52 free things you can do to develop your club.
Happy New Year!
As we enter the new year, we at Club & Coach got to thinking of how we could help develop our own and other clubs in 2018. Once the conversation had spun around the “if I won the lottery….” it got us thinking how we had helped clubs in 2017 and what tips we had given. With the grey matter purring away, we came up with over 100 ideas but thought that we could whittle it down to 52, or one actionable tip for each week of the year. We also thought long and hard about how hard to can be for clubs to allocate money for development, so we came up with 52 FREE tips that you can use to help develop your club.
As there is quite a lot of information, we have split this up into two sections, with the first 26 this week and another 26 next week
We hope you enjoy reading these and get the most out of them.
Get into your local newspaper
1. Write a press release for an event
Write a press release about anything newsworthy going on in your club. Not sure how to write one? Read these essential PR tips or pick up the phone and speak to a journalist to see if they’re interested in running something. If they are, they’ll possibly write the story themselves.
2. Send in pictures of an event, i.e. awards night.
A great way to reward your coaches, volunteers and players is to have them in the local (and national) press for everyone to see. It’s worth taking pictures and sending them in of all of your events…along with the details where possible.
3. Write a match report (see match report writing sheet)
It’s not only your players and coaches who love to read match reports, a club we are working with has some members who now live/work abroad but like to keep up with the results… it helped them feel involved…and paid members. Sponsors can also be mentioned…along with pictures. You can find more information on writing match reports here
4. Write a column
Offer the local press, blogs and website to write a blog about your club, or a particular situation that you are in. For example getting a coach of players to write a column. This works exceptionally well if you have travelling players or tours. etc
5. Create a press kit
Gather some background information about your club, ready to send out to any journalists. Have a ‘press’ section on your website where media can easily find out more about you and contact the right person in your club.
6. Create a newsletter
Publish a regular e-newsletter to your current and past members… and parents of your junior members– if you have their permission to contact them, that is. Tell people about what you’re doing in the club, i.e. events, match reports. It’ll keep you on their radar and encourage sponsors.
7. Get testimonials
Nothing works better for promoting your club and instilling confidence than having a genuine testimonial from a happy player/member/ parent. Have you added testimonials to your website or promotional materials, if not do it now! Just make sure you ask full permission first.
8. Offer special rates for new members
It can often be a difficult decision for new members, and their parents, to commit to a new club and its fees in the early stages. Therefore, it may be beneficial to offer a trial membership or a discount for your first year/season. One club we worked with increased their membership through a pay as you play scheme for new members in their first year.
9. Talk to your members
Don’t be afraid to chat with existing members and parents of youth members to ask them why they came to your club. And use this opportunity to ask them if you could be doing anything more to improve what your club offer
10. Give something back
Whenever you are holding an event or fundraising opportunity, why not link with a local charity or good cause. By partnering with them it is often easier to get media coverage and will always have a positive impact on your club’s reputation.
11. Throw in some freebies
OK, before you start screaming at the screen… and to an extent I agree it’s not technically free, however, give away some freebies to your sponsors/donators and most importantly your volunteers. We worked with a club recently, and part of their sponsorship was factored in to buy extra jackets for their coaches and sponsors. At the very least get rid of that bottle of wine that you’ve had in your cupboard for, well as long as you can remember.
12. Invest in your public credibility
Nothing sells more than credibility. To get more for your club, invest in schemes and accreditations that will demonstrate to potential sponsors/parents/player how credible you are. Most governing bodies have a Club Accreditation Scheme, often called Club Mark.
13. Attend Business Networks…. or host your own.
Not all events are stuffy, dull and boring. There are many out there that could benefit your club. You just need to find the right ones for you. Start with the local chamber of commerce and go from there. Go armed with business cards, a warm smile and no expectations… this is where your future sponsors are going.
14. Give your expertise away
You’ve been running your club for a while now, and you’ll have learnt plenty along the way. It may not feel like it, but your experience is incredibly valuable to others. Don’t be afraid to tell people how you’ll help their business or club. Yes, some might steal your tricks. But most won’t have the time, and the best compliment is imitation.
15. Enter awards
Put your club, its coaches and its volunteers forward for as many awards as you can. Being nominated and Winning awards is fantastic free publicity for your organisation and you can show off your trophies on your website. It adds further credibility.
16. Get your answerphone right
Outside office hours, make sure your clubhouse phone has an answering machine. And, more importantly, make sure your answerphone message sells the club. Why not replace “sorry we cant come to the phone right now…” with something more useful or interesting, for example: ‘we’re not available, but please check out our website’. Have a call to action on your message to get the caller to contact you via other means.
17. Ignore the competition
Don’t become obsessed by other clubs from your own sport or others and always follow what they’re doing. As what they’re doing probably isn’t right for your club and its members. Concentrate on your own club and have confidence in everyone in it.
18. Join forces with other groups.
Hook up with another club/group to attract more members, coaches, volunteers etc. What do I mean by this? Well, if you’re good at writing funding applications– why not approach groups who don’t have excellent skills and offer your services in exchange for something you need, i.e. an accountant You’d be surprised how much you can get this way.
19. Get the basics right
When anyone answers your club’s phone, always say your club’s name and who’s speaking. When you email anyone, ensure that the email signature contains the club’s name and crest. Be polite and friendly at all times because you never know who might be calling. Get these basics right and you’ll strengthen your clubs’ brand and your reputation.
20. Contact local colleges and universities
To establish cooperative, local relationships why not contact your local FE Colleges or university to offer your clubs services or facilities. Aside from the thousands of prospective new members, Universities and colleges often have strong links with your local business community, and you never know who you might impress or meet.
21. Use community notice boards
There are physical community notice boards everywhere – at your local supermarket and pharmacy, even your local library. Put up your fliers because it’s cheap and easy. Just make sure you get permission.
22. Do something different
Research your target market and analyse your competition, somewhere to start is on the UK Sports Research website. What could your club be doing differently? Offer something out of the ordinary to make your club stand out.
23. Make every member a walking advert
When you get your club kits ordered, make sure every item has your club’s logo and web address displayed prominently. Try to get them to wear them whenever they’re out and about. If you’ve got staff, get them to wear branded clothing too.
24. Organise an Old Boys/Girls meet up
Invite all of your old members, who you’ve probably bumped into regularly in the shops, out for a night out, event or just to come down to the club. It gives the opportunity for them to see how the club is doing. One club we are working on creating their section of the club for past playing members to join…and pay subs!!
25. Follow up with new and not so new members
Never forget to follow up with any new people that come down to or contact the club about joining. Develop relationships and keep your club fresh in their minds. Whether you talk to individuals at an event or over the phone, always follow up and try to turn that lead into a new member. This can also be done for those that have maybe come along only a few times and stopped…find out why.
26. Survey your members
You can use something like SurveyMonkey, or even an old-fashioned printed sheet, to create a survey for your members or parents and encourage participation by offering a competition giveaway away. Once you collect the information, you can turn your research into an article for the media, or you can put the data to improve what your club offers to its members and its community.
We’ll be back next week with another 26 tips for you to help develop your club to be the best it can be in 2018 and beyond
Why not tell us what you found to be your best tip by contacting us on Twitter or Facebook to let us know.