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Discussion Forum - Web-site development - Online entry


Author: Norman C Corrin
Posted: Tue 17th Jul 2012, 20:00
Joined: 1981
Local Group: Beds, Bucks and Northants
I was the Entries Secretary for the Games 100 and we used SI Entries as the online entry system. Out of the 524 entries accepted when registration closed 90 were postal entries and the remaining 434 were online entries. I found dealing with the 90 postal entries time consuming enough. Having to do the same for the others probably would have meant I could not have done the job (I work full time) and would have necessitated it being done by a retired person or a couple

Although you might think 5% cost per entrant seems excessive doing the job manually would have entailed for example all 4 event updates being posted to all 524 entrants which would require said stuffing of envelopes, printing and postage cost.. In addition there is also the processing of event payments to deal with. The support received from Mark Hawker of SI Entries was invaluable. As an entrant and organiser of these events he knows the pitfalls.

In terms of time and labour saved and efficiency I would rather pay someone who has developed systems to make the entry secretary’s’ job easier. The world has moved over the last decade towards internet based action for purchasing of goods, banking, booking of holidays etc. I don’t see why the LDWA shouldn’t do the same

I also don’t think we should go down the road of developing our own on line entry system. There are numerous companies out there (not just SI Entries) who have already been through all the pitfalls .Trying to develop something which will take up the time of a few dedicated members and save a few pennies seems to me a bit of dead end.
Author: Philip Bardswell
Posted: Thu 5th Jul 2012, 22:14
Joined: 1986
Local Group: Dorset
In the Dorset Group, we've been using SIEntries for a year now and have got two events under our belt. It costs about £1 per entry, but for that you get the entry limit taken care of, full financial statements, a list of entrants, acknowledgement e-mails sent automatically, and refunds done without having to get the treasurer to write a cheque. For our last event we got over 90% of our entries through SI, and the effort of putting the remainder onto the system is small compared with the effort of handling all postal entries. This must be the way to go.
Author: John Sparshatt
Posted: Fri 25th Nov 2011, 23:48
Joined: 1983
Local Group: West Yorkshire
Hi Elton, just to correct a few of your assumptions. We (the LDWA) are certainly not major players in this field - more like small fry. Large organisations would typically have many more entrants than we cater for - some into the thousands which is why they use automated systems such as SIentries. The minimum charge is not excessive especially when each transaction attracts a substantial part of that in transfer and bank fees. Just have a check with other on-line entry providers such as Runners World, Active Network and Run Britain and see what their costs are. Having organised over fifty events over a twenty five year period I know to my cost the amount of work an entry secretary does and in the later events I organised I was glad of anything which helped with the administration. If you really want to use them try for a year with an increased entry fee and see how it affects the amount of work you do and how the costs add up. You will certainly not get anywhere near 100% of entrants entering on-line.
Author: Elton Ellis
Posted: Fri 25th Nov 2011, 11:14
Joined: 2006
Local Group: Surrey
Thanks, John
Well, this is the problem. Currently all Surrey Challenge event entries are postal and the entrant details entered by hand into a spreadsheet. This is very labour intensive. Trust me, muggins knows, and so will all the other mugginses.

Surrey Group Challenge events don’t have a problem with numbers, except that we get too many more often than not.

If Sportident charged the 5%, I’d say we’d go along with it (though approval would have to be sought from Higher Up). We’d probably even agree to a minimum fee of say £50.

But £360 is a rip off. It may be only an extra £1.20 per person on the entry fee, which is pretty nominal anyway, but I’d rather sit here and do the entries by hand than let a commercial company profit to that extent from the free time put in by all our volunteers.

On the Sportident website they say: Large organisations may be able to negotiate lower rates.

Has anyone tried negotiating with them? Previously we’ve been feeling our way, trying them out, but maybe now is the time to negotiate with them. Obviously we can’t and don’t want to force individual Groups to use Sportident, but I would think more and more would come on board if we can negotiate reasonable fees. With annual events like the Hundred (£60 x 500 = £30,000) we must be major players in their field.
Author: John Sparshatt
Posted: Thu 24th Nov 2011, 23:49
Joined: 1983
Local Group: West Yorkshire
Hi Elton, the minimum fee is £1.20 per entry. You will be best using the tried and tested paper and post method if you charge just £3. When I used SPORTident I never got a huge number but year on year the numbers were increasing and they did bring in people who would not have used any other system. Best of luck with your event. John
Author: Elton Ellis
Posted: Thu 24th Nov 2011, 22:00
Joined: 2006
Local Group: Surrey
Thanks, John
Is the £1 plus VAT per event or per entry?

The Sportident information on their website is ambiguous: Fees for using SiEntries are just 5% of the entry / membership fee, with a surcharge of 0.75% if the fee is charged in Euros and a minimum charge per entry, per event / membership of £1/€1.20. These charges will be invoiced monthly and will be deducted from the transfer of card receipts. Large organisations may be able to negotiate lower rates. VAT should be added to the above charges

Does a minimum charge per entry, per event / membership of £1/€1.20. mean per entry or per event? It makes a big difference.

Surrey Group charges £3 entry for the Winter Tanners and £5 for the Punchbowl for LDWA members. We get about 300 entrants for each event.

For the Winter Tanners the income is thus £900.
5% plus VAT of £900 is £54, which is reasonable.
£1.20 for 300 entrants is £360, which is not reasonable for merely taking the entries, apart from leaving only £1.80 per entrant to supply three checkpoints, post certificates etc.
Author: John Sparshatt
Posted: Thu 24th Nov 2011, 11:17
Joined: 1983
Local Group: West Yorkshire
Hi Elton, the current cost of SPORTident UK is 5% plus Vat of the entry fee with a minimum of £1 plus Vat. These costs are deducted from the monies sent to you. See the SPORTident Web Site for more details. I have used their system in the past for the BBH and the Trollers Trot and found them to be very useful in lots of ways.
Author: Elton Ellis
Posted: Wed 23rd Nov 2011, 15:18
Joined: 2006
Local Group: Surrey
What is the current cost of Sportident per event or per entry?
Author: Simon Leck
Posted: Mon 21st Nov 2011, 11:44
Joined: 1997
Local Group: Yorkshire Coast
Noted: Internet Sub Committee are looking addressing this.
Author: David W Street
Posted: Tue 15th Nov 2011, 14:47
Joined: 1980
Local Group: Bristol & West
Would it be possible for the LDWA to supply SPORTident with a database consisting of just Surnames with membership numbers? Obviously data protection regs have to be considered but I wouldn't think much is divulged with such a list. Although a membership number can be asked for there is no mechanism currently for Si to validate if someone is in fact a member thus making a mockery of differential entry fees.
Author: Garfield & Helen Southall
Posted: Fri 27th Aug 2010, 11:57
Joined: 1991
Local Group: Merseystride
Sorry - should have said the previous post was from me!
[Helen Southall]
Author: Garfield & Helen Southall
Posted: Fri 27th Aug 2010, 11:51
Joined: 1991
Local Group: Merseystride
Hi Charlie

SportIdent can cover almost all of the (very sensible) requirements you list. The only obvious thing it could never do is make use of the existing DD mandate to the LDWA. I'm not sure how having an in-house system would benefit the LDWA, especially given that SI (& similar) costs to the LDWA have been going down as their system gets more popular, whereas the cost of maintaining our own unique system is unlikely to do that. An in-house system might have been a great idea ten years ago, but I think the point has now been reached where the disadvantages (and costs) of a unique system would outweigh the advantages.

I do agree that one of the huge advantages of online entry, for both entrants and entry secretaries, is the ability to avoid writing / typing out contact details over and over again, not to mention saving stamps, paper and trips to the postbox. (With all due respect to the Royal Mail, LDWA entries are fast becoming one of the only things I ever physically put in the post, which means it's all too easy to keep forgetting to do so.)
Posted: Mon 23rd Aug 2010, 22:38
Joined: 1982
That sounds about right but you have to get past the committee
Author: Charlie Bigley
Posted: Mon 23rd Aug 2010, 20:29
Joined: 1994
Local Group: Staffordshire
From a member's point of view, what I would like to be able to do is:
- log on the the website using my Membership number,
- select an event,
- let the system provide my name and contact details,
- manually enter any other information required for the particular event (e.g. do I want to sleep over, or want a vegetarian meal),
- confirm my acceptance of the conditions.

I would then expect the LDWA to
- debit my bank account with the appropriate amount, using my existing Direct Debit mandate,
- send me an email confirmation (possibly with route description etc),
- immediately pass on my details to the event organiser,
- in due course, pass on the money to the event organiser.

From an event organiser's point of view, I would expect to:
- provide details of the event, maximum entrants, closing date etc
- provide my contact details and bank account,
- receive an email every time someone registered,
- be able to log on the LDWA website at any time and download details of the entrants
- upload these details into a database (or spreadsheet)
- receive the monies collected on a regular basis (e.g weekly or monthly) into my bank account,
- pay a commission on a per entrant basis

In an ideal world, non-members would also be able to register via the web-site – they would
- be charged a premium,
- have to additionally enter their name, address etc,
- be expected to pay via PayPal.
However I believe it would be worthwhile to implement a mechanism just for members, and then extend it later ,if there is demand, once the member-only system had bedded down.

I know that a previous posting to this discussion (Tony Deall, Dec 2009) stated that “The National Committee have decided not to go down the road of an in house online entry system at the present time”. I'd like to suggest they reconsider, and would be prepared to offer my services in implementing such a system.
Author: Garfield & Helen Southall
Posted: Sun 8th Aug 2010, 13:41
Joined: 1991
Local Group: Merseystride
We found it convenient to use the SI system as our entries database rather than creating our own for the Scottish 100, not least because the majority of entries came in on SI and we felt that it was more efficient to add the smaller number of paper entries to SI. I downloaded the entry list from SI and backed it up to a spreadsheet file on a regular basis, as a backstop in the event of problems with access to the SI server at a crucial moment. I found the SI interface to be much easier to deal with when updating or cancelling entries than searching through spreadsheet files. (As an aside, if all entries are kept on SI, it's less necessary to 'fiddle' with the entry limits.) Once entries had closed, it made sense to transfer the final list of names and numbers to the spreadsheet we used for the event itself, which was designed (by Peter Schick) specifically for tracking participants during the event, and did the job splendidly.

Regarding people not wanting data to be added to an external system, I can understand the sentiment, but it's arguable that a spreadsheet sent between organisers by e-mail is less secure than data stored on the file servers of a reputable commercial company such as SportIdent. Data security isn't a specialist subject of mine, but my feeling is that there is always an element of trust involved in sending one's personal information to a stranger for processing, and I'm not convinced that a home computer (or filing box) is automatically a safer place for it just because it's in the care of volunteers.

I did have a few issues with using SportIdent, most of them related to the specific requirements of the 100 (especially qualification). None of these were insoluble however, and most could be avoided with the benefit of hindsight! Organisers of events which repeat in much the same format year after year should if anything find these sort of issues easier to detect and resolve before the system is re-used the following year.

I know that there will be a substantial proportion of members who will prefer to enter by post for some time to come, but when cheques do eventually disappear (c. 2018) that will cease to be a viable option. As an entry secretary I would not be at all happy about the prospect of my postbox filling up with envelopes full of cash, or having to account for the cash and take it to the bank; it's enough of a faff (and less of a risk) with cheques! And how would I prove that an envelope containing cash had gone missing in the post (as I have known to happen with birthday cards etc), and not been diverted into my penny jar? I don't think I could. That sort of problem would put me off of doing the job.

My feeling is that the only realistic options, once cheques aren't available, will be to accept the vast majority of entries through a service such as SportIdent, with the option of cash-on-the-day where appropriate. I accept that this would be impossible for events such as the 100 which require qualification, or for events which fill up well in advance.

As a matter of interest, does anyone know whether postal orders will still be available after the demise of the cheque? I can't imagine we are the only organisation facing this kind of problem.

Finally, regarding the problem of 'phishing' e-mails purporting to come from PayPal and inviting users to give their personal details away, this is by no means unique to PayPal (who regularly send out their own reminders to people to ignore such scams). I get about 3 a month purporting to be from my own bank, and who-knows-how-many more referring to banks I've never deposited a penny with. I ignore them all, unless I'm particularly annoyed by one in which case I send it direct to the relevant bank's fraud department. The fact that such scams exists is not on its own a reason to avoid everything connected with technology. It is, however, a good reason to be vigilant and sensible, whoever one is dealing with.

Right, I'll get down off my soap-box now and have some lunch! ;-)

[Helen Southall]
Author: David W Street
Posted: Wed 9th Jun 2010, 9:53
Joined: 1980
Local Group: Bristol & West
Don't get me wrong Garfield, I'm a big fan of SI. However, I feel the event organiser is happier and more in control by having the definitive database. Also, some who are opposed to computer technology will possibly take exception to sending to a third party such as SI. I don't see the point of using them for postal entries. The other thing that has always worried me is what happens if one of the servers is down at a critical time when I want to access my data.
With regard to mass mail outs, I can do that easily enough for myself. In fact using Outlook & MailMerge it is possible to automatically send out "personalised" emails en mass using my spreadsheet.
One enhancement I would like to see is the abillity to update SI with my total number of postal entries each week rather than having to "fiddle" by changing the overal entry number. Having said that I have found SI has worked well for us on the Malvern midsummer Marathon & the WyeForest50 over the past 3 years.
Author: Garfield & Helen Southall
Posted: Mon 7th Jun 2010, 13:31
Joined: 1991
Local Group: Merseystride
David, we used SI for the Heart of Scotland 100 and it was very effective - over 75% of entrants entered online. I understand that SI are now doing away with the 50p manual entry fee, which means you have a very sophisticated system at your disposal.
SI also enables very easy mailshots to entrants - only 40 entrants on the HoS100 did not have an email address and we posted these manually. (Garfield)
Author: David W Street
Posted: Mon 7th Jun 2010, 12:17
Joined: 1980
Local Group: Bristol & West
Has anyone at the LDWA been consulted by the Payments Council ? I note on their web site that they claim to have consulted all interested parties such as clubs etc. 2018 is their target date for removing cheques but they will make a final decision in 2016. In view of the potential impact of this on entry to LDWA events it may be worth the committee contacting the Payments Council to put our case across .
With regard to the SI system, we have used it successfully on Bristol & West events for a couple of years with no problems. The money goes straight into our account each month. We download the entries from their website each week and integrate them into our spreadsheet with the postal entries. SI will allow you to upload your postal entries and include them on their system but why pay them 50p for doing something I can do myself? We do also provide a downloadable entry form which means that printing & post out of paper forms is now negligable. It would appear that the internet is now the main source of entries but we must never forget those who do not have or choose to use the web. The demise of the cheque will be a problem as there is no real alternative for those who do not use 'technology'. There is talk of using mobile phones for bank transactions but that could be another minefield.
Author: Richard Smith
Posted: Mon 26th Apr 2010, 21:14
Joined: 2010
Local Group: South Wales
Yeah, Garfield is a great surname.... especially when you're a teacher!!

Deb
Author: Garfield & Helen Southall
Posted: Mon 26th Apr 2010, 16:53
Joined: 1991
Local Group: Merseystride
Goodness - another 'Garfield' on the forums, albeit as a Surname. Welcome! (garfield.not_the_cat)
Author: Richard Smith
Posted: Mon 26th Apr 2010, 14:10
Joined: 2010
Local Group: South Wales
Online entry would be very useful indeed. I enter the majority of my running and MTB events online - usually costs £1 admin, but I save that in the stamps, cheques and my time sorting out the above! Sport Ident are good because you can pay by card or Paypal. I don't like Paypal as the only method because I've had my account hacked in the past.

Deb
Author: John King
Posted: Tue 9th Mar 2010, 15:06
Joined: 2002
OOPs spot the Typo for SIS read Si entries.
Author: John King
Posted: Tue 9th Mar 2010, 15:03
Joined: 2002
Whilst i am sure that many folk are happy to have a Pay Pal account, I thought it may be appropiate to elaborate on my reluctance to entertain a Pay Pal account.

Below I have pasted a copy of an email that occaisionally arrives in my inbox, bear in mind when reading it i do not even have a Paypal account.

COPY OF EMAIL below:-

At PayPal, we want to increase your security and comfort
level with every transaction. From our Buyer and Seller
Protection Policies to our Verification and Reputation
systems, we'll help to keep you safe.

We recently noticed one or more attempts to log in to your
PayPal account from a foreign IP address and we have reasons
to belive that your account was Compromised by a third
party without your authorization.

If you recently accessed your account while traveling, the
unusual log in attempts may have been initiated by you.
However, if you are the rightfull holder of the
account, download the form attached to this email, fill the form
and then submit as we try to verify your identity.



If you choose to ignore our request, you leave us no choise
but to temporaly suspend your account.

We ask that you allow at least 72 hours for the case to be
investigated and we strongly recommend to verefy your
account in that time.

`END OF COPY`

Now i reckon that the above could very easily catch out the unwary, thus allowing some unscrupulous person to empty there Pay Pal account.

I am also aware of several other tricks that are used to gain accesss to accounts etc and not just PP ones

I Personally use online banking and frequently make online purchases, using my credit card, which is secured by using my banks own online security system, which simply means that before any online transaction is executed i neeed to enter a password to allow the card to be used, nothing complex there raelly, plus i have the advantage of just the one account to watch over and maintain.

I am never complacent enough to figure that anything online is 100% safe, what with Key Loggers and new scams constantly being developed one needs to be vigilant at all times, therefore for me at least the one account to watch over just simplifies things.

Then when it comes to Online entry using the SIS system all that is required is a password for SIS which then allows all my details to be carried over to whatever event i am entering (no need to keep Re-Typing them) a password for my credit card and that`s it job done.

Plus with SIS i can review and if neccesary amend any details and what events i have entered whenever i choose to do so.

Sorry to Waffle on but I reckon it`s an important issue`s and just maybe somthing may be of use.

P.S i have in the past had one convincing looking email phising for account details not relating to PP.
But by far and away the PP ones are the most frequent
Posted: Tue 2nd Mar 2010, 7:24
Joined: 1982
We could always insist that the organisers, have one of these card reader gadgets at an event and you pay as you enter on the day or maybe just insist on C O tD (lots of work for the bankers)
Author: Peter Haslam
Posted: Mon 1st Mar 2010, 22:22
Joined: 1992
Local Group: East Lancashire
I too have a Pay Pal account and have had no problems in the three or four years I have had it. Simple to set up and use, click on the PP logo, enter a password and bob's your 5 new P.
Author: Garfield & Helen Southall
Posted: Mon 1st Mar 2010, 15:20
Joined: 1991
Local Group: Merseystride
Paypal is very easy to set up, very secure and makes paying online very simple. Because you don't have to type in a credit-card number each time, there is no way it can be phished.
There are no fees, either. I cannot imagine any other alternative system being simpler and more safe.
Garfield
Author: John King
Posted: Mon 1st Mar 2010, 12:27
Joined: 2002
FWIW i Like using, and trust the Sport Ident entry system (i also like there Dibbers but that`s for another day/Thread).

However i would not even contemplate opening a Paypal account.


Sorry not really that helpfull, i cant even figure out how i am going to cope on a personal level with the demise of the cheque, as a nice simple means of paying my way.

Oh well some bright spark must see it as progress i guess.
Author: Fiona Cameron
Posted: Wed 17th Feb 2010, 20:14
Joined: 2003
Local Group: Surrey
On the Winter Tanners I had a handful of entries that just enclosed a £5 note with their entry form. And I had a similar number of enquiries from people whose bank account doesn't provide a cheque book - so we already have to cater for those with no facility to write cheques.

And I even had a couple of Postal Orders for entries on the Punchbowl Marathon - talk about memories of Christmases of my childhood!

I don't know how much interest there might be from groups if we were to provide the 'event shop front/data collection' bit within the group template website so that they had the option to open a Paypal account for the group to collect event entries. Another idea to be referred to the Internet sub-committee.
Posted: Sat 30th Jan 2010, 21:07
Joined: 1982
Tony your right cash would be the worst scenario but I dont think we should sit with our heads in the sands and let others make the runing, this would be as bad as waiting for cash.
Author: Tony Deall
Posted: Sat 30th Jan 2010, 20:12
Joined: 1985
Local Group: Cumbria
At least when cheques go we won’t be on our own! Hundreds of organisations and thousands of individuals will be trying to solve the same problem. Let’s assume and hope there will be an acceptable solution without us having to reinvent the wheel.
For what it’s worth, I think payment of cash on the day would be an organiser’s worst nightmare! No cash flow, extra work on the day, no idea of numbers turning up making catering etc a nightmare. It would be an incentive to enter numerous events without needing to commit until the last minute.
Author: John Phillips
Posted: Sat 30th Jan 2010, 7:56
Joined: 2007
Local Group: South Pennine
Don't forget that in addition to the people who do not wish to move into the computer age, there are another group of people who have insufficient faith in internet security to give details of their bank accounts on line. If cheques are on their way out will we see the resurgence of the postal order? An alternative is to enter without the payment and simply pay cash on the day.
Businesses tend to work on the 80/20 rule - deal with the 80% who are easy to deal with and not bother with the 20% who are non standard as it is not cost effective to do so.I hope the LDWA event organisers do not adopt this approach and will continue to cater for all our members
Posted: Fri 29th Jan 2010, 20:01
Joined: 1982
Sorry for calling Northumbria Northumberland (out of habit I nearly said Newcastle and the rest). I use Sportident and like Tony W I like it but I also share Mike’s concerns regarding those that do not have or want access to the internet. As the average committee will sit on a problem for two years, debate it for another two years and take another two years to implement a decision that will inevitable have teething problems. We really must devise a strategy to deal with any future payments problem now before they become a real problem and I am not sure if Paypal (I do have an account with them) or Sportident is the answer.
Author: MIke Rayner
Posted: Fri 29th Jan 2010, 19:03
Joined: 1983
I have no experience of using Sportident and I'm not an entry secretary, so I have no deep inside information to offer. Two points though: I hope we have more than one option if/when cheques bite the dust and I would hate to think that any members felt unable to enter walks in future because they did not have or could not use the technology. Should we make all members aware of the cheque issue now and comment as an organisation before 2016 when the final decision will be taken?
Author: Tony Willey
Posted: Fri 29th Jan 2010, 11:01
Joined: 1989
Local Group: Lakeland
So far as I can see those events that have used Sportident before are continuing to use it, which suggests they are happy with the system and that there isn't a catch. As an entrant I use it whenever possible and it is very simple to use.
Posted: Fri 29th Jan 2010, 9:31
Joined: 1982
Northumberland group (or any other group)have you found a catch with the sportident system? or do you think there is a potential problem with it?. How's that for a straight question Tony?
Author: Tony Deall
Posted: Thu 28th Jan 2010, 22:45
Joined: 1985
Local Group: Cumbria
In response to your points, David -
I don't know, you'll have to ask them and there is no catch.
Posted: Thu 28th Jan 2010, 20:26
Joined: 1982
If "Sportident" is so good how come there are no L D W A events on it after the "Three Rings" I would have thought that Northumbria being the group that they are would have got straight on to it. Unless they have spotted a catch.
Author: Tony Deall
Posted: Wed 27th Jan 2010, 22:23
Joined: 1985
Local Group: Cumbria
I may be wrong but, as I understand it, Paypal is simply a means of collecting payment on-line. It doesn’t presumably collect the detailed information needed by most event organisers. As well as personal details it is often necessary to ascertain other data such as – choice of course, variable entry fees, emergency telephone number, dietary requirements, walker/runner, car reg etc.
With, say, Sportident it is also possible to display the Event details and rules, set a closing date, send out bulk emails, display entry lists, merge on-line and manual entries etc.
Sportident transfer entry fees monthly, Geoff.
Author: Keith Harrison
Posted: Wed 27th Jan 2010, 21:58
Joined: 2009
Local Group: Norfolk & Suffolk
I should add that the money paid for online entries goes directly to the organiser's paypal account - not the governing body.
In that way, organisers get their money immediately and do not have to wait for payment from third parties.
Keith
Author: Keith Harrison
Posted: Wed 27th Jan 2010, 21:49
Joined: 2009
Local Group: Norfolk & Suffolk
At this moment, payment online is only available to AUK members. Our system links to the AUK membership database, so by putting in your memno, your details are passed to the organiser. This includes address, tel no, club info.
We will (hopefully) introduce online entry for non members in the next few months.
Online entrants need not fill in an entry form - they just agree that they have read and agree the terms - standard online stuff, really.
I have received hundreds of payments in the last couple of years by trhis method and have had no problems, so can only speak as I find.
Keith
Author: Geoff Saunders
Posted: Wed 27th Jan 2010, 20:48
Joined: 1972
Local Group: Merseystride
Merseystride are currently investigating the use of Paypal for online entry to our challenge event, Open to Offas, in September. The main benefits, compared with SportIdent appear to be:
1. for a typical event, the cost per entrant with Paypal would be less than half the cost using SportIdent;
2. we, as organisers, would retain greater control over our own event;
3. payment would reach us more quickly (can anyone give us their experience in this regard?).
However, there are risks - see (for example) www.paypalsucks.com. This is an American site but it includes a UK-only forum.
I would welcome any practical comments - for or against. They will get to me if you email them to opentooffas.merseystride@ldwa.org.uk.
Keith - I have looked at the Audax website and it doesn't seem to be quite as simple as you describe. There seems to be a requirement for a form and signature by surface mail, no matter which way you enter. Is that correct?
Author: Keith Harrison
Posted: Wed 27th Jan 2010, 16:45
Joined: 2009
Local Group: Norfolk & Suffolk
I inhabit the parallel universe of Audax - long distance cycling. We have a very simple system of online entry using paypal. There is an "enter online" button on the calendar page for the event. Clicking it sends you to an entry form which you read and agree to the terms. The paypal system takes money from entrants bank or credit card and deposits it to organisers paypal account. Organiser and entrant get emails automatically confirming entry and payment. The transaction populates the online start sheet (list of entries) for the event. Paypal charge 20p + 3.5% to the organiser, who will have added a small amount to entry fee to cover it. This system was designed and implemented by our IT volunteer very easily. Makes life simpler for all.
Keith
Author: Alan Greenwood
Posted: Tue 29th Dec 2009, 9:27
Joined: 1998
Local Group: Calderdale
Hi Fiona- For me this correspondence is not just about the cost but a way of floating ideas and seeing if there are ways that our event organisation can be improved. If it comes to nothing then so be it. If you recall it started because of the the possible abandonment of cheques in 2018. Hope I am still around then.
Author: Fiona Cameron
Posted: Mon 28th Dec 2009, 14:43
Joined: 2003
Local Group: Surrey
As an event organiser, who also takes the entris for those events, the last thing I want is to receive entry forms by email - I get enough email, thanks. And why should I have to bear the cost of printing them out? I'm also not about to be doing a reconciliation of bank statements to entry forms to make sure everyone has paid.

It seems that there is an awful lot of creativity going into avoiding a very small amount of money - £1.50 or less, which is pretty marginal compared to the costs of getting to an event, for example. Cost of a 1/2 tank of petrol? £15? And people are quibbling about paying £1.50, for not having to find/buy a stamp, an envelope, remembering to post the envelope ...

Time for a reality check. It's not a solution if it puts an additional burden on entry secretary for events.
Author: Alan Greenwood
Posted: Thu 24th Dec 2009, 14:58
Joined: 1998
Local Group: Calderdale
Sorry Mike you could attach the SEF to an email so there is no postage cost. Still prefer online competion of entry forms though. Wish I had the nous to do the design myself.
Author: Alan Greenwood
Posted: Thu 24th Dec 2009, 14:53
Joined: 1998
Local Group: Calderdale
Mike - At the most basic level what you have proposed is possible and simple to operate. Just a few points. Say you enter 20 events a year then you have to make 20 entries showing the details of the payees bank account. After that you need to add details for new events each year and changes to payee bank account details. This compares with just one initial entry on the online systems.
While in principle reconciling receipts with entry forms sounds easy enough trying to tie up three to four hundred of these could be a nightmare. The sort of problems I could envisage are quoting the wrong reference number, more than one entry in a payment, payments going to someone elses account and so on. An organiser would need online banking or copy bank statements every week to handle all this efficiently and promptly.
Use of the SEF as you suggest is fine provided there are no options available on the event entry form which are not on the SEF. Of course you have to post the SEF which increases cost whereas we should be moving to online completion of entry forms. Roboform on your PC will complete the entry form with one click.
As a matter of interest where are you proposing that an event organiser should display the bank details? Entry form, Strider, LDWA website??
Post Offices and Postal Orders! Thought they were endangered species.
Author: Alan Greenwood
Posted: Thu 24th Dec 2009, 14:00
Joined: 1998
Local Group: Calderdale
Hi Tony - Like you I go for the easy life but there are others who wish to minimise their costs and it is incumbent on organisers to give them that opportunity. I think to start with entrants did not realise they and/or organisers were paying more when the SI or RW online entries system was used. I would not advocate discontinuing the use of the online systems but rather running the internet banking alongside them. We get too many entries through the online system.
I also do not relish the thought of reconciling receipts on bank statements with entry forms although Mike does not see this as a tedious chore.
I will certainly give it a whirl on next years Hebden. Maybe you might want to be a pioneer on the 3 Rings?
Author: MIke Rayner
Posted: Tue 22nd Dec 2009, 20:04
Joined: 1983
Alan - it's not tedious for the entrant to pay by internet. The details of the bank account to pay for each event are entered once, then remain "on file" until the next time. The task for the organisers is no more tedious than listing cheques on a paying in slip, visiting the bank, and paying the same in. Possibly even easier because each payment is listed separately on the bank statement. No bank charges are incurred. Somebody else will certainly do this task for us, but they charge. We already have the Standard Entry Form. Fill one out with your name and address. Save it on your computer. Only the event details and the cost of entry change, which you would have to enter every time you enter an event, no matter what system is used. To me, everything we need to do this is in place right now, but the entrants aren't ready for it. We still get entries with postal orders, so not every entrant has even got as far as using cheques, let alone e-mail and internet banking. Postal orders. Hmm. A marketing opportunity that will save David's and my pension.
Author: Tony Deall
Posted: Tue 22nd Dec 2009, 19:45
Joined: 1985
Local Group: Cumbria
It was 4 2nd class stamps! But I take your point about sourcing entry forms online etc
We mustn't forget the 20% or so who still don't have or want email or computer access - how are they going to enter events?
Internet banking would work though, as an organiser , I would not relish the reconciliation with entries etc.
I guess that the people who don't want to use their plastic online will not use internet banking either.
My personal opinion is that online entry eg with Sportident is soooo eeezy that it's well worth those 4 stamps!
Author: Alan Greenwood
Posted: Tue 22nd Dec 2009, 18:28
Joined: 1998
Local Group: Calderdale
In principle what you have outlined is what I had in mind but I would hope we could be a bit more sophisticated. One possible way would be for us to design a standard entry form for all LDWA events which linked the members number to his personal details so as to avoid having to complete these every time. Additionally it should be possible to transfer the entrants details automatically to the organisers after the completion of the entry form. It will be a bit tedious for an entrant to have to do an online payment each time and for an organiser to have to trawl through bank statements to check an entrant has paid. However it is amazing what people will do now in order to save a pound or two. The question of bank charges would also need to be looked at.
I did not have in mind for organisers to send out details by email but to allow entrants to source this themselves.
There are many more aspects to this and I hope they may be covered in subsequent posts.
Posted: Tue 22nd Dec 2009, 14:14
Joined: 1982
As I read Mike and Alan’s last postings.
1) A group would advertise it’s event as normal on the Web and in Strider
2) The entrant would sent his entry form via E mail direct to the event organizer
3) The entrant would transfer his entry fee via his bank account direct to the account of the group organizing the event.(this would save the embarrassment of bounced cheque’s)
4) The group would then send the normal details back via E Mail
If I am right and it can be done that way it sounds sensible and cuts out the middle man, whether we like it or not, with cheque’s being fazed out we will have to consider alternative methods of collecting entry fees and we may as well go the whole hog and revise how we actually enter events and it will have to be sooner rather than later..
The only thing wrong with on line entry’s, is that I rely on Royal Mail for my pension and this method would certainly eat in to RM profits, thus reducing my pension.
Now I am off to Tesco to find a parking space while "She who must be obeyed" gets rid of some more of that pension
Author: Alan Greenwood
Posted: Tue 22nd Dec 2009, 11:25
Joined: 1998
Local Group: Calderdale
What is Peter banging on about? Mike's suggestion has nothing to do with credit cards. The transfers are direct from one bank account, the entrant's, to another bank account, the LDWA group's. The money would not go into the LDWA's account. The suggestion deserves some consideration although a system using this method would not be as consumer friendly as Sportident or Runners World to whom each entrant pays roughly £1.50 for the convenience.
Tony in his earlier post compared this cost to 4 1st class stamps which might be needed for an event but as time goes by postage costs will be eliminated due to most entrants going online to get the information they want. So far Calderdale group has 286 entrants for The Hebden of whom 244 have chosen to get their information from the website.
Hopefully more debate on this topic may bring forward some ideas.
Author: Peter Haslam
Posted: Mon 21st Dec 2009, 19:41
Joined: 1992
Local Group: East Lancashire
Who is going to sort out which amount of money goes to which organiser? Or is each event going to set up individual credit card facilities for 200 or 300 transactions? As I see it this is exactly what Sportident does for us. If we get more events to use their system we may be able to negotiate better terms, but a stand alone LDWA system I think is many years down the line, if ever.
Author: MIke Rayner
Posted: Mon 21st Dec 2009, 18:17
Joined: 1983
I use the internet to pay my bills already. I would be quite happy to pay my entries by internet banking and e-mail my entry form. This is cheaper than £1.18 by Sportident. What do entrants and organisers feel?
Author: Tony Deall
Posted: Mon 21st Dec 2009, 16:27
Joined: 1985
Local Group: Cumbria
The National Committee have decided not to go down the road of an in house online entry system at the present time. This is not solely because of cost, although this would be considerable, but mainly because of the workload implications in administering and supporting such a system.
Sportident is recommended but not to the exclusion of other systems eg Runners World.
Sportident may negotiate lower rates for larger events.
Their minimum charge is equivalent to about 4 second class stamps - probably not much more than is needed for traditional methods of entering events!
Although some event organisers may choose initially to absorb this cost, eventually it is bound to fall on the entrant who will benefit from the ease of use and, of course, save on those stamps!
I think that the main stumbling block for online systems at present is the reluctance of a lot of entrants to use their plastic online.
Posted: Mon 21st Dec 2009, 8:07
Joined: 1982
Two questions to Mike Rayner and Tony Willey.
(1) Can the LDWA in reality set up it’s own viable on line entry system, where entrants would use plastic to pay.(could such a system be extended to membership renewal)?
(2) Can we make a deal with Sports indent, that would allow a discount acceptable to all our events.
I ask this because I like using the on line entry system but I am worried about how much it will cost the smaller events, where the margins between financial loss and small gain must be very close.
Author: MIke Rayner
Posted: Sun 20th Dec 2009, 18:42
Joined: 1983
Cheques are going to be phased out from 31 October 2018 - see the Payments Council website. Entry by Sportident is a minimum charge of £1 plus VAT and by Runners World is £1.50. I hope there are some other methods available by 2018 to keep the price down
Author: Alan Greenwood
Posted: Sun 7th Dec 2008, 1:10
Joined: 1998
Local Group: Calderdale
Who is this person called Tony Willey who keeps writing on the forum? Maybe he cannot sleep like me. Anyway, Tony, glad you like the statistics. The more interesting one for us is the number of entrants who are happy to download the route description. So far there are 103 and this saves everyone a lot of hassle and printing costs for us. One would hope that the type of information we produce on my website will start to appear on LDWA group websites as organisers become more proficient with the dark art which at first glance it appears to be. Congratulations to Nidderdale who eventually got the Wedge results on their site. Will think of using the LDWA facilities next year. Eventually this will tie in very nicely with our own online entry system!!!
Posted: Sat 6th Dec 2008, 22:06
Joined: 1982
So whats new?
Author: Tony Willey
Posted: Sat 6th Dec 2008, 20:43
Joined: 1989
Local Group: Lakeland
The list of Hebden entries on Alan Greenwood's website makes interesting reading for the sad characters among us who enjoy analysing such things.
Around 80 of the 188 entries so far have entered online, split roughly 50/50 between Runners World & SportIdent. 75% of runners have entered online. In contrast only 8 walkers (10%) have entered online. We certainly seem to have some work to do to change the entry culture among walkers.
Author: Carole Elizabeth Engel
Posted: Mon 17th Nov 2008, 18:08
Joined: 1998
Local Group: Calderdale
Hi Tony,
There is no way i was looking at this as a source of income! Eventually everyone will be using the internet, even LDWA members. It has got to be cheaper in the long run to have own own system, or else why do such services exist?
Author: Tony Willey
Posted: Mon 17th Nov 2008, 10:23
Joined: 1989
Local Group: Lakeland
Carole,
I'm afraid the potential income is much less than you suggest. Depending on the system used, around 50p of the fee goes to the bank to process the payment. Around 65% of our members have e-mail addresses and there will always be a proportion who would prefer not to trust the internet with their money. At a rough guess the potential income is around 25% of the figure you quote.

We have taken a serious look at developing our own system and it would be a major undertaking. The cost and resource required to develop a system is just the start. It then has to be administered on a permanent basis. Why reinvent the wheel when there are systems out there which we can use with no investment needed?
Author: Carole Elizabeth Engel
Posted: Sun 16th Nov 2008, 23:10
Joined: 1998
Local Group: Calderdale
I strongly believe that having our own on-line entry system is essential. Of 110 entrants for the Hebden, 48 have entered on-line, mostly runners. Furthermore, 82 have opted to access event details and number from our website, that is, on-line. More and more are turning to the web for banking, shopping and information and once used to it, would not wish to conduct their everyday business any other way. No doubt the initial outlay in terms of expense and time would be significant but justified. For the Hebden alone, on-line commission to SI could amount to over £350 and even more if RW was used exclusively. Why should our membership be expected to fund a third party when we have the resources available to develop our own tailor made system? Please, let's get on the band-waggon before it is too late!
Author: Alan Greenwood
Posted: Fri 14th Nov 2008, 16:38
Joined: 1998
Local Group: Calderdale
The Hebden uses both SI and RW for online entries. There are pros and cons to both systems. Some not as obvious as others and a thorough appraisal is needed of both systems. Currently we have received 26 entries from RW and 22 from SI with SI now starting to pick up more. The ability to input your own event on RW is an advantage as Fiona points out but another one of equal weight is the fact that events are rated on RW. The rating for the previous year is attached to the current years details. We are getting entries from individuals outside our location from RW because our rating is good. Some of these have not entered before and I put it down to the rating system.
Currently, however, we have 102 entries of whom only 41 are walkers and hardly any have entered online. Seems like all my walker friends are just like me and enter by post a few days before or on the day. Do we need a culture change or are we just too easy going and thoughtless about organisers' problems? Would having our own online system improve the situation?
Author: Fiona Cameron
Posted: Fri 14th Nov 2008, 13:42
Joined: 2003
Local Group: Surrey
Whilst either SI or RW provide the on-line entry facility, it is currently easier to enter your event on RW.

The other factor is where it is best to pick up entries. A listing on RW, even without using their on-line entry, has brought in new entrants to the events I organise. I wouldn't have got those by putting the event on SI, as I don't believe it is a site that runners or walkers will idly go to as they browse the web during their lunch hour. The reason it it is easy to pick out the walking events on SI because there aren't many events there.

I agree that the RW listings aren't conducive to picking up new walkers searching for walking events, because that's not what it's for. But I'd be surprised if most walkers have even heard about SI, let along visit the website. For someone going to on-line entry on RW from our website, there will be a direct link; or from Strider, they will have the name of the event to search for.

I don't think the case for endorsing SI over RW is not clear-cut.
Author: Tony Willey
Posted: Mon 10th Nov 2008, 9:14
Joined: 1989
Local Group: Lakeland
Calderdale do a great job in publicising their events - there can be few people who have not been "Engeled" at some time!

So far as online entry is concerned, the position of the National committee is the same as outlined in the first posting on this thread, and similar advice has been circulated to all local groups, most recently in the minutes of the Local Groups Representatives meeting last month. We would like organisers to use the Sportident system as much as possible and to let the NC have their comments. We have the opportunity to work with Sportident and influence how they develop the system, and clearly we will have more clout the more our events use it.

The NC have considered developing an in-house online entry system, but at the moment the usage rates are too low to justify the considerable investment in time and money that would be required, particularly when there is a ready made system available off the shelf.

I don't think it is now correct to say that there is no information available as to how organisers set up an event. "Add your event" on the Sportident website gives a lot of information on current functionality and future developments. One of the criticisms of their system is that events have to be set up by Sportident themselves, but they do plan to introduce a user setup system in the near future.

Alan, you say that you have comments on both the Sportident and Runners World systems. This is precisely what we want to know and it would be very helpful if you could e-mail me with them.
Author: Alan Greenwood
Posted: Sat 8th Nov 2008, 20:53
Joined: 1998
Local Group: Calderdale
It is not surprising that there has been little take up of the Sportident system by organisers of LDWA events. This is well illustrated by Philip Powell's post. There is no information available as to how organisers go about setting it up. Equally there is no direction from our National Committee as to whether or not we should be using the system exclusively or should be developing our own system.
So far I think there has been 4/5 events using the Sportident system all with limited take up by entrants.
It seems to me that we need a thorough investigation of the pros and cons of developing our own system or using someone elses with firm recommendations as to which way we are going on this.
Our group as organisers of The Hebden use whatever method there is available to bring in entrants to our event such as threats, extortion, blackmail along with all the other legitimate methods which organisers use. This happens to cover online entries through Runners World and Sportident. Unfortunately the use of two online entry systems has brought unfavourable comment from Sportident who would clearly like us to use them exclusively and so far are probably seeing LDWA events as a loss leader.
I could make considerable comment about both systems but this not the place to do it so I pose the question is there an official policy or is it left to individual organisers to make up their own minds. Sportident are interested in making changes but I sense that they are very close to considering our events as being currently uneconomic.
Author: Tony Willey
Posted: Sat 8th Nov 2008, 14:47
Joined: 1989
Local Group: Lakeland
I find it rather surprising that on-line entry has not developed more quickly in the LDWA. When the Trollers Trot used Sportident back in March there were 66 entries using the system. I used the system on this and a couple of other events myself and found it very easy and convenient. Since then a handful of events have used it but the number of people entering this way have been relatively small. It contrasts with running events where online entry now seems to be the norm.

In my view the cost issue identified by Chris Dawes can easily be resolved by charging an extra £1 (say) for online entry. After all the entrant is saved the cost of 2 stamps and envelopes and the inconvenience of dealing with all the paper. Organisers are saved the hassle of dealing with a mountain of entry forms and my understanding is that the ones who have tried it are also happy with the system.

We have the opportunity of working with Sportident to influence the way in which they develop the system, and it is hoped that more of our events will use it so that we can build up experience and develop a wish list of things that we would like to see changed.

Sportident are not the only people offering online entry facilities. Runners World have a sophisticated online site which some of our events have used but I don't find it user friendly as there are no effective sort facilities to identify walks and our events are lost among the hundreds of running races.
Posted: Thu 6th Nov 2008, 22:45
Joined: 1972
In the Marches we have noted that by a large majority the entries to our events is on forms downloaded from the Group Web site. The system is quite simple in that I upload a copy of the entry form either scanned in jpg format or pdf format based on a MS Word document. The entrant then prints it out, presumably on their own printer or the one in their local library, fills it in and posts it back just as has always be done and so we avoid the £1.17 cost of the commercial service and keep our entry costs low. If the current economic crisis is to become as bad as most economists believe then this may become an important matter in retaining the numbers needed to keep events viable.

We have also noted that that this system seems popular and encourages entries to the extent that our cap of 200 on entries to our flagship event, the SSC, was reached 4 months before the date of this, or should it be next, year's event. Although early closure of entries has been the norm for many years it is the first time that it has been so early
Author: Tony Deall
Posted: Thu 28th Feb 2008, 23:07
Joined: 1985
Local Group: Cumbria
The costs are 5% of each online entry fee or £1.00, whichever is the greater (+ VAT).
More information is available from Paul Stanbrook at paul.stanbrook@sportident.co.uk
Author: Philip Powell
Posted: Thu 28th Feb 2008, 21:14
Joined: 1981
Local Group: Northumbria
From an organiser's point of view, I could find no information on their site as to registering an event or the costs involved.
Author: Nick Ham
Posted: Thu 28th Feb 2008, 13:15
Joined: 1998
Local Group: South Manchester
Correction to my last post. I don't think it was Grindleford Gallop. That might have been a different facility. It was the Three Peaks Fell Race that used SI.

Nick.
Author: Nick Ham
Posted: Thu 28th Feb 2008, 13:07
Joined: 1998
Local Group: South Manchester
I used the Sportident entry system for Grindleford Gallop this year. It was very convenient and slick. I personally would welcome the opportunity to enter LDWA events this way.

Nick.
Author: Tony Willey
Posted: Thu 28th Feb 2008, 11:30
Joined: 1989
Local Group: Lakeland
Following up on the postings elsewhere, the National Committee have been looking to intruduce an online event entry system, and it appears that the Sportident system may well meet our needs without tying up scarce development resources. This weekend's Trollers Trot has received 64 online entries and it seems to have worked well for both entrants and organisers. Three LDWA events have signed up and I am sure that usage will expand rapidly.

Initially it will be up to individual organisers to decide if they wish to use the service and deal direct with Sportident, but we will be working with Sportident to develop suitable secure links to the LDWA events pages and membership database to streamline the event entry process for LDWA members.

We understand that there will be a programme of enhancements by Sportident during 2008, including:-
* Ability to register "friends & family" so that, for instance, family members can be entered together without separate registration.
*Ability to enter multiple events at one go.
* Facility for organisers to e-mail entrants with information updates.
*Facility for organisers to set up their own events on the system (currently this has to be done by Sportident).
* A simpler credit/debit card payment process.

If you use the system and have any comments on your experience or have suggestions for further improvements, then let us know through this forum or by contacting a NC member.

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