication channels. Easy settings in Bonzi let you manage early discounts and late fees, generate reports that tell you who registered and should receive a “reward”, and automatically returns players to the team they were on the year before if a member registers by a specified date.

These features along with many others make it easy to manage a reward system and solve the problem of managing late registrations for your organization.

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About the Author

Amy Pate has been a board member, administrator, and parent in sports clubs for over 15 years.
She is a founder and CEO of Bonzi, a leading provider of software and services for sports clubs, leagues, and governing bodies across the US and Canada.