I have practiced Shorinji Kempo for over 20 years, and I have written software for over 30 years. I written this post in order to try to give some simple guidance for setting up CoachHippo for Martial Arts Clubs and gyms.
CoachHippo's purpose is to make mundane administration tasks as easy, fun and automated as possible. Since the modern life is hectic, with a lot of things requiring our time and attention, administrating a martial arts club must be quick and easy, and not stealing time from the more fun stuff...Practice.
Before you cut the cord.
Before you start on setting up CoachHippo or migrate from another provider, make sure that the coaches and leaders have understood what will be required from them. No system can make things better for you if no one is willing to use it, it's about embracing the change.
Ok, so you got all engaged. The first thing to consider is what structure you want. In the club that I managed we have setup an top organisation, with two sub groups. The reason for this setup, is that we have a board for running the club, and instructors, that are added as members to the top organisation. The two sub groups reflect the fact that we are split into a senior group and a child group. Having this distinction makes it easier for us when setting up events and maintaining the membership registry, more about this later.
Getting your basics rigth.
Changing the look and feel is important. CoachHippo offers some standard color schemes that you can choose from. Also you can set your club logo by clicking the CoachHippo logo in the top left corner. The color and logo is used in when sending out email's and invitations to your members.
There are plethora of settings that you as an administrator for a group can configure, all available through the settings dialog that can be opened from the bottom left cog wheel. I will list some settings that are of interests for martial arts clubs when doing the initial setup.
Lets say you have a policy of a free trial period of 3 sessions, then you can set the "Punch Card Limit" to 3. This makes it easy for you or any of the leaders to keep track of how may times a new member have practiced before sending a invoice, since the number of logged attendences and the limit are shown next the members name.
You been notified.
You can decide which members according to their roles should receive notifications about upcoming events. Options are invitations, reminders, and summaries for events. I usually send invitations and reminders to all members, and summaries to coaches and leaders, because they have more need to know who are coming so they can plan the session.
Can we please have your information?
The membership registry in CoachHippo is very flexible and versatile. When setting up the initial registry I think that enabling "Ask for member information" is important, and I usually set this to the same as the punch card limit. This means that when a new member has been registered as attended for let say 3 times, a mail will be sent out to the member asking for the information that you as a club has setup as required in your membership registry, more on this later. The member can fill in this information without having to log in to CoachHippo.
I also enable the "Send Welcome Message", since this is great way for letting members feel welcome, and for you give them some basic beginners info, like how to behave in the dojo or gym.
For the records.
The next thing is to setup the actull registry, and decide what information that you which to keep about the members.
Don't be greedy.
Collecting information about your members is something that requires thoughtfulness. In EU, there are a legislation about to kick in called GDPR. The basic gist of it, don't collect information that is not crucial, explain why you are collecting it, how you will use it and make sure member knows what information you have. CoachHippo is GDPR compliant, so need to worry.
Before adding members, I would recommend setting up the basic columns you need. This is done under the Membership Registyr tab, selected on the left side. The columns that are set to be the members responsibility are included in the email that are sent out when requesting member information, explained above. Members can see all the information that you have stored about them, even though they are note allowed to edit the information.
You don't need to worry if you forget to setup some column, or need to change the name of it or change some other setting. This can be adjusted as your needs grow or change.
Importing existing membership list
If you already have an existing membership list, you can imported in to Coach Hippo, making the switch from an existing system easy and fast.
So are there any practices?
In our club we have set times for our practices that repeat every week, for our semesters. Some practices are cancelled due to public holidays or training camps. What I usually do is that I create a repeating event for the entire semester and then just remove the few session that are cancelled. Invitations and reminders are send out automatically before the event, when depends on your needs. I usually make sure that we send ut invitations just when an event ends. Lest say that we have a practice at 7 to 9 pm on a Tuesday, then we send out the invitation for the upcoming practice on Thursday at 9 pm on Tuesday.
Running martial arts clubs requires the collection of membership and practice fees. Getting the money in can sometimes be troublesome. Coach Hippo makes its easy to send out invoices, and track payments. The benefits are that more then one person, the treasury normally, can get a quick overview of the cash flow, who haven't paid yet etc. without the need of querying the bank. Members can pay with card, Apple or Google pay, direct debit etc. We usually send out the invoices in the beginning of each semester. If your fees are high, you offer the members to split the payment, maximun times is decided by you.
I wonder what more can be done with CoachHippo?
As you grow into using CoachHippo you will discover more things that can be done, like:
- Organising Voting on club errands.
- Uploading files that should be shared.
- External registration form, embedded in to your website.
- API integration points for external website.
- Auto Invoicing for membership fees.
- Creating News Articles, sharable on Facebook.
- and more...
Keen Practitioner of Shorinji Kempo and Co Founder of Coach Hippo