Money Matters: Managing Travel Team Finances

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Contributed by Team Mom Extraordinaire, Melissa Paul. It’s the first in our series on successful team management. 


Congratulations Mom (or Dad), you’ve volunteered or been nominated to be the “Team Mom” for your kid’s travel baseball team!

Team Mom or Team Manager?

For many travel baseball teams the coaches want to focus on coaching and would like to hand off some or all of the administrative functions to a Team Manager/Team Mom. This is particularly true if you have paid coaches. In this case the responsibilities and time commitment is much greater. If your team is part of a larger club or organization it is important to understand which administrative tasks will be the responsibility of the individual team as well as any reporting requirements to the parent organization.

As soon as possible sit down with your coach find out which functions they would like you to take the lead on, how involved the coach wants to be, and how he would prefer to communicate with you and with the team.

Money Matters

Is the Team Mom also the Team Finance Manager? Often times yes!  (We recommend it be someone other than the coaches. They’ve got enough on their plates.)

If money management falls to you, make organization and transparency your #1 goal.

Open a team bank account – NEVER co-mingle team money with personal funds. Have at least one other person on the account with you and require two signatures on checks. Provide receipts to your families for player fees and deposit checks promptly.

Keep a record of all player fees/team dues collected and fundraising received. Provide regular budget updates to your team and make the bank statements available. Clear accounting is very important when handling the money for your team; don’t get behind in maintaining your account ledger.

If you have a paid coach you will need to arrange for an Employer Identification Number and issue an IRS Form 1099 at the end of the year. Particularly with this scenario good record-keeping is essential.

When it comes to money matters, your team should decide early on:

  • What fundraising will your team do. And who will be in charge of it.
  • How will fundraising money be applied? Will you credit it to the overall team budget or against the player fee of the individual kids? If you will be doing fundraising your team may also choose to do a courtesy filing as a non-profit entity with your Secretary of State’s Office or a establish a full 501-nonprofit entity.
  • If a new player is added mid-season how will their player fees/team dues be determined? What about bringing in a substitute player?
  • Will your team cover any of the travel expenses for coaches? If so how will the per diem be determined?
  • How will your team handle any money left over when you are done playing (for the season or forever)?
  • How player payment reminders will be handled.

Together with your coach, determine your team’s budget. When setting the budget consider:

  • Tournament entry fees
  • Insurance expense
  • Game Changer or other fees/costs associated with team management software or applications
  • Game balls and practice balls
  • Additional equipment needed for the team (bow nets, whiffle balls, etc.)
  • Uniform expense (it is a good idea to have at least one spare uniform on hand in case you need to pick up a sub or a player forgets theirs on game day)
  • Bank fees and administrative expenses (copies, ordering checks, postage, scorebooks, lineup cards, etc.)
  • Facility rental fees
  • Umpire expense for scrimmage games
  • End of the year coach appreciation
  • Sponsor recognition
  • Team banner
  • Team photos

Rather than using the old pen and paper or spreadsheet method of keeping up with who’s paid what, team managers are turning to apps like TeamSnap or Blue Sombrero to help keep everyone on the same page financially.

Two additional points from our editors

Guest Players: When a temporary player is added to the roster, for half an inning or several tournaments, there will be parents who want to know (and feel it’s their right to know) how much, if anything, the guest is paying. We’re not here to argue about what to charge pick-up players. However, it’s vitally important to decide from day one what your team’s rule will be on this topic…and stick to it. That way you won’t have parents in the bleachers speculating about whether the guest player has paid or not. (Guest player etiquette deserves its own post.)

Tournament Refunds: Throughout the season, some tournaments that have already been paid for will inevitably be cancelled due to weather. And refunds will need to be issued. It’s worth a conversation up front with parents to explain that tournament refunds can take several days (weeks, sometimes months) to be sent to teams. To the parent who spends a lot of time looking for transparency issues, it may seem like the team bookkeeper isn’t on top of his her her game. Or, gasp! Money isn’t being handled properly!!!! (My son was once on a team that disbanded because of an uninformed parent’s speculations and gossip about tournament refunds not being returned to the account in a timely manner. Well, that’s how it started and then snowballed from there.)

Therefore, be sure to explain the tournament refund process to parents up front so there will be no speculation down the road.

Stay tuned for our next Team Mom 101 post –Team Communications.

Melissa Paul is mom to two boys ages 11 and 13 and semi-professional “Team Mom” most recently with the West Valley Baseball Club and the East Valley Spartans in Yakima, Washington. In her spare time she works as a travel agent to pay for baseball equipment. 

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Angela Weight

Founder and publisher of Travel Ball Parents.com, Angela Weight is still a little shocked to be running one of the most popular youth sports parenting sites on the web. Click the ABOUT US tab to read her story.

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