BY CONNOR STEPHENS
Having the ability to bring everyone together will decide the long term success of your club. A club that doesn’t involve everyone isn't really a club at all.
There are many methods that can be used to keep everybody involved in your club, and make it be a place where all members feel wanted and valued for their contributions.
Below, we will talk about some methods your club can use to keep all members feeling valued, and build a social network that unites everyone.
Without sponsors, community clubs can not operate financially, and without these financial contributions, your club cannot survive. Getting sponsors on board is one thing, but keeping them in the long run and building a solid partnership between the sponsor and your club is what will make both parties successful, and this is done by rewarding your sponsors wherever possible. It can sometimes be alot for a small rural/suburban business to help finance a club, and they need something in return for their sacrifice. Things such as Marketing them on your clubs social media pages is a good place to start, but the ultimate way to reward a Businesses loyalty to your club is to hold a sponsor's day.
A sponsors day is held to recognise the contribution of everybody that helps the club run from a financial standpoint. This is a day where your sponsors can set up a stand and sell their products at your club's match day, along with enjoying the day in the “sponsors area” with free or discounted food and drinks.
Everybody remembers the premierships they played in, and the players/staff they were involved with throughout their triumph. For sportspeople, winning silverware is often the high point of their careers, and being able to come back to the club and share the memories on reunion days with their old teammates and coaches can often bring these people back to the club in other roles post retirement. This also unites the current playing/coaching group with the groups of old, and words of wisdom can be passed onto the next generation in order to help keep the success running within your club.
If no premiership reunions occur in a certain year (reunions are usually done in 5 or 10 year brackets), hold a “past players day”, where any past player of the club is invited to come along and enjoy the match day. These are the people you want coming back to your club to show their support to the current talent coming through your ranks.
Often a clubs biggest annual event, and if marketed and planned properly, can raise your club a lot of money, an annual ball is the one event of the year catered to everyone. There is no specific target audience, and everybody can come along and have a fun night.
If certain past club players and members have not attended match days as much as they would have liked to, this is the one night that many people don't tend to miss unless for extreme circumstances, so when marketing this event, make sure it reaches everyone.
A Black Tie event is a great way to unite everyone, from young to old, and keep people coming to your club even if it is for one night a year. If the ball is a huge success, then it also increases the chances of these people coming back to the club for match days and creating more unification within your club.
These are just some ways to build a social network in your club. The most important thing is making sure everybody feels wanted and valued, as this is the only way people will keep returning to your club for the long term.
Best of luck!