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City of Coventry Swimming Club

Collecting payments with GoCardless has plugged some major revenue leaks for City of Coventry Swimming Club, and saved volunteers and staff from an admin nightmare.

City of Coventry Swimming Club
City of Coventry Swimming Club
City of Coventry Swimming Club


Sports club


Uses GoCardless API

Payment type

Recurring payments

Office locations

Payer locations

Find out more about City of Coventry Swimming Club

Key benefits


increase in monthly revenue from £14k to £17k.


club members.

Plugging revenue leaks to save thousands

City of Coventry Swimming Club has evolved in recent years from a medium-sized community club into a medium-sized business, with eight full-time employees, more than a hundred volunteers and 1,500-plus members.

“That growth has required us to make various business processes more efficient to ensure we’re maximising our resources for the benefit of members,” said Jo Deakins, Business Development Manager. “When it comes to time saved for staff and volunteers, and revenue raised, nothing has had more of an impact than switching to collecting payments using GoCardless.”

Admin nightmare

City of Coventry Swimming Club used to collect monthly swim school and annual membership fees through a combination of cash, standing order or card via WorldPay. This was a pain for several reasons.

“When we updated our fees each year, we relied on members manually changing their standing orders,” said Jo. “Chasing people could feel like Groundhog Day and it would take two or three months for everyone to make the change.”

In the meantime, the club would miss out on the additional revenue — a couple of extra pounds each month quickly adds up over hundreds of members.

People also weren’t always consistent or accurate with their payment references, so the club often had payments hit the bank that we couldn’t easily reconcile.

“We had one volunteer almost completely tied up with comparing a spreadsheet for tracking owed membership fees with bank statements,” said Jo. “Throw in weekly cash and bank payments for swim school sessions and it was an admin nightmare.

Finally, people would often just cancel their standing orders with no notice. Staff would then have to do some detective work to understand if they’d decided to leave the club or if it was just an accidental oversight.

21% extra revenue

With GoCardless, City of Coventry Swimming Club no longer has to chase people when its fees go up. To increase swim school fees it can simply update the system once and the Direct Debit amount is automatically updated across the board. And by linking its club membership database in SwimClub Manager with GoCardless, changes to membership fees are automatically pulled through.

“It almost runs itself,” said Jo. “The greater level of control offered by GoCardless has closed the gap between when fees go up but standing orders don’t, and we immediately went from turning over around £14k a month to £17k a month. That’s a 21% increase in revenue.”

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

“With GoCardless we always know who payments are from and what they’re for,” said Jo. “Our treasurer is now free to use her talents on more strategic areas and planning for our future.”

Members like it too because when a payment is due they get a notification and an email invoice in advance. “That and the fact we no longer nag them to update standing orders,” added Jo.

Transformative financial visibility

This level of visibility and automation is a total transformation compared to what City of Coventry Swimming Club had before and the benefits reach far beyond payments and revenue.

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

Onboarding GoCardless was also simple and straightforward, according to Jo

“All it took to get members into the platform was a simple bulk upload via CSV file,” she said. “That triggered automated emails inviting them to set up their GoCardless payment. For new members, we just send out individual links when they sign up.”

There was some pushback initially from some members who didn't see the difference between a standing order and a Direct Debit. It was also tricky to explain that the club wanted more control over their money. “But now that members have seen the benefits of better communication and less admin, and with Direct Debits so common now, it's just another payment in their account,” said Jo.

GoCardless is investing in swimming

"The time saved and increased confidence that the money we should be getting in is the money that is coming in means I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend GoCardless to other swim clubs. It has allowed us to become more financially secure, to grow and hire more staff, and improve the club for members and the community."

“Today, GoCardless is the only way we let people pay,” said Jo. “We can even use it to collect payments for kit and accessories, by adding it as a charge to members’ accounts in SwimClub Manager. It makes the lives of our finance team and our treasurer almost immeasurably easier – they’re definitely happier in their work.”

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