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Pickleball Alberta Project Update to All Clubs

2021-02-02 14:05 | Anonymous member (Administrator)

Pickleball Canada National System (PCNS) Update to Clubs - 2021-02-01

Summary for SAPC

  • PCNS will change how members register and renew, commencing this June (after the upcoming March 1 to May 1 membership renewal cycle).

If you have questions about PCNS, please email Ray Keroack at Treasurer@pickleballstalbert.ca

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This email was sent by Pickleball Alberta (PA) to Alberta clubs. It has been edited for SAPC members.

This is our second update to all clubs regarding the Pickleball Canada National System. A lot has happened since our first announcement on January 13th (which has been posted to SAPC's news as an earlier newsletter). We’ve learned a lot more about PCNS and are working closely with Pickleball Canada (PCO) as the system evolves and gets closer to implementation.

This communication is intended to summarize why, at this point in the evolution of our sport, an integrated national system is a priority. As well, this update highlights some actions clubs can start planning to do as we prepare to implement PCNS in Alberta.

Why is a National System important at this time?

● An integrated system used by clubs, provincial associations and PCO will save thousands of hours of volunteer time and improve the integrity of membership data. This is true at the club, provincial and national levels. Further, a centralized membership management system will result in lower aggregate system fees spent by clubs, provinces and nationally. Pickleball has developed rapidly across Canada as a volunteer-based organization. Without streamlined more efficient membership management resources, given the current and anticipated increase in members, we are at risk of burning out volunteers.

● Pickleball Canada is working towards becoming a recognized national sports organization. Once this is achieved there will be long-term annual funding for Pickleball in Canada from Sport Canada. To promote the sport and qualify for grants and other funding programs, it is essential to have solid membership demographic information available at local, regional and national levels. Currently this is missing at the national level and hampers our discussions with Sport Canada and other potential partnership and funding organizations.

● A national system will provide members with ease of access to information about national programs and initiatives, as well as news and events across Canada. It will reinforce to members that they are part of a vibrant Canadian pickleball community.

● Over time, the system will evolve to support all aspects of the game including event management and skill rating.

What are the benefits of a National System to Affiliated Clubs?

● An online membership system reduces club volunteer time spent maintaining member information and handling membership fees.

● The member is able to enter and keep their personal information up to date which improves the accuracy of information.

● Clubs have access to information for only their club members and can use PCNS to:

  • Prepare membership and financial reports
  • Send emails to all or a subset of members
  • Filter and search for members that meet certain criteria (e.g. skill level, age category, etc.)
  • Export membership data and update information such as club ratings
  • The club section of PCNS can be customized to provide local information and news on a webpage that members can readily access. A link to the club’s existing website, Facebook or other social media can be added to this page allowing seamless access to information. There is no additional fee for this basic webpage.

● Clubs can customize the questions to ask members when they join or renew (e.g., volunteer interests) and can add specific club policies such as waivers or code of conduct.

● Clubs will be able to set up their own online goods or product sales

● In future enhancements the club will be able to set up and manage events

Other good reasons for Clubs to affiliate with PA and PCO

● By formally affiliating the club is lending their support to the vision and goals of Pickleball Alberta and Pickleball Canada and has a voice in the development of pickleball. In Alberta, we now have clubs in all provincial sports zones – this demonstrates that clubs and members support PA as a recognized governing body for pickleball Alberta and PCO as a governing body for Canada.

● Affiliate Clubs have access to the Pickleball Canada Insurance Program – Commercial General Liability Insurance, Directors and Officers insurance and members are covered for Sport Injury insurance.

● PA and PCO help clubs achieve their goals through event promotion, governance support, player development and officiating development. Affiliate Clubs will be kept abreast of important information as it relates to “best practices” related to pickleball.

● Your club’s connections to other affiliated clubs in the region and in the country can help your club in terms of working with municipal authorities to build and accommodate more pickleball facilities and securing related grants.

● Your club and members are helping to make pickleball an even better sport for all ages and abilities, by supporting the development of competitive play, coaching, refereeing, and thriving recreational play in your community. You are building a legacy.

How can Clubs start getting ready for PCNS implementation in Alberta?

● Review and formalize affiliation with PA by signing the Club Affiliation Agreement. 

● Prepare for a change in membership year to January 1

  • Review club by-laws, if applicable, to determine how Membership Year is defined and what needs to be done to change it. Your club may need to put forward a resolution to a General Meeting or AGM to make this change. (Gary Marcellus is leading this review for SAPC.)
  • Prepare for a short year – May 1 to December 31, 2020. Decide on club fees for this shorter period. Note that the membership fee for PA will be $5.00 for this eight-month period. (The PCO fee will be $5 if purchased before April 1, and $10 thereafter.)
  • Start planning for the annual membership renewal to change to later in the year. While the renewal period for May 1 to December 31, 2021 will open in early March, the first renewal reminder email for January 1 to December 31, 2022 will be sent on December 1st.

● Identify the “key contact person” who will lead the PCNS implementation at your club level and be your club’s primary liaison with the PA PCNS implementation team. (This is done for SAPC. It is Ray Keroack.)

● Clubs should consider whether it’s appropriate to create a small implementation team involving members who handle memberships, finances or technology for the club. (Done for SAPC. Other team members are directors Tamas Virag and Carol Mah. Other SAPC volunteers are welcome - contact treasurer@pickleballstalbert.ca if interested.)

● Review PCNS and start thinking about how to set up your club for the initial implementation. You may change this over time. For example, to use PCNS to collect club fees you will need to have a club bank account. You can set the club fee to $0 initially and change it when you are ready.

● Start communicating the upcoming changes with your members and let them know why it’s important for our sport. (Hence this SAPC news posting!)

What is the anticipated timing for PCNS implementation in Alberta?

● We will be working throughout February, March and April to get most Alberta clubs familiar with PCNS and to help them get set up. This would facilitate a “cut-over” to PCNS for membership registrations, as of sometime in June.

● This means we would continue to use our current membership system (the Pickleball Alberta Wild Apricot (PAWA) system and club processes) for the upcoming May 1 membership renewal period until we can plan to phase out PAWA.

● This timing will evolve and may be adjusted. PA is interested in hearing your thoughts on this proposed timing. It is essential that clubs are ready for the transition as well as PA so we want to hear from you.

What are the PCNS Costs and options for Clubs?

● The primary cost is a processing fee for all transactions that is charged by Trackie, the company that is developing and will maintain PCNS. The processing fee is $0.50 plus 4.9% of the amount of the transaction. This covers the payment processing plus system maintenance. Clubs can decide if they want to have members pay this fee, in which case it’s added on to the invoice OR if they want to absorb the fee. If the club absorbs the fee then Trackie deducts the processing fee from club fees collected.

● If a club is using PCNS to invoice and collect payment for club fees, the club decides when it wants the fees to be transferred from the PCNS account to the club bank account. There is a transaction fee of $1.25 for each bank-to-bank transfer.

● PCO will charge an annual system fee that is earmarked for future system developments. For example, the development of an interface from a tournament management system to PCNS. There is no fee for small clubs. The fees for larger clubs will be from $100 to $200 per year. This fee is waived for 2021 for all clubs and will start in 2022. Note that there are no additional fees for the club website address, website and functionality that is built into PCNS.

How will Clubs be kept informed?

● An important task of the PA PCNS implementation team is to communicate with and educate clubs in how to set up and use the membership pages in the national system. This will include written information and guides, video tutorials prepared by Trackie, occasional online meetings and so on. 

● The PA PCNS implementation team sits on the PCO National System team that is led by Kirk Jensen as part of his PCO Board member role. There is great interest and support from across Canada to make PCNS a system that will support pickleball in all jurisdictions. This work continues to be led and undertaken by many volunteers.

● If your club has a question – just ask and we will do our best to answer or obtain an answer if we don’t have one. There is a lot that the PA team is learning and compiling so that we can develop FAQs and admin guides for Alberta clubs to access.


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