Attracting members to your Club is not always easy. You are competing against other sports and leisure activities for people’s time and money.
Softball Clubs have an advantage over many other activities because Softball is a sport with wide appeal. There are many versions of Softball which make it suitable for whole-of-life participation – from children barely old enough to hold a bat through to master’s competitors.
The initiatives you put in place to retain your existing members can help you attract some new members. If your current members are delighted with what your Club has to offer they will become your greatest advocates. Word of mouth is a very powerful and cost effective marketing tool.
On the other hand, the initiatives that appeal to your existing members might not attract new members who have different needs and expectations. Again, research will help you identify what potential members are looking for.
If you do not have the resources to undertake your own research, there are a number of existing resources and sources of information that will give you some insights into your potential members.
- The Australian Bureau of Satistics (ABS) website provides good demographic information, such as age, gender and income, about the people living in you Club catchment area.
- The Exercise, Recreation and Sport Survey (ERASS) is a joint initiative of the ASC and state/territory government agencies responsible for sport and recreation. ERASS collects data on the total participation rate in physical activity for exercise, recreation or sport over the 12 month period
- The Softball Australia Member Survey (SAMS), a partnership between Softball Australia and Griffith University, the National Softball Census 2009 and the Softball Australia National Participant Survey (Executive Summary) (August 2007) provide insights into the Softball participant base.
Once you know what potential members are looking for, you need to:
Develop the events and programs that meet their requirements. Many great events and programs already exist so it might not be necessary to develop something new from scratch. Regardless of whether you use an existing event or program or develop something new, you will need to consider:
- How much it will cost to run
- What you will charge participants
- When it will run and how often
- Where it will be conducted
- How long will it will run
- What people and other resources you need to run it
- What incentives you will offer to attract participants
- Tell your potential members what events and programs you have to offer them by promoting your Club throughout your local community
Some simple ways to attract members to your Club might include:
- Setting up a Softball pitching machine at the local school fete, community market, street fair, school open day or a local event to let people experience the fun of Softball.
- Promote your Club via posters in other local sports Clubs, sports shops or public spaces such as the local library or community centre
- Host Come & Try Days at your Club
- Encourage current members to actively refer friends & family by offering incentives such as membership discounts or prizes donated by a sponsors
- Getting involved with local schools and offering to deliver Softball Batter Up and Active After School Communities Program at the school or your Club
- Building reciprocal relationships with other sports that that play in Softball’s off-season
- Running a competition through your local newspaper or local school newsletters, where the winner receives a free Club membership
- Organising Family and Friends Days and encouraging each member to bring along guests for a day of Softball competition
- Building relationships with your local journalists by sending them invitations to your events and providing them with media release on newsworthy stories, as well as event results.