Are you customer-orientated when dealing with your sponsors and community partners?
Yes, the credit crunch is having a serious impact on many sports clubs, but it is also exposing some clubs which for far too long have taken for granted that ‘someone/somewhere’ would make sure that they would attract enough funding to ensure their club’s (often unrealistic) ambitions could be fulfilled.
At the same time we are also seeing clubs that have a much more outward-looking approach to working with external stakeholders and this led to draw this list of three types of clubs:
Completely club-focused: Here the prevailing attitude is “We have a good club: people ought to support us”. The club makes little, or no effort, to engage with its community, but at the same time they expect the community to support them. They moan to the Council, governing body or whoever that they should be given some money. I call these clubs “GUMWAL” clubs (Give Us Money, We Are Lazy).
Sales orientation: Here the prevailing attitude is “Now it is so tough out there, we’d better get somebody who can SELL”. So they a get a couple of volunteers who are semi-retired sales people or they may even get commission-only sales person to go out there and ‘get some business’. Nothing changes within the club because these new people are not there to improve the organisation, just to sell. They may attract some new revenue, but it is rarely sustainable.
Customer focused: The challenge for these clubs is to understand the needs and wants of their target sponsors and community partners. They do spend time and effort to understand their community and work hard to inform and engage with and as a result are able to develop programmes which attract partners and funding.