The Northern Tasmanian Softball Association is one of four Associations to achieve Homeplate status so far in 2019-20. The Association affiliated with Softball Tasmania, is currently in fourth place nationally, in Softball Australia’s Homeplate Ladder program, on 102 points.
During the season rather than dealing reactively to situations as they came up, the committee decided to develop key focus areas and concentrated on these specifically before taking on any other tasks. This ensured that the Association were able to give 100% on achieving their goals, utilise their resources to the fullest and develop innovative strategies that led to their success.
PLANNING FOR SUCCESS
The Association placed significant importance on planning this season and on their Strategic Plan. “By having more structure we have been able to achieve more and had the ability to monitor our progress along the way,” said Association President Brenda Hanlon.
“It has also helped the Association be more productive in being able to achieve the goals set out at the beginning of the season.”
MEMBERSHIP GROWTH THROUGH INNOVATIVE STRATEGIES
One of the key focus areas for the Association was achieving a growth in membership, the association developed some key innovative strategies which led to a 7% growth in membership.
“This year we took a different approach to membership and decided to try a bus advertisement for three months to put our sport out into the community. To maximise the exposure and reach of the bus advertisement we also advertised it on our Facebook page.
“We ran a promotion and for a bit of fun we decided that the first person to post and share a photo of the bus on our Facebook page would receive a NTSA bag and we also encouraged people to continue to post photos of the bus. I believe through Facebook promotion, the bus advertisement and having existing members share on social media assisted with this growth.”
RETENTION OF MEMBERS THROUGH WELCOMING CULTURE AND ENVIRONMENT
Another key focus of the Association is retaining existing members, they ensure that the game and the environment at the ground is inclusive in all areas, to ensure that all families feel welcome and can participate.
“We communicate information to our members, so they are aware of what is going on and what is available to them. We also have monthly BBQ’s open to all members and their families, so that everyone can connect socially feel a part of the Association,” added Hanlon.
NATIONAL AFFILIATION STANDARDS AND CLUB HEALTH CHECK
The Club Health Check and National affiliation standards checklist were important tools in identifying three areas the Association needed to address prior to the season, those being, an annual budget, volunteers, and membership.
“We created a new document this year called ‘Handover and roles and responsibilities’ which also covers these three areas and also contains other relevant information to ensure new volunteers are aware of their roles and responsibilities and to ensure important information is not lost in any handover of roles.
“This allows us now at the beginning of each season to provide an annual budget based on previous years expenses so we know exactly where we can focus our finances on depending on the goals set by the committee each season. This document also helps our volunteers to know what is required of them should they take on a role and what skills would assist them and takes away the fear of people not volunteering as the information is there for them to be able to make decisions on whether the role is suitable for them or not.
“The role of the registrar is also explained in this document and a key responsibility of providing the committee with a membership report for the past 5 seasons to monitor growth and retention as well as surveying past members for feedback.”
VOLUNTEER RECRUITMENT AND RETENTION
Other strategies the Association has adopted to recruit and retain volunteers include ensuring members are aware of courses available to them and at meetings encourage the Club delegates to talk to their members to see who is interested and advise of the benefits this would achieve for the Association and their Clubs.
“Our Umpire Coordinator over the last couple of years has worked with volunteers who have shown an interest in umpiring and has a training plan for them to help them achieve their level one and two.
We are also working on providing recognition for these umpires, being a small Association, we need our volunteers to be across so many things, and those willing are happy to complete these courses to up-skill themselves to assist the association. We regularly thank our volunteers and always let them know they are greatly appreciated,” added Hanlon.
ACHIEVING HOMEPLATE STATUS
Brenda explains that being awarded Homeplate status has been a great achievement for the association.
“It shows that we can work together to achieve the goals we set out. We hope that this achievement encourages more volunteers to come forward and more members to want to further develop themselves and complete an accreditation.”
For more information visit the Homeplate website.