Recruitment and Retention
11 Feb 2017
There are a number of ideas that your club could use to promote the club to specific target groups and the public in general. They will not only provide you with an opportunity to gain new members but to also boost income and get people in through the front door of your club.
You may need to think outside of the square when promoting your club and attracting new members there will no doubt be other ideas that are not listed below. If you do think of something and it proves successful dont keep it to yourself let it be of benefit to the whole bowls community.
The key to the success of any event you run is in the planning.
Consider the following when planning your promotional event:
- You will need two to three months to plan and promote your Open Day
- Identify the most suitable time of year to host such a day.
- Consider what other events are on at that time of year. Try to avoid any clashes that may keep people away.
Length of event
- You want people to get excited and come back for more
- A short, sharp and fun experience is more likely to get people interested
- A number of spot prizes / reward prizes will heighten peoples interest
- Make sure you have enough bowls available. Also consider other equipment such as targets etc. Ask members / other clubs / Auckland Bowls to assist with equipment if need be.
- Remember to have coaches available but also remember that people come along to have a go so let them! The finer points of bowls can be addressed once you have them hooked.
- Do you have enough coaches at your club Auckland Bowls can help to up skill more of your members.
- Make sure you have enough volunteers available to help out. It is better to have too many than too few.
- Make sure you target the most sociable and friendly members of your club.
- Consider rewarding volunteers by providing lunch and perhaps a couple of drinks at the end of the day as a way of saying thanks.
- Supplying t-shirts that identify the volunteers is helpful as well.
Make it fun
- Fun, fun, fun you want people to get excited about bowls. Try and create a carnival atmosphere. Elements such as a free BBQ, prizes, fun competitions etc will help.
Competitions (especially for Open Day type events)
- Give structure to the day by running different competitions on each rink you use, for example:
- Closest to the jack
- Driving accuracy
- Target bowls (archery style target)
- Fastest drive See if you can borrow a speed radar gun from the local police (and invite them along!). Also acts as a great photo opportunity for the local paper
Marketing and promotion
As already stated it is important to develop a marketing plan for your event
Your target audience is vital make sure you invite (depending on your objectives for the day):
- Club members who will hopefully bring along their non bowling friends
- Local community groups
- Secondary schools
- Retirement villages
- General public
Part of your marketing plan will include a budget by using volunteers and sponsors you will hopefully keep costs to a minimum and if done well, you may even make some money!
Ideas for Promotional Events include:
Open Days can be a valuable tool in attracting people to your club. You can also obtain media coverage and in general promote your club to the public.
This can be run similar to an open day, but targeting a specific business or businesses.
As well as attracting new members it is an opportunity to increase club revenue. You can charge the business a fee and in return provide a social and sporting opportunity for them to participate in.
Social Bowls Corporate Bowls Challenge
Hosting a regular business house competition is a great way to bring in additional income and increase the exposure of your club.
Secondary schools in your area may be interested in bowls as a sports option for their pupils. Develop a relationship with your local Secondary Schools and provide a programme that meets their needs. The Auckland Bowls Coaching and Collegiate Manager will be able to assist you as much as you require.
Teacher Bowls Day
Run along the same lines as a corporate day but specifically for teachers. Get all the schools in your area (including primary schools) to enter a team, put on a BBQ and provide a mix of socially competitive bowls and a social outing for teachers.
Again similar to an Open Day, but specifically targeting families.
Bring a friend day
Again similar to a standard Open Day but uses your members by getting them to bring along friends. Run a social tournament with your members and their friends all involved.
Target minority groups
Is your club situated in an area that has a diverse ethnic population base? These groups could become potential members if targeted appropriately. Meet with these groups and discuss the various ways you can accommodate them in your club.
Inter sports code challenge
Do you have other sports clubs in your area that you could invite to an inter sport challenge? Again have a mix of playing bowls and social activity.
Get your working members more involved by providing an opportunity for them to play bowls after work. Could also act as an extension of your Business House bowls for those that are keen to play more but have not yet committed to being members.
Put together a plan to try and hire out your facilities as much as possible (but obviously not to the detriment of your current bowling and social programme). Target community groups, conferences, seminars, dance classes etc.
At some point encourage the groups that hire your facilities to have a go at playing bowls.
A great way to raise funds and provide a social activity for your members (and local businesses) is to host a special lunch or evening meal with guest speakers and / or auctions.
Your club should put together a calendar of social events for your members include some events that non members (potential members) can attend as well.
Give people who have had a taste of bowls at your club the opportunity to become a member without having to pay the fee right away
Keep your membership categories down to a minimum but have a tiered system that allows new bowlers to be eased in to becoming full members if required.
Auckland Bowls recommends:
- Student membership open to any person in full-time study. There is no affiliation fee to Auckland Bowls and only $5 to Bowls New Zealand.
- Casual / Social Playing member open to people who do not want or have time to commit to being a full member. They can play at your club but only in certain designated events (as identifies by your club) and not centre events. No affiliation fees payable
- Full member
- Associate member
- Life member
- Social member
As has already been stated members are your clubs best promotional tool. Have you considered offering an incentive to members to bring in new members? You could give discounts or vouchers to members who bring in new members for example. With a special prize for the person who signs up the most people over a given timeframe.
Retaining your Members
Once you have new members (and existing members) the trick is to look after them so that they will remain at your club and encourage other people to join as well.
So if you want to keep your members make sure you are doing the following:
Emphasise the facilities and benefits of the club:
- Welcome new members and help them fit into the clubs social structure
- Get to know the members what skills and qualities they bring to the club
- Involve members in the decision making and organisation of events
- Keep membership details up to date use a computer database
- Make sure members contributions are acknowledged
- Have regular social events to bring members together
- Encourage members to bring friends to social events and competitions
- Provide guidelines on behaviour and dress rather than strict rules you want to encourage a happy casual club where people feel comfortable
- Allow bowlers to wear any flat soled shoes and mufti clothing as much as possible and have bowls available for people to use dont give them an excuse for not coming along.
- Run a member of the month to reward those members who contribute to the club in a positive way
- Provide regular communication to members make sure everyone knows whats happening at the club
- Provide coaching opportunities for new members if they want to learn teach them!
- Provide competitions that meet the needs of all bowlers from the traditional bowler to the modern I dont have much time bowler.
- Encourage new and existing bowlers to enter tournaments and join interclub teams.