Swim England

A nation swimming

How GoCardless is making life easier for aquatic clubs

Bank payments company GoCardless has been praised for helping to make life ‘immeasurably easier’ for the treasurer and finance team at one of England’s biggest swimming clubs.

City of Coventry Swimming Club began using GoCardless to manage collection of annual fees from its 800-plus members – plus additional monthly swim school payments.

The club’s business development manager, Jo Deakins, said payments used to be collected via cash, standing order or by card via WorldPay.

However, this proved to be problematic as the club continued to grow in size – and often led to missed payments and a loss in revenue.

Jo said: “When we updated our fees each year, we relied on members manually changing their standing orders.

“Chasing people could feel like Groundhog Day and it would take two or three months for everyone to make the change.

“We had one volunteer almost completely tied up with comparing a spreadsheet for tracking owed membership fees with bank statements. 

“Throw in weekly cash and bank payments for swim school sessions and it was an admin nightmare.

“Our growth has required us to make various business processes more efficient to ensure we’re maximising our resources for the benefit of members.

“When it comes to time saved for staff and volunteers, and revenue raised, nothing has had more of an impact than switching to collecting payments using GoCardless.”

With GoCardless, City of Coventry Swimming Club no longer has to chase people when its fees go up. 

To increase swim school fees, it can simply update the system once and the Direct Debit amount is automatically updated across the board. 

And by linking its club membership database in SwimClub Manager with GoCardless, changes to membership fees are automatically pulled through.

“It almost runs itself,” said Jo. 

“The greater level of control offered by GoCardless has closed the gap between when fees go up but standing orders don’t. 

“We immediately captured the additional revenue we expected. We went from turning over around £14k a month to £17k a month. That’s a 21% increase in revenue.”

Instead of wrangling spreadsheets and bank statements, staff can simply check the GoCardless dashboard once a week to see exactly whose payments are due, whose have been automatically collected, which ones have failed and whose Direct Debits have been cancelled.

People would often just cancel their standing orders with no notice, leaving the volunteers having to do some detective work to understand if they’d decided to leave the club or if it was just an accidental oversight.

Simple process

Jo said: “With GoCardless we always know who payments are from and what they’re for.

“Our treasurer is now free to use her talents on more strategic areas and planning for our future.

“We can better enforce our ‘no-payment, no swim’ policy, for example, because we can see right away whether someone’s payments are up to date.”

Jo said uploading the’ details to GoCardless was a simple process and although there had been some initial pushback when it was introduced, members were now fully on board with the system – and the increased level of communication it offers.

“We no longer nag them to update standing orders,” said Jo.

“All it took to get members into the platform was a simple bulk upload via CSV file. 

“That triggered automated emails inviting them to set up their GoCardless payment. For new members, we just send out individual links when they sign up.

“Now that members have seen the benefits of better communication and less admin, and with Direct Debits so common now, it’s just another payment in their account.

“Today, GoCardless is the only way we let people pay. We can even use it to collect payments for kit and accessories by adding it as a charge to members’ accounts in SwimClub Manager. 

“It makes the lives of our finance team and our treasurer almost immeasurably easier – they’re definitely happier in their work.

“The time saved and increased confidence that the money we should be getting in is the money that is coming in, means I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend GoCardless to other swim clubs. 

“It has allowed us to become more financially secure, to grow, hire more staff and improve the club for members and the community.”

GoCardless now works with more than 7,000 customers and 75 partners in the sport, health and wellness space, providing organisations a convenient, safe, and cost-effective way to collect recurring fees and dues. 

The London-based firm is Swim England’s official payments partner and the headline sponsor of its national events.

It is the first sports sponsorship for GoCardless, which is used by more than 85,000 businesses around the world – processing more than $35 billion of payments annually in more than 30 countries.

To find out more, visit GoCardless.