Spreading good cheer (and solutions) for the Holidays with Dunn Loring Swim Club

As we approach the holiday season we’d just like to take a moment and say Member Splash is truly thankful for each and every one of our 370+ clubs. We love the fact that we are not only digitizing and improving club admin processes, but also improving club administrators, members and thier guests experiences in and outside of the pool. Hopefully our platform can reward your selfless service and dedication to your clubs. It is definitely rewarding as a company to be not only marketing dedicated swim and tennis club solutions to our neighbors, but to also be providing happiness, additional revenue streams and stress free processes to our customers to make their clubs run easier and successfully—a gift that keeps on giving through the word of mouth of our successes club by club.

One such customer success story is Kim D. at Dunn Loring Swim Club in Vienna Va, an Essentials Plan customer since 2021. If you haven’t spoken to her personally, she was one of the friendliest and upbeat employees at her club that you’ll ever know! If you need a pep talk, we assure you Kim is your go-to pyramid of positivity.

While we don’t know what your holiday plans have in store for you and your families this month, we do hope it is a rewarding, safe and a happy one. We simply wish you the happiest of holidays this season. Hopefully in between presents and cookies, you can take a look at how Member Splash can improve your processes and sanity in the upcoming 2024 season—and we’ll be here when you’re ready to ask about our digital club solutions. Like old St. Nick, we’d love to add you as the next “Kim D.” to our beloved customers list and check you of as another “Nice” one. We have tons of robust digital membership and club solutions in our proverbial bag we’d love to show you for your club in 2024! But we’ve teased you enough, we’ll just let Kim explain her experiences.

Question & Answer:

While most folks are prepping for the holidays, club membership admins typically are nervously preparing for the upcoming new membership billing cycle starting in 2024.  Can you explain how Member Splash has helped you spend more time with your family and friends this holiday season rather than the processes you used to have?

“With Member Splash, I have 6 weeks of free time that I did not have before! My office used to look like an extension of Santa’s workshop this time of year. Previously, I would print 625 mailing packages that included a large mailing envelope, an index card with the membership information that we had in our excel worksheet, a billing letter and large return envelope. Each item had to be printed separately, sorted by membership, stuffed into the envelope, stamped, and taken to the post office. It was a big effort that required a special printer to print card stock. We went through printers every 3-4 years. The process was not easy for our members either. After one person told me that he thought that the work in reviewing all the information, providing household member pictures, and writing a check was equal to doing his income taxes, we started looking at swim club membership systems!”

…Comparing your old process to Income Taxes! Oh my goodness!

“What a difference Member Splash makes! The Member Splash process allows me to prepare and send the billing letter via email. We allow members to pay online or send a check payment. From an admin perspective, the process takes 2-3 days and just an hour or less for members to review their information online, make any changes and pay. With the savings of stationery, stamps, time stuffing 625 envelopes, receiving, and recording payments, recording updates and applying updated photos, Member Splash almost pays for itself! And I’m grateful so many tedious and mindless tasks are eliminated.”

What process improvements as a result of using Member Splash do you think other clubs should know about?  In other words, what are you thankful for this year with Member Splash that others should be aware of?  In the sense of holiday giving and bringing joy to pool and tennis club admins everywhere, we’d like to shine a light on the gifts of Member Splash!

“Certainly, the improved billing process is a feature to be thankful for…[also] the following features:

  • Customizable forms for improved workflow:
    • We started out with the Basic level of Member Splash but upgraded to the Essentials level to take advantage of building our own forms to collect information and payments if applicable. Below are three examples:
  • Waitlist process:
    • With the form being online, people can join the waitlist and pay the application fee when they think about it. Before MS, they had to print the form and mail it with their check or take the form and payment to the front desk. Sometimes the form would get misplaced or found at the bottom of the cash box. Worst, we could not read the person’s handwriting, or it would not be entirely completed. The waitlist order is important and now with only one way to apply, that order is easily maintained. We don’t know exactly why, but since we created a MS form for the waitlist, it has almost doubled! We suspect that the easy online application did it.
  • Job Application form:
    • We used to have our job application on our website, but it was not a form they could fill out online. Prospective employees would submit their applications in many ways – text attachments, emails, or postal mail. We also had to have all the questions displayed on the form regardless of the job position, which made it a little confusing especially for kids who are applying for their first job. With the Member Splash form, the form automatically requests the relevant information based on the job position for which the person is applying. The submission and review processes are also more organized. Once the application is submitted, the information is posted automatically to a Google-sheet by Member Splash so the entire personnel committee can see who has applied, download the sheet to filter and sort without being given a Member Splash admin account. We also use the notification feature in the application form to let the personnel committee know when an application is submitted with a copy of all the information in the application plus any submitted attachments such as a resume or proof of certification. The prospective employee also receives an email notification.
  • Required forms:
    • We require members to provide proof of residency for any household members who do not own the membership and are over 25 years old. With Member Splash it was easy to create this form as a waiver and make it required for the specific Member Types. The form is a little difficult to find though since it appears as a notebook icon on the Account screen and the form is not displayed unless the member clicks on the icon. I am notified of submission via the form’s Notification feature and let the member know if the proof does not meet the established criteria. I used to get the proof as an email attachment or a paper copy with the bill payment.
  • Individual Photos:
    • Terrific to have individual photos of household members in the system! Previously we would receive many group photos. I would have to review all the membership accounts to make sure the number of people in the picture matched the number of people on the membership. I would also receive photos in different formats and would spend hours taking a picture of the photo with my iPhone or iPad and filing them in the correct directory on our computer. The spreadsheet application that we were using before MS depended on the file name being an exact format and if I was off, the photo would not display. Before the season starts, I would have to copy all the photo files and directories from the at-office business computer to the Front Desk check-in computer. If there were any changes afterwards, I would have to wait until the pool closed after 9 pm to remotely update the photos. With Member Splash, we can require the photos and the member can upload them at any time. So easy!!!
  • Front Desk Check-in Notes:
    • This feature is very helpful in communicating issues and concerns about members to all the Front Desk staff. Only the relevant note is displayed for a particular member. We used to have a lot of sticky notes posted on and around the Front Desk computer screen. This also meant that anyone could see the note.
  • Membership Directory:
    • We often get requests to publish a directory but were concerned about privacy issues. With the Member Splash Essentials level, members can opt in or out of the directory and search it. Very easy to use and impossible for anyone wanting to turn the data into a mailing list.
  • Event Calendar:
    • Offering our members a calendar where they can filter by category is very helpful. We are still learning about all the functionality offered in this feature.

The above are just some of the major highlights! All the MS features may not be apparent when one is first using Member Splash and is just focused on the basic processes of bill payment and a secure check-in. If I need help in matching a need to a Member Splash feature the Member Splash customer Facebook community is very helpful in recommending solutions as well as MS support staff.”

How did you end up working for your club and can you share a favorite memory?

“When my husband and I moved to Vienna I started looking at neighborhood pools for water aerobics classes. Dunn Loring Swim Club is the only club close to me that offers classes 4 times a week. We put our name on the wait list and had a chance to come to the classes as a Summer Rental. When the club posted the Business Manager position, I thought it would be fun and a good way to meet more of the community. I will never forget my first day when two Board members came to the house and dumped more than 300 envelopes on my kitchen peninsula and told me that all the information in the envelopes had to be recorded in a spreadsheet on the laptop that they also brought with them. Little overwhelming especially since the deadline for the annual dues’ payment was only 5 days away! Fortunately, I have an IT background and, with the former membership secretary’s advising, was able to get everything ready for the season. I keep instructions in the DLSC cloud so the next Business Manager will not have to start from scratch.”

300 envelopes! Overwhelming is an understatement. Glad we helped replace that memory!…

“My favorite memory is a rather simple one. One summer I was standing near the Front Desk when a little girl and her family checked in. The girl turned to her mother and with great excitement and emphasis said – “We’re at the POOL!”. With that simple sentence she expressed what I feel every time I come to the pool. The sense of community and the people make it a wonderful place to be and work.”

Can you describe how Member Splash’s digital sign-up process for new applicants and member portals have saved you time or money this season?  What were those previous costs you spent on mailing, invoicing and checks by comparison?

“See my response to Question 1 about the time saved through Member Splash. As for costs, we save the following:

  • $100 annually for remote access software – no longer needed
  • $970 for envelopes and stamps for annual dues mailing and membership offers, (2018 costs)
  • $420 using MailChimp instead of our previous email service.

Total Saved: $1,490!”

Wow! Can you describe how Member Splash has helped fill your stockings …I mean, increased digital payments and/or reduced check (or other outside payments) tracking since everything billing-wise is in the platform digitally?  It looks like you had almost a 19% increase in guest pass revenue AND a 54% increase in late fee revenue this season—wow!

“I like that Member Splash allows both digital and check payments. Our older members prefer check and often do not even log in to review their information. So, while digital payments make my job easier, I still must make trips to the post office and bank. For our members stationed overseas, their credit cards are not accepted via Authorize.Net, so we offer Zelle to them and record their payments as an outside payment in Member Splash. Still an improvement for them since before they could only mail their payment and it would take months to reach us.

The increase in late fee revenue was due to the penalty charge increase. As for an increase in the guest pass revenue we have not yet secured all of it. We offered the option to put guest fees On Account and pay later. However, this past season was the worst for members not paying, so we no longer offer this option. Thankfully, with Member Splash we can make these outstanding bills required when the members pay their annual dues in 2024.”

When checking your list (like a certain St. Nick), has the reporting been helpful in your membership role and billing process?

“Yes, the Dashboard view is especially useful in knowing how many people have not paid yet or how many memberships are available to offer to waitlist candidates. I use the Accounts and Members reports frequently. The field options to include and filter on are very helpful. Just wish that the reports would not sort numeric fields as text. I often download the report, convert the numeric field to numeric and then sort.”

Do you find the Member Splash membership account updating/sorting process easier for your needs—and with the MailChimp integration is that seasonal membership outreach easier than previously (by marking everyone unpaid for the season and sending 1 email instead of say, invoicing or mailing)?

“The bulk edit options for accounts are very useful! Wish it was also available for the Members report. We only use MailChimp for the newsletter. Some email servers block MailChimp as spam. Since the bills are too important to miss, I send them out using Word’s mail merge feature picking up the address and other information from an Excel spreadsheet created from a Member Splash report. Much easier than our previous process!”

Can you talk to any specific data points at your club that have improved with Member Splash billing and sign up?  Specifically, we usually see clubs see a dramatic increase in digital sales in our platform over checks, for example.  Have digital payments (or any another factor) decreased/increased by a % in a positive direction since you started using Member Splash?

“See my response about the waitlist in question 2. Yes, digital payments have greatly increased since we did not have an easy way to offer this method previously.”

What else has Member Splash particularly helped you with in the winter months before the season begins and how has that improved your life as a club admin?

“Member Splash is helpful with budget planning. We now know exactly how many memberships qualify for the annual dues discount. We also use it to research possible impacts of changes in policy. For example, we could see using the visit report that our August rentals were bringing a lot of guests to the pool. Since these people are new to our pool the Board decided that it would be safer for them to learn about the pool and our rules without trying to educate their own guests at the same time and we no longer allow the August rentals to bring guests.”

What’s your favorite part of our platform (improving your world) when it comes to billing or new member sign ups?

“My favorite part is having the members enter their own information and upload household member pictures. Love that I can make this information required so they must complete it before paying. No more 8-hour workdays to get everything in the system before opening!”

Have our checklists, outreach and newsletters reminding you of standard club processes and best practices been helpful in yearly updates and setup?  How so?

“Always helpful to see these documents and to see the system from your perspective. Prevents me from missing something!”

Well it’s been great to hear from you Kim. Hopefully your experience can spread the holiday cheer and gifts of Member Splash. Please be sure to check out Dunn Loring Swim Club in Vienna, Va if you’re a local looking for a family pool option this Summer!

A (Summer) Labor Of Love: Kemp Mills Swim Club

As we near the conclusion of another delightful summer season at our beloved clubs, it’s a perfect moment to ponder what motivates club leaders to embark on their roles as pool board volunteers and why they persistently dedicate their time and energy season after season to serve their community by keeping the pool “afloat” (pun intended).

Fortunately, Member Splash has significantly streamlined this process for those customers who sought to optimize their pool operations and resources, reducing the future time demands of their already demanding volunteer positions, particularly as the summer season draws to a close.

As clubs wind down their summer pool operations, begin the search for end-of-season closing volunteers, lay the groundwork for the off-season, and scrutinize current pool processes, it’s undeniably gratifying to witness the indelible mark that club leaders have left on their communities. Notably, the joy and laughter they’ve brought to their neighbors stand out. Perhaps, amid the countless selfless hours spent in board meetings and on pool improvement projects, they have unintentionally crafted an altruistic legacy—making things more manageable for themselves while simultaneously improving the experience for future volunteers who will one day carry on the torch. Some may call it progress, but it also underscores the virtues of pride and forward-thinking.

An exemplary embodiment of such progressive and generous leadership is found in the story of Noam and Alyssa Parness of Kemp Mill Swim Club in Silver Spring, MD. Both valued Essential plan Member Splash customers, Noam serves as the Swim Team Director, and Alyssa as the President of the club. Although one might say their journey began with a simple desire to “assist with their daughter’s pre-swim team,” they soon found themselves at the helm of the entire pool. As Noam puts it, “It has all been a labor of love,” a sentiment that has continued to flow for more than 7+ years at the pool.

“I do it because of the pool, but I also love my wife… and daughters. I do it for them; it’s a labor of love,” Noam affectionately explains.

So, let’s take a moment to chat with the Parness Family and delve into what inspires them to keep their neighborhood pool running smoothly, how they’ve harnessed the power of Member Splash to enhance their roles at the pool, and hear their insights on the seasonal advantages of using Member Splash as the scorching summer days give way to the conclusion of the pool season, knowing that their work is far from over.

Question & Answer:

How did your journey to oversee a community pool for your members begin? What has it been like serving as President, and could you share some highlights and challenges of this role?

Alyssa: “Well after volunteering for my daughter’s pre-swim team, she got elevated to swim team. The following year the swim coach was like “now you’re the Swim Team Director” and so I was in charge of that. And then when the President retired after Covid, nobody wanted that position, so I decided to step in because no one wanted the job and I thought someone sitting on the board who understands the pool should be in charge. But I still love the swim team, so I said only if I can be in charge of the swim team too. And I’ve been sitting on the board now for the last 7 years.”

So you were essentially drawn into it?

Alyssa: “Definitely. I love to swim, I was a swimmer growing up, and my daughter got sucked in too. She would spend nights at the pool until 10pm and it got kinda ridiculous. We fell in love with Swim Team. Then I got my husband, Noam, to help out with the board and we got him to be the Swim Team Director and myself as President because I can’t have 2 votes on the board. But I still kinda wear both hats.”

Noam: “It’s all been a labor of love..and for our family”

How has everything been going at the pool this year?

Alyssa: I think overall this year’s been good. We’ve had some challenges with getting in as many members yearly as we sometimes do, but we’ve been working on some partial memberships. August is a little quieter time for us with swim team being over, and folks on vacation.”

Noam: “By the time we figured out [how we wanted to do] partial memberships this year—we had tried some partial week trials last year—it was a little late in the season to get much traction and market it. But we’re going to try a partial summer August membership next year and maybe try separate June and July monthly membership options, just for a trial for people to come out and try out the pool.”

Alyssa: We just want to offer some different options to see what sticks.”

This month’s feature revolves around the end of the season and how Member Splash can simplify processes and enhance preparations for the next year. This includes reviewing pool procedures, recruiting volunteers for pool closure, conducting end-of-year surveys, and developing next year’s budget.

Noam: “I kinda became a defacto Member Splash advocate after getting involved and needed to step in and make things kinda work “like they need to” [after learning the platform and seeing a lot of things still on excel spreadsheets]. I’m a kinda an IT guy. I just reworked everything completely. We didn’t need certain tags for certain things, we could do things better internally and we could leverage new Member Splash features to make our lives easier.”

What are some of the new elements that have helped or that you’ve discovered?

Noam: “We used partial payments to separate the bond fees over two years to make things easier for our members. We have a new member deal to get 50% off your first year. We have product and accounts separated with better tags so everything is kind of organized into the right bucket. And I was able to streamline it. I’m a computer guy. I deal with data management all the time. I mean this [old pool membership organization] worked but there are definitely better ways to do it.”

And that is indeed a benefit of organizing your club with Member Splash. What Member Splash features do you find most valuable for simplifying your tasks? Personally, I’m a big fan of the digital picture check-in – no cards, barcodes, or extra work!

Noam: ”We had a homespun check in system system before. We moved to Member Splash in 2021, and it helped to have check out for Covid as well. I’d have to say that the [Member Splash] check in system was probably the easiest transition. The training was pretty simple. It was easy for the guards to learn. It allowed our members to go in [to their Member Splash portal] and enter their own information, their own picture, instead of trying to decipher handwriting and forms—there were a lot of errors. The fact that members can really do all that on their own was really helpful. They can do that all for us! The fact that they can do that on their own has taken a lot of the burden off the treasurer and membership positions. We can also send the [Mailchimp] emails and pull that info right out of the database so you don’t have to let the treasurer know you have an email change. You can just go in and do it yourself and its automatic, which is really nice. ”

Alyssa: “So many things were in Excel spreadsheets and not connected together, so it was nice to have everything in one place.”

Is there anything specific within Member Splash that you utilize at the end of the season, or any tips for others?

Noam: “Reports. I’ve found it personally easier and faster to just dump out that raw data from the platform [exporting sorted data report from the MS csv button], dump it into Access, build in any queries I need for it and sort it anyway I need it for report. But more and more Member Splash has been building that reporting into the platform.”

Absolutely, data empowers you to make informed decisions and plan for the next year based on real information, rather than relying on estimates. Thank you both for your time and dedication to your club and community, Alyssa and Noam!

Make sure to visit and support this wonderful family, pool, and team at Kemp Mill Swim Club. They’re often found cheering on the swim team or just a stone’s throw away next door. It’s truly a “family-run pool” and a “labor of love.”