Best Practices for Selecting Vendor Partners for Youth Sports Organizations

vendor agreements youth sports contracts

Several years ago CIO.com published an article titled “How to Choose the Right Software Vendor”, which offers some valuable insight to help organizations decide on some of the most important relationships that impact their daily workflow.

The article breaks the decision-making process down into several important areas, which we further shed light on below, especially as it relates to the growing youth sports industry:

  • Figure out what it is you really need – Before talking with any potential new business partners, get your team together internally to discuss any current hurdles or challenges, along with desired improvements to your workflow. As Steven A. Lowe, Principal Consultant at ThoughtWorks indicates, “If you know what you want, ideally separated into a must-have list and a nice-to-have list, it will be much easier to figure out if any given solution fits your business–and to resist ‘shiny’ things.” In simple words, make sure the solution you’re considering actually meets your needs.
  • Check the software provider’s credentials and certificates – This is especially important in today’s volatile youth sports technology market. With the amount of consolidation, acquisition and unfortunate failure; it’s crucial to understand the foundation of the companies you’re partnering with: How long have they been in business? How has their technology grown over time? What types of partnerships do they have? Are they PCI Certified? How sound is their infrastructure? What is their data model and how will they protect your member data?
  • What do other customers have to say? This may likely be one of the most critical questions. Ask for references and find out how long they’ve been a customer, how their technology needs are being met, and how supportive, responsive and knowledgeable their team is. Chat with other organizations in your network to find out what the company’s reputation is.
  • Can it scale? This is an important question as it relates to future growth and emerging technology; has the company shown the ability to scale over time to meet market demands and to grow with your evolving needs? Malcolm Cowley, CEO of the Performance Horizon Group, hits the nail on the head when he said, “The last thing CIOs and other technology decision-makers want to be faced with is the need to re-evaluate and invest in a new solution two or three years down the road, when the existing system can’t handle the company’s emerging needs.” Before talking about price, first make sure the solution will meet your needs, both now and according to your growth plan. If the solution doesn’t meet your needs, cost is irrelevant.
  • Check for hidden or additional fees. Make sure you understand the full financial impact of the partnership:
    • Evaluate setup fees, recurring fees, and usage fees such as per player/per team fees.
    • If you’re processing online transactions, it’s imperative to calculate the total cost of credit card transaction fees – not only the various percentages across card types, but also per transaction fees, monthly gateway/account fees, etc.
    • Review the fine details of the agreements’s termination clause. Are you locked in for multiple years? Are there any early termination fees?
    • Equally important is to understand any additional fees you may incur due to any software deficiencies you uncover. Will there be any third party costs you’d have to incur to fill any gaps? Will there be any extra hard or soft costs due to lack of integration across platforms?
  • Who gets custody of your data? Most especially in the world of youth sports where member data has turned into a perceived “gold rush” of the current decade, it’s important to remember that your organization owns your member data (or at least you should). Be sure to find out before you enter into a new vendor agreement what they will do with your valuable member data while you’re a client, as well as after you leave. These are crucial questions to ask to ensure protection and privacy of your members.
    • What is the vendor’s privacy policy?
    • Will they use your member data for financial gain?
    • Will they market to or sell off your data?
    • How easy will it be to get access to your data after you move on?
    • Will there be a fee to obtain your data once the partnership is over?
  • Take a test drive. Now that you’ve had a chance to identify with your team what your must-haves and nice-to-haves are, make sure the software you’re considering meets your needs. Go through a full demo of how the tools will address your specific needs. Ask the vendor if they will provide access to a demo site, or if there’s a free trial option that will allow you to test the system before you commit to pay.

Navigating the waters of vendor research can be cumbersome and even frustrating at times, but these steps will guide you to help ensure you’re making the best decision possible, given the specific needs of your organization.

Demosphere has been serving the youth sports community since our humble beginnings in 1990, and we commit to bringing experience, authenticity, integrity and a strong sense of community to the conversation. If you’re interested in evaluating integrated solutions to help solve some of your complex technology needs, we invite you to contact us today!


Demosphere’s mission is to provide authentic, industry-leading technology solutions for organized sports, accommodating the needs of all levels of organizations, and all levels of users, with an ethical approach in how to impact the greater community.

 

Protect Your Organization from Email Scams

A few years ago, Demosphere posted about the topic of Email Scams and how to protect yourself. This issue has recently re-surfaced with a few of our clients reporting being the victim of email scams.

In one recent situation, the scam involved an email being sent “from” the President of the Club to the Club’s Treasurer, asking for money to be wired into a specific bank account. Unfortunately, the wire transfer was processed and the money has thus vanished from the Club. Local authorities are working to uncover the source, however it’s improbable that the funds will ever be recovered.

These situations are real and it’s important to learn what you can do to prevent them. Below are some recommendations to help protect the Demosphere community:data privacy

  • Keep passwords secure:  It’s important to keep your passwords safe to avoid unauthorized use of your accounts. Check out our previous post for some tips on managing password security.
  • Verify all financial transactions: If someone in your organization asks you to transfer funds, always question and verify the validity of the request first. In this case it truly is better to be safe than sorry.
  • Don’t post personal email address on your public website: Demosphere recommends using one generic contact email address for your organization on your public website, such as info@example.com. Keep board member, administrative and coaching staff emails private.
    • Demosphere’s WebWriter® CMS  product allows you to create protected content pages, so you can ensure your members have access to the info they need, without exposing your organization to potential phishing scams.Data Privacy
  • Protect your member data: Be sure to review the Privacy Policy of your database provider(s) to ensure contact info, such as email address, are kept private and secure.
    • Part of Demosphere’s mission is to maintain an ethical approach to data privacy to protect the privacy of the children and volunteers in our youth sports community.

Have you had a related experience? Post a comment below and let the Demosphere Community know what to watch out for!

How To Verify Your Facebook Page

Celebrities have them. Sports teams have them. Entertainment groups have them. Now you can have them too!

Facebook has introduced the verification badge to local businesses across the social media platform, letting page visitors know that the organization they’re viewing is indeed authentic.

How can your organization get a gray verification badge of its own?

1.  List As Local Business

Only organizations listed within the Local Business category are currently eligible for a verification badge.

Navigate to your About section and change your Category to Local Businesses. Once listed as a Local Business, all subcategories are eligible.

Local-Business-Facebook

2. Enter General Settings

Enter the Settings menu, located in the upper righthand corner of the page.

From General, click the Page Verification option.

Facebook-Page-Verification

3. Verify By Phone

Enter a publicly listed phone number for your business. An automated Facebook message will contact you immediately via the phone number you’ve provided.

verify-with-phone-number

4. Enter Verification Code

The message will read off a four-digit verification code that is to be entered into the window displayed below.

Once entered, the account will be placed in review.

facebook-verification-code

5. Verify By Documentation

Rather than verifying your account through phone number, organizations can upload official documents that display the business name and address.

Once Facebook receives this information the account will go into review.

facebook-verification-documents

Your organization will be contacted in regards to their verification status within three business days.

Watch the following video tutorial for more information on how to verify your local business with Facebook:

How To Register Your Local Business With Google

Is your organization properly registered with Google?

If not, you could be missing out on a free opportunity that can increase your online ranking on search engine results pages (SERPs) and Google Maps.

With the vast majority of people turning to Google to find local businesses, Demosphere has created the following tutorial to demonstrate how to get the verification process started:

Guide To Facebook Star Ratings

Need some help managing your online reviews on Facebook?

You are not alone! Many organizations aren’t aware of the display options available to them when it comes to Facebook reviews.

Do you have reviews you’d love to show off? Move them higher up on your Facebook sidebar.

Want to remove the reviews section from your Timeline altogether? Hide reviews with the check of a box.

Demosphere has put together the following tutorial to demonstrate just how simple handling Facebook reviews can be:

Facebook Reviews