Football is played for fun by millions across England every week and is reliant on volunteers to deal with club administration.
It may be a daunting thought to think about methods to expand and grow your club, but there is lots of help available.
Guernsey FA are delighted to be able to bring you a few hints and tips which will hopefully will give you some useful guidance when looking to attract new players, volunteers and investment to your club.
Thousands of people play football in some format every week in Guernsey and this popularity provides local Clubs with opportunities to grow, evolve and prosper.
The following are some examples of ways in which Clubs can work towards achieving growth:
Developing a Distinct Identity
It is important for clubs to think about their identity, as the basic offering of 90 minutes of football every week is unlikely, by itself, to form the basis of a growth strategy. Given the competition for our leisure time, clubs need to develop and trade on their differences. What makes your club unique?
What is it about the experience at your ground that makes it so special? Identity creates belonging and that sense of belonging is what is needed to drive sustainable growth. Don’t be afraid to be different.
Building an Effective Team of Volunteers
The majority of clubs are run on a day-to-day basis by volunteers and any significant extra commitment immediately has an impact on resources. Volunteers are not easy to find and often more difficult to retain, so developing the right strategy is a key factor in supporting sustainable growth.
However, there is a clear correlation between clubs with proactive, well-thought-out volunteer recruitment strategies and sustainable growth. Clubs also have a distinct opportunity in that they offer an environment in which people interested in a career in sports can gain useful education and experience. This is particularly the case in the growing academic area of sports marketing and administration, where students at all stages of their education are looking for opportunities to give up their time in exchange for valuable learning opportunities.
If you can make your volunteers feel valued, wanted and important and, if possible, can include them as part of the decision-making process, they will feel part of the club.
Talk to Club Members
Engaging and consulting with Members will enable a Club to understand what matters to them and involve them in decisions that affect them. Clubs that are transparent, invite scrutiny and increasingly reflect the communities in which they operate are those that will benefit from growth.
It is important to make decisions based on shared values and beliefs as this will unite a Club with its Members. We believe that if Clubs are to grow sustainably, they need to consider applying the following principles:
The Club leadership team increasingly reflects the community around the club and the experience required to engage with it.
- Ensure processes are in place to promote dialogue with Members and local stakeholders
- Encourage feedback and act on the findings, often in partnership with Members
- Communicate improvements that have made to Members and the wider community
Strengthen the Community Presence
Without an effective approach to strengthening your presence in the local community, Clubs won’t get the opportunity to engage new people with the quality of the experience they offer. Clubs who best reflect their local community in terms of the make-up of management team, their outlook and focus, are those who are having the most success at increasing and retaining their Members.
Promoting Fixtures and Events
Communication is vital in the busy modern lifestyle and this applies to the way in which Club fixtures and events are promoted to Members and the wider local community. The use of cost efficient social media platforms, affords Club the ability to communicate effectively, monitor posts, tweets and conversations and to identify improvement opportunities, whilst keeping Members informed of fixtures and events.