The Saints Softball Club was one of five softball Clubs to achieve Homeplate status in 2019-20.
The Club affiliated with the Northern Tasmanian Softball Association, finished in second place nationally, in Softball Australia’s Homeplate Ladder program, on 133 points.
“We are very proud to know all the hard work we put as a Committee has been recognised but also know that we are on the right track to achieve our goals, short and long term. This is a recognition that all our members can be proud in being part of,” said Club Registrar Brenda Hanlon.
PLANNING FOR GROWTH
The Club places a lot of importance on planning, highlighted by Brenda.
“Planning has allowed us to focus on what is important and by having our goals set we can focus our energy and resources on achieving them and monitor how we are progressing throughout the year.
“At the start of each season we never know if we are going to have enough players to fill each team in each grade, this season we wanted to be stronger in membership to avoid that risk.
“We researched various marketing and advertising methods, identified a target market, and set a plan to recruit new players.”
MEMBERSHIP GROWTH SUCCESS
The recruitment plan worked with the Club achieving a massive 25% growth in membership which is an outstanding result.
“One of the advertising methods we tried this season and proved to be effective was radio advertising,” added Brenda.
“We decided to do a radio advertisement for a week just prior to the season commencing promoting the fact that Softball was back in the Olympics, and Australia having a strong chance to capture a medal, with the community interest being in the upcoming Tokyo Olympics.
“We also advertised on our Facebook page. The Club has many families involved and are proud of their family connections. We encouraged members to bring friends and family along to have a try.”
The advertising was a success with two new women’s teams, a red and a black team, formed from the promotion, with many new members advising they will return next season. An early goal for next season is to also grow our Junior membership.
The Club, having established a welcoming and family-oriented culture over the years have made the new members very welcome which has gone a long way in retaining their members.
“As we have had a huge growth this season it is very important for us to retain the membership we have. As a club, we ensure we stay in contact with our members during the season as well as the off season.
“We have a portfolio within our club and these people welcome our new players as well as monitor them through the season, see how they are going, get feedback and the club is able to use this information to implement retention strategies based on the feedback,” Brenda explains.
CLUB HEALTH CHECK NATIONAL AFFILIATION STANDARDS
The Club regularly completes the Sport Australia Club Health Check to identify areas for improvement. This year the Club put in place an action plan based on the 5 areas the Club Health Check identified, addressing these areas throughout the season, and implementing the suggested improvements.
One area identified was succession planning.
“We followed suit from the association and are putting into place a handover and roles and responsibilities document to make the process of future transitions more thorough and effective,” added Brenda.
“We have also created a more reliable and effective process in place with a detailed Annual Budget developed prior to the season, knowing what we want we want to achieve, how much we need to spend and when. This helps with monitoring the club’s progress against the budget.
“In addition to membership revenue, we are looking at other ways to increase revenue and are implementing a grant portfolio on the committee to assist with this.
“The last area identified for improvement was monitoring the percentage of players joined as new members. This will be annually addressed by the registrar who will provide reports of membership and details over the last five years.
“This way we can see where our membership is coming from and monitor the rate.”
VOLUNTEER RECRUITMENT AND PATHWAY TO ACCREDITATION
The club focuses considerably in developing its volunteers.
“We encourage all our members and volunteers to further develop their skills, whether it be in umpiring, or SAL and sport and recreation courses. The development is not only important to the individual and their personal goals but also for the club as their new knowledge can assist in future plans,” Brenda states.
“Along their path to accreditation we provide guidance and support and ensure they are still on the right track and they still want to go ahead. The Coordinators that hold the portfolio in the club are given the role to identify 1-2 members that are interested in developing their skills and work very closely with them to achieve their goal. At the end of the accreditation we also feel it is important to continue providing assisting in their development, whether they have the ambition to go to the next level or not.”
SUPPORTING THE COMMUNITY
The Saints Softball club also aim to support the community with many important initiatives, one no more than the support they provided to the Holman Cancer Clinic.
Cancer has impacted many Saints members and their families and when the Saints members held a Fundraiser towards the end of the season, the club made a contribution to the Holman Cancer Clinic to assist with the purchase of much needed equipment.