January 16, 2018

Groundwork Defeats the Paper Check in Youth Sports

Since Fall 2017, teams using Groundwork have dramatically increased payment success rates

Los Angeles, CA, January 16, 2018 - Groundwork, an easy-to-use automated payment and notification solution designed exclusively for youth sports, today announced an upgrade to its unique payment platform designed to accelerate the demise of paper checking and boost payment rates in this rapidly expanding field.

With winter sports starting soon, clubs are preparing for their next seasons — and they’re in good company. As Time reported last August, youth sports is now a $15 billion market, having grown 55% since 2010. Despite turning into a major industry, youth club goals remain practically universal: fun and growth for players alongside rewarding experiences for coaches. 

Unfortunately, club administration often torpedoes positive experiences. Billing and collections in particular pose major issues for clubs. Admins and coaches burn countless hours (often unpaid) reminding parents, and parents feel alternately pressured, overwhelmed, and confused. Fees often go unpaid, which means others must make up the difference. Part of the blame falls on paper check reliance as clubs maintain “tried and trusted” methods in a time when paper check payments have fallen 50% since 2000. And no wonder. Who wants to remember to write a check and physically deliver it when paying online or setting up automatic payments is so much more convenient?

“The youth sports space is one of the last places to still use checks,” said Bill Lennon, Co-founder and CEO of Groundwork. “At the same time, leagues and teams keep limping along with manual systems and (at best) spreadsheets – all highly manual and time-intensive. While several options now exist to help automate these laborious demands, we created Groundwork’s web-based application specifically for the needs of large clubs that need to shed these manual headaches and do so without any mandatory purchasing of larger software suites or extraneous services.”

Ready for the Big Leagues

When Groundwork debuted in the summer of 2017, leading into volleyball and basketball season, Lennon went to market with a roster of 200 beta users. Youth sports clubs often span hundreds of players, with each player’s family needing to meet $1,000 to $5,000 in fees. Clubs can have dozens or even hundreds of teams, some with full-time staff. Summer was a proving ground for Lennon’s first-of-its-kind payment management system — the only solution in youth sports specifically built around automating paperless family/team payment management. Groundwork gave an all-star performance and began disrupting the youth sports software field in earnest.

“Using Groundwork, we had a 99% success rate on collecting our Fall fees,” says Ben Cote, a director for the Renegades Basketball Club. “That is unheard of. And for me, it was basically set-it-and-forget-it. Groundwork streamlines the collections process, and parents like it, too. I’m spreading the word to all of the clubs I know.”

As word quickly spreads, Groundwork is seeing roughly 50% month-over-month growth in its subscriber base. As of December 2017, over 500 teams and 5,000 players have adopted Groundwork for their payment automation needs.

According to Lennon, Groundwork learned many lessons from the summer season and subsequently integrated many new features and capabilities into the payment platform, including:

  • Powerful Reporting. The new Groundwork gives users greater insight into their collections progress, generation of custom reports, and expanded export functions.
  • Team Assistants. Clubs with many teams often need help from team managers and treasurers managing the payments for individual teams. Groundwork has a new team-level user role that can help manage payments for one team without giving access to the entire club account.
  • Link signup. Users can either put a link on their site or send out custom invitations to onboard into the club’s Groundwork system. This is one of many ways Groundwork continually streamlines its front-end experience to make the entire payment process easier for families and managers.

Such improvements are already bearing fruit and winning long-term fans.

“Groundwork eliminates several ‘busywork’ tasks for us by automating them,” noted Kristen Dean, Programs and Finance Director for WAVE Volleyball Club, a nationally recognized club based in San Diego, CA. “Old to-do items that bogged our team down included contacting parents regarding reminders about payments, emailing and calling when payments were late, and reiterating the payment schedule frequently to our customers via emails and phone calls. Parents have actually been complimenting our staff often on how easy and streamlined — and stress-free for all! — the payment system is at our club. Parents can view their schedule, are reminded of upcoming payments, and can change their payment method at anytime. It’s such a relief in terms of workload and stress!”

The most recent advances in club software focus on logistics. (Who’s bringing the orange slices tomorrow night?) However, financial operations dwarf logistics in the long run, but only Groundwork is delivering a dedicated solution to sports club financial needs. Before the next sports seasons kick off in February, youth sports clubs should take a long look at their payment processes and the time spent on them. If the numbers don’t add up, it may be time to consider a new solution based around convenience, automation, accountability, and cost savings.

About Groundwork

Groundwork is an easy-to-use automated payment and notification solution designed exclusively for youth sports. Groundwork helps track payments by team and player all in one place so payments never get lost or forgotten. Real-time reports show collection progress and identify who is not current. Groundwork allows users to create custom payment plans for teams and players and award scholarships and discounts. Parents can choose to pay online upfront or enroll in autopay for the season. Groundwork even takes care of reminding and notifying parents for you automatically. Bottom line: Groundwork helps teams run with less effort, time, and cost and makes parents lives easier too. For more information, visit https://www.ground.work and follow @teamgroundwork on Twitter.