It may not be fun or glamorous, but keeping a budget for your youth sports organization is crucial to the club’s success.
The financial backbone of the league can keep teams running smoothly and set squads up for success. But keeping a budget isn’t easy. Get tips below on how to keep your club’s finances organized.
Tip #1: Set the budget prior to the season
The first step in keeping a budget is to set one. You need to know how much money you have to work with and where it is coming from. This will impact how many athletes are placed on each roster, how many coaches and support staff members are hired, and how much equipment can be purchased.
League directors can work with the organization’s Board of Directors to get approval on the budget. Having others weigh-in on the budget can help prevent errors, and also help later in case of questions how funds were allocated.
Knowing the budget at the start of the season can also help set expectations with parents and players. It will establish what fees players are responsible for, and what fundraising the players might need to participate in to fund extra tournaments or expenditures.
Tip #2: Use software
To keep the budget organized and to prevent any potential miscalculations, you might want to consider using a budget app. Various software platforms offer options to input budget totals and expenses, and keep the budget up-to-date.
You should also be able to grant access to other staff members if needed.
And if you aren’t using software, here is a free annual club budget template you can use.
Tip #3: Make the budget public
While it might seem like league budgets should be kept private, there are benefits to making it public – or at least making it accessible by club members.
Sharing the budget with players and parents can establish transparency between the league and its athletes. It gives parents visibility into how much money the league is working with and how the money is being spent. This can be beneficial when discussing player fees so parents can see how the amount was determined and how the money is being spent.
It’s also important to share the budget with the Board of Directors and other key staff members. This helps keep the budget in-check and allows others to potentially catch any errors and problems early on. This can also ensure others in the league know and approve of how the money is being spent and managed.
Tip #4: Open a bank account
Opening a bank account for the league will make it easier to accept payments from players and to pay bills and other fees. You don’t want to deal with having team funds go through your – or anyone else’s – personal account. It should also be established what money should go in and out of this account. Is the account for the overall league and all teams, or do individual teams have their own accounts? No matter the decision, it’s important to know who managers and has access to the account.
Tip #5: Track fees and payments
It’s important to track what money should be coming into the account, and what is going out. Just like a personal home budget or individual checking account, you need to ensure there are enough funds in the account to handle expenses.
It should be established when player fees are due, and it should be tracked who has paid and who hasn’t so funds can be collected.
Payroll and billing also need to be recorded to ensure there is enough money in the account when needed.
Tip #6: Make payments timely
You should ensure that staff members are paid promptly. While they might love performing work or services for the league, they still need to be compensated in a timely manner, depending on the agreement made between the individual and the club.
It’s also important to ensure bills for team expenses and services are paid on time to ensure the budget is accurate and all costs are accounted for in a timely manner. You don’t want to sit on a lot of bills and then find out at the end of the season that there isn’t enough money to pay them.
Tip #7: Communicate issues quickly
Everyone makes mistakes, so it’s possible at some point you might make an error with the budget, either through a miscalculation, or not accounting for a necessary expense, or another type of error.
While these are not ideal, in most cases they are fixable if recognized and communicated quickly. It’s important to tell the necessary people when a known mistake is made. These resources, like the Board of Directors, can help find a solution to the mistake if needed.
It’s also important to find resources who can help communicate the mistake more broadly if needed. If players and parents and others need to be informed of the issue, then you will need help in determining how best to communicate the information.
Have something in mind you want to do, but your budget is coming up short? Check out our post, “How to Score a Sponsorship for Your Youth Sports Team” for tips.