All LMSCs face an important topic: What should we do with the money we collect? Whether you have thousands of extra dollars in your bank account or have a modest reserve, money matters and has a large impact on Masters swimming within the geographic boundaries of your LMSC.
Don’t know what to budget for? Here are some ideas that the LMSC Development Committee has compiled.
Good coaches are the key to successful Masters programs. They drive clubs and workout groups toward success through their time and devotion to their swimmers. Coaches are great ambassadors for the sport and draw in new members.
Consider sending some of your coaches to the U.S. Masters Swimming SwimFest in June. There, they will learn from some of the best coaches in the Masters Swimming community and bring back that knowledge to the local programs. For more information, visit our SwimFest page.
The annual American Swimming Coaches Association (ASCA) World Clinic is another great forum for coaches to meet and learn. This is the professional organization for all swim coaches, from age group to college to Masters. The ASCA World Clinic is held in the fall. This year, new Level 1 Masters certification will be part of the curriculum. For registration information visit this ASCA World Clinic site.
Your LMSC could also host a clinic for coaches. It could be done with a club or workout group to ensure participation. A clinic should involve both in-water and classroom sessions for the participants.
Equipment purchases are another area where the LMSC can help. One great idea is to purchase Flip™ video cameras and underwater cases for some of your coaches. These will enable them to film both above and below water, which would help in stroke analysis. They can also use this gear at meets or open water events so swimmers can see how they are doing in competitive settings.
If feasible, purchase equipment that can be borrowed by meet directors within your LMSC. Stopwatches, lap counters, and clipboards are always needed at a meet, but not all facilities have them. If you are lucky enough to be in an area that hosts open water events, the same holds true for equipment such as large buoys, finish lines, and finish banners.
The LMSC can also help clubs or workout groups that have challenges with pool equipment. Not all facilities will have access to pace clocks, pull buoys, kickboards, paddles, stretch cords, and other training gear.
Offering reasonably priced events is another way to invest in your members. To encourage the use of online meet registration, one LMSC pays the online registration fee for its members who utilize it to enter their meets. Some LMSCs pay the officials who work at any meet within their boundaries. Another LMSC holds a meet series that is free for its members. For smaller or first-time meets, consider awarding the meet organizer a stipend to help defray costs.
Conveying information is a core LMSC responsibility. The LMSC’s role in communication is to let people know about adult aquatics fitness programs in their geographical area and encourage participation. The goal is to get more people in the water and enjoying the benefits that come from participating in organized swimming workouts.
Websites and email are currently two of the most important communication methods. Make sure your website contains up to date information and looks professional. Consider hiring a web developer to design and maintain your site. Register domain names for your website that are owned by the LMSC.
Email tools like Constant Contact™ can be utilized to deliver a professional-looking newsletter to your membership. This edition of STREAMLINES for Volunteers was produced using Constant Contact™. Your registrar can utilize the Club Assistant registration software to send personalized renewal reminders to your members. These reminders allow members to renew their memberships with one click of the mouse.
Social media is rapidly emerging as a communication method that offers more user engagement and interaction. This includes blogs, forums, Twitter™, Facebook™, YouTube™ among others. Most of these sites are free but your LMSC may want to hire someone to manage the content, just as you would on a website. These can complement your web and email communications as well as reach a new audience.
Invest in your members. An LMSC can offer registration discounts for certain members. For example, you could offer a discount for members above 75 years old, under 25 years old, or for the second member in a family. Some LMSCs keep track of how many years their swimmers have been members of their LMSC and offer awards, such as T-shirts, when they hit milestones.
Invest in your LMSC officers, too. Institute a policy where the LMSC pays the USMS registration fee for its officers. To facilitate board meetings, consider paying for a conference-calling service. You’ll get better attendance when you make it as easy as possible for your officers to attend. When your officers meet in person, make sure the LMSC pays for refreshments.
Remember, this is a starting point and is not an exhaustive or exclusive list. There are many ideas out there that warrant consideration. Always think about how LMSC expenditures will benefit the members. They have provided your organization with funds with the expectation that they will be well used. Keep their needs foremost in your mind when planning your budget.