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Thread: Encouraging Parents to use Online Payments and MY.SCOUT

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    Encouraging Parents to use Online Payments and MY.SCOUT

    Hi All.

    This is my first post on herebut have been lurking for a while. As a former cub, scout and venture scout I havere-joined my old scout group 15 years later as the club treasure and thus far have been very successful at bringing together Beavers, Cubs and Scouts as one entity making accounting mucheasier.

    I’ve managed to bring the accounts into the 21st century so now every penny that passes through the accounts is fully documented and traceable, all subs and activity money is paid to me rather than kept in separate sections as cash and all leaders fill in an expense form each month for which I then issue a remittance.

    So now we have the accounts sorted my attention has turned to the parents payments of subs/activities etc. All 3 sections now have OSM set up with the bank account linked and payment schedule set up but I have a feeling we are going to face some resistance from parent, who pay by cash and cheque, because its ‘different’ so I want to send out an email to all parents introducing them to OSM but I feel the template email on OSM is a bit to direct (as is the payment schedule emails asking for payment) so could you possibly share your advise on how you managed to get parents on board with OSM and in particular signing up for a MY.SCOUT.

    Many thanks in advance
    Last edited by medic2; 28-11-2017 at 02:08 PM.

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    Welcome medic2.

    We take ALL payments through My.Scout (exceptions only by individual agreement with the GSL). Leader's time is more valuable than parent's time.

    One lesson we did learn was how to set up OSM so that subs DD's do not get cancelled when a child moves from Beavers to Cubs and Cubs to Scouts. The trick is to open an additional 'Groups Subs' section in OSM. Copy all YP into this additional section when they join and create the subs schedule in this shared section. Their records can then be transferred between the Beavers, Cubs and Scouts sections as required but they remain in the 'Groups Subs' section until they leave the group. We then have separate schedules in each of the Beaver, Cubs and Scouts sections for things like camps and events as these need to be linked to events in those sections.

    When we introduced it in the first place we did a lot of face-to-face discussions with parents. The message was always the same "this system will make ours and your lives easier - which means that leaders will have more time to run brilliant activities for your kids". It did take some time to convince people of just how much work is involved in managing cash and cheques properly.

    Here is the wording in my Welcome to My.Scout email.

    Welcome to 1st Somewhere Cubs My.Scout.

    We are using a system called My.SCOUT that enables us to do most of our Cub administration online.

    As part of this system, you are able see some of the details relating to your child. My.Scout also enables to you see our programme for the current term, information about events that are being planned and the progess that your child is making towards their badges.

    The system enables you to keep us up to date with any changes in the information that we hold about your child. It is vitally important to us that the contact and medical information we hold is up to date.

    We will be using My.SCOUT in the future to keep you informed about the term's programme and for communicating any changes to times and locations.

    Please visit the following link and click on "Personal Details": [DIRECT_LINK]

    You will be asked to enter your childs date of birth as a security check. If your child's date of birth does not work, it probably means that we do not have your the correct date in the records, please drop me an email with the correct date.

    When you create an account on My.Scout, use the same username/password that you used in Beavers (if you have them). You will then be able to see both the Cub's and the Beaver's information using the same account.

    We hope that you will find that this system works well for you as a parent.

    Please contact us if you have any questions or concerns (either catch me at a Pack Meeting or drop me an email).

    Yours in Scouting

    Akela
    R.

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    I have found near enough no resistance to it - parents like it generally even though it can be a bit clunky.

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    ASL Kev's Avatar
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    Speaking as a parent, I hate it when a school or youth organisation uses yet another web site that I'm supposed to register with. I much prefer to be given a sort code and bank account number so I can make payments from my bank website.

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    Very Old Member BigBadBaloo's Avatar
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    Speaking as an accountant, that's fine, so long as you include a suitable reference to make reconciling the bank statements and little easier!
    Last edited by BigBadBaloo; 28-11-2017 at 04:00 PM.
    Peter

    Former CSL - 2nd Bracknell


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    Senior Member Bushfella's Avatar
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    Have just spent some not inconsiderable time tring to track down a glitch in our accounts. I'd much rather take the cash and cheques to the bank than try and correlate all the dashed standing orders, and gank giro credits and bank transfers...

    But then again, I was taught my bookkeeping by Uriah Heep....
    Ewan Scott

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    ESL and DESC ianw's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by BigBadBaloo View Post
    Speaking as an accountant, that's fine, so long as you include a suitable reference to make reconciling the bank statements and little easier!
    Speaking as an ESL that can't find any other mug to do the accounts...make every camp and subs payment different! Then it didn't confuse too much when the poor mum that couldn't/couldn't work out how to change the reference and every single payment made said TPC15 SMIFFY.

    Of course, the parent that walked into the bank with 50 cash and the bank details and paid direct into our account...no reference at all. That stumped us for a while.

    Anyway, yes, for the OP, explain the reasoning nicely and make it sound like it's more or less mandatory.

    Ian
    Ian Wilkins
    Farnham District Explorer Scout Commissioner

    Jambowlree - World Scout Ten Pin Bowling Competition
    All sections, all countries, runs December 2017 - May 2018
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    Go carrot, carrot, carrot, stick.

    Explain in simple, brief terms why it will make a difference to them (they wont care about it being easier for you). And do it again and again.

    I would be tempted to start a section at a time - beaver parents tend to be most malleable. Get them on board and as they move up to cubs, start getting cub parents involved. Then a term or two later - get the scouts on board.

    Whilst you are doing it, get some FAQs organised from the heroes you are getting from the first section.

    If you get a tricky customer- call them. Nothing bets an actual conversation. Remember to smile during the call.

    The stick will be - we can only accept payment through OSM for this really exciting event coming up. Plus there are limited places. The first ten people who pay through OSM get the place.


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

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    Senior Member recneps's Avatar
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    We've been using OSM for years. We met very little resistance. We made it very clear that this was the way we would be taking payments, and if people had reasons why they couldnt pay using OSM, they could speak to me (as GSL) and I would consider whether we could accept another form of payment on a case by case basis.

    If its "its more time consuming" then i'm sorry - my time, my leaders' time, and my treasurer's time are more important to me, as GSL, than the parents time.

    If its that they dont have a bank account, dont have a PC/Smart Phone, get paid entirely in cash, etc - then fine. We can work with that.

    A lot of schools use systems like parentpay to pay for school meals, trips, etc - so it might not be that big a difference... and a lot of people these days are keen to move away from cheques (I havent written a personal cheque in at least 2 years, and dont intend to any time soon - to the point that my cheque book went in the confidential waste bin ages ago. And it really annoys me when places haven't bothered to move into the 21st century and wont accept BACS payments - like scout campsites)

    As a group we consider ourselves "cashless" (yes we get the odd cash payment for uniform sales, etc, but most money comes in through OSM or BACS), and "paperless" (we dont do paper health forms, etc). It works for us.
    Dan Spencer

    Group Scout Leader 66th Bath
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    Senior Member Bushfella's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by recneps View Post
    We've been using OSM for years. We met very little resistance. We made it very clear that this was the way we would be taking payments, and if people had reasons why they couldnt pay using OSM, they could speak to me (as GSL) and I would consider whether we could accept another form of payment on a case by case basis.

    If its "its more time consuming" then i'm sorry - my time, my leaders' time, and my treasurer's time are more important to me, as GSL, than the parents time.

    If its that they dont have a bank account, dont have a PC/Smart Phone, get paid entirely in cash, etc - then fine. We can work with that.

    A lot of schools use systems like parentpay to pay for school meals, trips, etc - so it might not be that big a difference... and a lot of people these days are keen to move away from cheques (I havent written a personal cheque in at least 2 years, and dont intend to any time soon - to the point that my cheque book went in the confidential waste bin ages ago. And it really annoys me when places haven't bothered to move into the 21st century and wont accept BACS payments - like scout campsites)

    As a group we consider ourselves "cashless" (yes we get the odd cash payment for uniform sales, etc, but most money comes in through OSM or BACS), and "paperless" (we dont do paper health forms, etc). It works for us.
    So, you need some poster paints for beavers, how do you pay you local craft shop 14 for two big tubes of paint? I can do that three ways - cash, my credit card, or group cheque.

    You go to the cash and carry - where they will not give you an account. How do you pay?

    You see kit going cheap at a car boot, how do you pay?

    We had far fewer problems with cash and cheque than we have had since we started doing digital banking. It's a nightmare tallying it all up. I am currently chasing down a difference and it looks like it is in digital payments somewhere.
    Ewan Scott

    It seems that there are a lot of Nawyecka Comanch around....





    Nawyecka Comanch'": "Means roundabout--man says he's going one way, means to go t'other" Ethan Edwards - The Searchers



    www.upperdearnevalleynavigators.org.uk

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    Thanks for the replies. Before I took over cash and cheques were the way to go because there HSBCs in our small village and the neighbouring village so it was easy to pay in but they have both closed and so the nearest bank is in the middle of a busy town where its a nightmare to park and then to a long walk to get through. I don't mind doing it occasionally but when you get activates money in drips and drabs it becomes a pain in the backside.

    I'm accepting BACS payments but they have to contact us for the account number and sort code, this allows me to control (to an extent) the reference they use when paying, for example if Billy Jones from Cubs is paying their subs I'd reply back with the account details and ask them to use ref: 'C-BillyJ' or something to that effect, makes tracking down the payments easier anyway


    Quote Originally Posted by Bushfella View Post
    So, you need some poster paints for beavers, how do you pay you local craft shop 14 for two big tubes of paint? I can do that three ways - cash, my credit card, or group cheque.

    You go to the cash and carry - where they will not give you an account. How do you pay?

    You see kit going cheap at a car boot, how do you pay?

    We had far fewer problems with cash and cheque than we have had since we started doing digital banking. It's a nightmare tallying it all up. I am currently chasing down a difference and it looks like it is in digital payments somewhere.
    To get around this problem I issued our three sections with a float of 50 cash, they give me the receipts at the end of each month and I pay the cash back to them. If there is a large purchase to be made I'll pay with the debit card I have on the account. What I would like is the leaders to use a credit card of their own and I pay the bill each month so I don't have to go to the bank and get exact cash out at the counter.

    I'm drafting a letter to parents which will be sent home with every child, also posted on our facebook page and emailed out so I can make damn sure everyone gets it.

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    AESL & AGSL shiftypete's Avatar
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    We don't use OSM for payments but given the closure of our local bank branch I simply informed our Explorer parents that all payments had to be made by bank transfer or standing order from now on, not had a single complaint or parent saying they can't do this (if I did then I would take cash payment no cheques) and made my life so much easier.

    - - - Updated - - -

    Quote Originally Posted by medic2 View Post
    I'm accepting BACS payments but they have to contact us for the account number and sort code, this allows me to control (to an extent) the reference they use when paying, for example if Billy Jones from Cubs is paying their subs I'd reply back with the account details and ask them to use ref: 'C-BillyJ' or something to that effect, makes tracking down the payments easier anyway
    That will only work for a very limited time, my online bank account stores the details of all accounts I have made a payment to and I can reuse the details to pay people again without having to ask them for their bank details again.

    Peter Andrews AESL of Headingley Pirates ESU, Assistant Group Scout Leader & Webmaster of Falkoner Scout Group
    www.falkonerscouts.org.uk

    Wike, North Leeds District Campsite - www.wikecampsite.org.uk
    www.leeds-solar.co.uk
    Please note all views expressed are my own and not those of any organisation I'm associated with

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    Quote Originally Posted by shiftypete View Post
    We don't use OSM for payments but given the closure of our local bank branch I simply informed our Explorer parents that all payments had to be made by bank transfer or standing order from now on, not had a single complaint or parent saying they can't do this (if I did then I would take cash payment no cheques) and made my life so much easier.

    That will only work for a very limited time, my online bank account stores the details of all accounts I have made a payment to and I can reuse the details to pay people again without having to ask them for their bank details again.

    That certainly wouldn't be the case for our sections, the number of cheques I handled for the last round of subs was ridicules, I can't remember the last time I wrote out a personal cheque.

    The Parents can re-use the same reference number, only if the move section will I ask them to change it.
    Last edited by medic2; 28-11-2017 at 08:08 PM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by medic2 View Post
    I'll pay with the debit card I have on the account
    I am afraid that according to the POR unless the debit card requires two people to authorise spending (individual pin codes say) then you really should not have a debit card
    Rule 3.50 Bank Accounts
    c. A minimum of two signatories must be required for any withdrawals.
    - - - Updated - - -

    Quote Originally Posted by medic2 View Post
    That certainly wouldn't be the case for our sections, the number of cheques I handled for the last round of subs was ridicules, I can't remember the last time I wrote out a personal cheque.
    My point was that all our Explorer's parents paid by cheque or cash previously (mainly cheques) but all happily changed over to electronic payments without a single complaint or even query. I think you will be suprised that the vast majority of parents will be totally fine with the change away from paying by cheque.

    Peter Andrews AESL of Headingley Pirates ESU, Assistant Group Scout Leader & Webmaster of Falkoner Scout Group
    www.falkonerscouts.org.uk

    Wike, North Leeds District Campsite - www.wikecampsite.org.uk
    www.leeds-solar.co.uk
    Please note all views expressed are my own and not those of any organisation I'm associated with

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    If you have a HSBC community account which you manage online then you can have as many signatories on the account as you like but it requires you to have only one signatory for authorising payments. Speaking to HSBC they advised making a point of having a debit card at the AGM so it was in the minutes.

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