DC SCORES Wins Big at United Expressions Benefit

Demosphere’s Kris Baker proudly attended the United Expressions benefit event this week, gathering for a special evening to bring art and soccer together in support of DC SCORES.

DC SCORES

The DC chapter of America Scores is a non-profit organization which serves kids in need through programs that build confidence and skills to succeed on the playing field, in the classroom, and in life. Through a unique combination of soccer, poetry/spoken word, and service-learning, the organization helps over 2,200 kids in 55 schools develop into healthy teens and young adults.

UNITED EXPRESSIONS

The evening, which took place at the Hyphen Galley in DC, was well attended by members of DC United, DC SCORES, and friends and family of artists John Brendan Guinan and DC United’s Head Coach, Ben Olsen. Both artists graciously donated several pieces of artwork, with proceeds going toward DC SCORES in anticipation of contributing to a meaningful difference in thousands of kids’ lives.

THE ART

Several DC SCORES members performed original poetry for the crowd in between mingling with the artists, DC United players, browsing works of art and enjoying the delicious food donated by Mindful Restaurant Group. It was truly an amazing evening bringing two seemingly uncommon worlds together: Soccer and Art.

COMMUNITY

Demosphere is extremely proud to be a supporter of DC SCORES to help the local community in support of the development of our youth through soccer, poetry, leadership and more. We encourage you to consider contributing to the organization, or to a similar affiliate in your area. If you have a similar organization in your area that you’d like to share, please post your comments below.

Part of Demosphere’s mission involves providing continuous support of the youth sports community, which we have been contributing since our beginning almost 27 years ago. Our goal in this realm is to help build community connections by sharing ideas and investing in the leaders of tomorrow.

Social Media: Supercharge Your Sites Part 1

If you manage a website or blog, then it can be challenging to consistently create engaging content through writing articles; however, social media posting has become pretty natural.  Luckily, we can leverage all the work put into your social media channels by embedding that content on your Demosphere website.  This two-part guide will show you all you need to know to integrate your Facebook page and Twitter account with your website. Let’s get started!

Social Media Tip 1: Facebook Pages

You can share all kinds of social media content between Facebook and your website including: timelines, messages, and events. Embedding your Facebook page on your site is an easy way increase your online presence. This section will cover how to connect different pieces of your Facebook page with your site.

1) Navigate to the Facebook Developer Page Plugin page.

social media page plugins

2) Scroll down until you see an input for, “Facebook Page URL,” and enter the url for the page from where you want to use content. In this guide we will be using Demosphere’s Facebook page as an example.

3) Choose the tabs you want to include in the input labeled, “Tabs”. Available options are: timeline, messages, and events. You may include as many tabs as you wish by separating each tab with a comma (example input “timeline, events”). In our example, we’ll use all 3.

social media page plugins

4) Configure the appearance of your page plugin. The nice people at Facebook have made this process very simple by exposing common configurations as checkboxes and text inputs. You can experiment with the look and feel of your plugin by previewing the content underneath the configuration settings. It is best to leave width and height empty, as well as leaving the checkbox for “Adapt to plugin container width” checked to ensure your plugin looks great on all device screens. For the guide’s example we are going to use the settings below:

social media page plugins

5) Get the code. You can get all of the code to put on your site by clicking the “Get Code” button beneath the plugin preview. You will need to copy both snippets of code from the tab “Javascript SDK” and put them on your page in the order they appear. Our example’s code snippets are below:

social media embed code

6) Add the code to your page. Add the snippets to your Demosphere website as “Rawcode” (shown below). If your site is not hosted by Demosphere, then you can add your code snippets to the source code of the page in the order shown above.

social media embed code

7) Check your public page:

social media public

Social Media Tip 2: Showcasing Specific Posts

Sometimes you will want to highlight a specific post from Facebook. You can accomplish this using Facebook’s Embedded Posts Plugin. We’ll walk through how to accomplish that below.

1) Start by logging into Facebook and navigating to the post that you would like everyone to see. In this example, we will use one of the posts from Demosphere’s Facebook page. Click the arrow at the top right of the post and choose the “Embed” option, then “Advanced Settings”.

social media post embed

2) Configure the post plugin. Facebook Embedded Post Plugin page should look familiar to the Facebook Page Plugin page. Set the pixel width option to “auto” as shown below.

social media embed post

3) Get the code. Click the button “Get Code”. If you’re following along from the last section and are not using the Demosphere platform, then you don’t need to copy the first snippet.

social media embed code

4) Add the code to your page. Like the previous section, you can add the code to a Demosphere page using “Rawcode”. If you are not using the Demosphere platform, then you can add the code snippets to your page’s source code.

5) Check your public page

social media public

What Next?

If you’ve been following along, then you have successfully integrated different elements from your organization’s Facebook page. Take some time to experiment with what you have learned in Part 1 of this guide and explore the various plugins that Facebook has to offer. Most of them can be implemented by simply embedding the code they provide into your site.

Having trouble? Did you setup an awesome social media steam? Leave a comment below and be on the lookout for Social Media: Supercharge Your Sites Part 2, where we will go over how to integrate Twitter with your site.

 

Miles Baker Celebrates 20 Years at Demosphere!

Sunday, April 30th, 2017, marks the 20th work anniversary of Miles Baker, Senior Vice President of Product Development for Demosphere. Members of the Demosphere team gathered today for a celebratory lunch in honor of this amazing milestone.

Over the years, Miles has been a part of many significant achievements, contributing immensely to the success of Demosphere. One of his most memorable experiences in the early years was his involvement with the FIFA technology task force during World Cup ’98 in France. Miles and team were responsible for attending World Cup matches and updating fifa.com with scores and media articles – what an amazing opportunity!

In those early years, Miles also worked on the design for the first Manchester United website and helped to take the Washington Soccer Net newspaper from print to online – one of the pioneering sources for soccer news in the U.S.!

Continuing into the next two decades, Miles contributed countless revolutionary ideas to the evolution of Demosphere’s products and services, which have been benefiting thousands of youth sports organizations for the last 20 years and counting. Initially responsible for creating all client website designs, Miles crafted beautiful graphics for many first-ever organizational websites, from internationally-known U.S. Soccer to local clubs like Arundel Soccer.

His initial work on Demosphere’s WebWriter® product delivered one of the first online content management systems available, providing an easy way for users to update their own site content on the web – something previously handled via fax requests and static content updates!

Baker also designed “elements”, the strategy and framework behind Demosphere’s integrated League and Tournament management solution that has been used by many organizations over the years including U.S. Soccer Development Academy, Elite Clubs National League, United Soccer League, and handfuls of other national and regional soccer leagues across the country.

However, when asked about his greatest accomplishment, Miles shared, “I’m most proud of what our team has created with our new platform. Building a visionary solution based on decades of experience and user feedback has been tremendously rewarding. I am very fortunate to work with such a pioneering team as we continue to broaden our extensive platform, and maintain our position as a provider of leading-edge solutions for youth sports organizations around the globe.”

The entire Demosphere team expresses thanks and congratulations to Miles Baker for his many accomplishments over the years, and we most certainly look forward to many, many more!

Communication Is Crucial: 8 Steps to Improve

Good communication is one of the most important ingredients of running a successful organization and Demosphere has several tools to help you master the gift of gab!

Demosphere’s fully integrated Club and League solution provides many important tools for streamlining communication; from professionally designed websites, robust online registration features, league scheduling tools and our latest addition, the Demosphere Team Communication app.

Check out our 8-Step Guide for improving communication within your organization:

Step 1: Update Your Website’s Homepage

First, create an enticing welcome message front and center on your website encouraging members to join your organization.

register nowShare a list of member benefits, along with important info they will need to join; such as program options, fees and dates.

Demosphere also recommends including a Register Now button that is easily visible on your website to allow members to start the registration process within one click of your home page.

Looking for a customized Register Now image? Demosphere can help!

Step 2: Registration Season Setup

unnamedBe sure to set up a registration outgoing email address within registration settings that is regularly monitored to help parents to stay connected with your organization. Keep in mind, this address can be an alias that forwards to multiple people within your organization. This will ensure your members can quickly reach you with any questions about their registrations, fees, team placement and other instructions.

If you’re setting up a program for youth registrations, you will want the parents to be involved in team communication, so make sure you set “collect parent information” ON within your season settings. By default this setting is ON, but if you were setting up an adult program, or do not want to collect parents’ information, you can always turn it OFF. Just one example of many customizations you can make within the Demosphere solution!

Step 3: Spread the Word!

This is a crucial step to ensure a successful registration season. Be sure to communicate registration instructions via various channels.communication

Notify your members via email and text message. Demosphere’s Club and League solution includes both broadcast email and SMS tools within the Communication Center. You can also opt to use email marketing solutions like Constant Contact or Mailchimp.

Don’t forget to update your facebook, twitter and other social media feeds to ensure your members receive your updates, no matter their channel of choice.

If you are not yet using Demosphere’s integrated broadcast communication tools, now’s your chance to try them out! With robust filtering and custom distribution lists for both email and SMS text messaging, you can easily communicate with specific target audiences.

Step 4: Data Integrity

Protecting-Data-and-Privacy-in-the-CloudWhen communicating registration information with your members, please remind your members to use their existing Demosphere login if they’ve previously signed up! Demosphere has a universal login system that helps users maintain one login for the many organizations who are using the Demosphere platform. When a user doesn’t remember their password, post clear instructions about resetting their password following the “forgot my password” link.

We understand it is not always that simple; that is why we have data merge tools for you to tidy things up later.

Members should first create the unique login details for their own account, using their email address, then they will register their child. Instruct your members to then enter BOTH parents’ email addresses during the registration process, where applicable. This will ensure both members receive important updates from your organization. Step-by-step instructions for navigating the public registration process can be found and shared via this link.

Step 5: Building Balanced Teams

Every communication is very important for the team and its players. Even before registration finishes it is important to keep families informed so that they can be assured as the registration closing date approaches. Once registration comes to a close, you may access Demosphere’s registrationteam roster management area to review registration data, participant and volunteer counts, and build teams and rosters within the system.

Everything you need to build your teams can be found on one screen – toggle between player and volunteer data, edit registration form data, search/sort/filter on all of your registration data to view the data set with which you want to work (including the ability to sort by player rating, zip code, city, school, age group, or any other custom data field you add). From there you may drag and drop players on to teams to build those team rosters, while viewing participant counts to ensure teams are formed evenly.

Step 6: Team Staff Assignment

coach volunteerOnce you have finished building the player rosters for each team, you will also want to ensure Volunteers/Team Staff members are added to each team. As soon as your rosters are complete, you can sync the teams over to the Demosphere Team Communication app (available in iTunes and Google Play) to send email requests to all team members, including parents, to join the team!

All members with Coach, Assistant Coach and Manager roles will receive administrative permission for team communication and calendar management purposes.

Step 7: Send Teams to Demosphere’s Team Communication App

Demosphere TeamEverything looks good, you have followed all the checklist items mentioned above, so go ahead click that button to sync your teams to Demosphere’s Team App at any level (all teams in the season, teams within a single grouping or just an individual team). You’ll first see a summary of how many teams, staff and players will be synced to the app. All team members, parents (if collected), along with team staff and game schedules (if applicable) will be created within the Demosphere Team App.

Is that all? Not quite. Do you want to view the teams you have synced to the Demosphere Team App? After the initial sync, click the Update Team icon again for any team and you’ll see a link to “view the team”. All Club Administrators with registration management permissions will be able to view every team that’s been synced to the team app.

Don’t forget to close the communication loop with your coaches and other team staff to let them know their teams has been pushed to the Demosphere Team App. Your members will have access to several support documents for frequently asked questions, as well as the ability to send you support emails directly from the app.

Step 8: Create and Post Schedule

schedulingIf you plan to use Demosphere’s powerful tools for scheduling league games, it is time to generate and sync your team schedules.

Because Demosphere’s registration, scheduling and team solutions are fully integrated, your organization’s teams, rosters and schedules will be synced across all tools. Best of all, any schedule changes made on the master schedule will automatically update within the Demosphere Team App. Just another way Demosphere helps organizations streamline communication!

 

If you are interested to learn more about how Demosphere can help improve communication within your organization, contact us today!

Custom Team Fees Are Here!

custom team fees

Have you ever wanted to setup custom team fees for different teams within the same age group? Demosphere has listened to your feedback and we know that many competitive youth sports organizations often charge different fees for different teams based on several factors such as coaching expertise, number and cost of team events, region, and other options team managers and/or coaches elect.

As a result, we are excited to announce a new feature: the ability to attach custom team fees to any team in any season!

Demosphere Administrators can now create and bind these custom team fees to the teams directly to ensure the appropriate fees are charged to each player who is accepting a team invitation. You can setup a variety of fees including registration fees, coaching fees, uniform fees, late fees, or any other custom team fee you can dream up!

First, create the custom team fees in the fees and discounts area when managing your season. Next, create your teams for each grouping in your season structure. From there, you can turn ON the team invitation feature and add as many custom team fees as needed to each team. Once you invite the players to the team, those who accept their invitation will be charged all fees associated with the season, as well as any custom team fees that you have added to the team for which they’re registering!

The addition of this feature is just one more example of how Demosphere works to continuously improve our solutions to meet the evolving needs of our users.

We’re proud to deliver this important feature that has been requested by many of our clients – we care about your feedback, and your success! If you have additional feedback and/or feature requests, please pass them along to us at support@demosphere.com.

Have a great season!