Amateur sports is big business, research suggests that there are 38 million children and young people alone involved in organized sports. Behind that is a whole army of volunteers who are administrating and managing these clubs and societies. More often than not those volunteers will also have full-time jobs and families to look after as well as juggling their commitments to the sport club. Administration and communication is often handled via email or long meetings, usually held in the evenings. There is an easier way though. A sports club portal or intranet will ease the burden of administration and communication, making it a much quicker and smoother process. Read on to find out how an intranet could reduce the amount of valuable time volunteers are spending in your sports society.
What Is An Intranet?
Simply put an intranet, also known as a portal, is an internal website that is only accessible to authorized personnel. Cloud-based intranets that are hosted by a special provider include a number of tools and templates that can be customized by your sports association. A wide range of businesses as well as community and non-profit organizations have been using portals for some time now which means that these templates are tried and tested. Typically, intranets tend to include the following features:
- News and events bulletins
- Company calendar
- Document management systems
- Knowledge management hub
- Customized business forms.
Let’s look in turn at how each of these features can be used by your sports club to simplify administration and communication.
Club News And Events Bulletins
Keeping the band of volunteers involved in the club up to speed with what’s happening is a full-time job in itself. Usually, it’s a hit and miss process, involving sending out an email with no guarantee that it has been read let alone digested by everyone.
A club portal will change all that. Upon logging into the portal, users will be met with a news page that highlights all the latest updates on a club or sport-wide level. The intranet administrator will be responsible for providing these headlines which, to maximize its effectiveness, should be succinct and engaging with a link to more information for those that want it.
And so the portal will ensure that all relevant committee members and volunteers are receiving timely, consistent news updates. What’s more, an advanced search functionality means that it’s a straightforward process for any user to locate an update they might need to refer to again.
The advantage for volunteers is that their email boxes are not overloaded with unnecessary information that is hard to manage and difficult to search. All the news they require is located in one central space and is just a few clicks of the mouse away.
The club calendar displays all the important events for the sports association. From registration dates and key tournaments to fundraising events, the club calendar is the one central source for all those important dates. No longer will you have to trace dates by sifting through multiple emails or referencing committee meeting minutes. Quickly and easily you will be able to find that key date by simply checking on the calendar.
Document Management Systems
When it comes to managing important documents within a sports association, often there is one key member who holds all the master documents. Whether it’s a registration form or a promotional flyer that you’re after, it’s likely that you will need to refer to that one individual or else find a version from your old emails and run the risk of using outdated information such as an old cell phone number. Imagine how much easier it would be if you could source that document for yourself. The club portal will enable to do just that as it also acts as a document management system.
In one central location, the portal will hold all the latest versions of those important club documents: agendas, minutes of meetings, the code of conduct and club handbook, registration forms, logos and branding as well as promotional flyers and advertisements. An advanced search functionality ensures that committee members can locate the document by searching for the title, tag or subject area.
What’s more, you can embed your favorite Google Apps in the club portal. So if you’re club already uses, for example, Google Docs or Google Sheets then it’s a straightforward process to embed them in the intranet for quick and easy access. There’s no need to operate multiple systems simultaneously.
And if your club regularly needs to refer to a central or national sports code for news or to confirm fixtures then you can use a widget or iframe for convenient access to external websites.
Knowledge Management Hub
Locating background information in a sports association can be a challenge. For instance, sourcing the rules for your particular sports code most likely will involve searching Google, phoning the relevant national sports body or seeking help from a colleague or neighboring sports club. Often that kind of information just isn’t readily available, or the accumulated knowledge is collectively held in the heads of a couple of key volunteers. But what happens if someone challenges the rules? Without an intranet, as we’ve seen, it could require a great deal of effort. With an intranet, however, it’s a different story.
Instead of the accumulated club knowledge residing in the memories of a few key individuals, the club portal acts as the central hub for knowledge management. Rules and regulations for all age groups, grades and levels are held centrally along with support material for referees and umpires.
In addition, all the other information and data that a club needs to have such as a safety and health policy, historical minutes and accounts can be stored on the intranet. Once again, the sophisticated search function makes finding the information a breeze.
Club Portal Customized Business Forms
Most cloud intranets offer fully customizable business forms. Using drag and drop fields or Google Forms, it’s possible to automate paper-based systems and create your own forms. What’s more, the intranet will ensure that the completed form is automatically routed to the right person for action. So whether it’s ordering kit or registering new players, the portal streamlines the entire process.
In addition, you can use Google Sheets to craft the draw and team lists as well as keeping track of the results which can also be published on the news bulletin.
Club Portal, Costs, Access And Setup
Sports associations operate within tight budgets. Keeping costs and subscription fees down is imperative so that everyone can participate. You may think that an intranet sounds great but is bound to be just too expensive for my club. Well, think again. Most cloud providers offer discounted fixed monthly fees for nonprofit and community organizations making it a very affordable option. It becomes even more attractive when you factor in the amount of volunteer time and effort that it will save.
You may also be thinking, what about setup? This is all good and well but setting up and managing a club portal will take up too much of my time. Before you come to that conclusion though, think for a moment about how much time you currently spend on club administration, sending out emails and chasing people? An intranet will substantially reduce that effort. It’s intuitive and easy to set up so you could be up and running in just a few hours. What’s more, instead of repeating the same steps multiple times, an intranet means you’ll only need to do it once. You’ll soon find the portal’s a time saver rather than a time waster.
Cloud portals are accessible 24/7 via a Wi-Fi or mobile connection. For volunteers and committee members with full and active lives outside of the sports club, having this instant access to information is essential. Most volunteers in serving the club grab an hour here and there as their schedules allow. With a cloud intranet, they can be working from a café, on their daily commute or even from the sidelines while watching the game on the weekend.
Want to simplify administration and communication in your sports association? Contact the time at MyHub for a free trial today.