From Membership Secretary to Club Grower

The seven Rs which will help grow your club – introducing 7xR

Rejuvenate, Recruitment, Retention, Renewals, Resources, Research, Revenue

The days of the old-fashioned Membership Secretary surely must be over. No more sending out envelopes with the annual renewal forms asking members to, once again, write down all their contact details (same as last year’s). Then they have to write a cheque (now where is that cheque book?), find an envelope and either send the envelope off (having found a stamp!) or remember to bring it along next time they go down to your club. Lots of opportunities for your members to change their minds about renewing their membership or simply forgetting.

No thank yous, no incentives, no direct debits, no ‘bring a friend’ offers, no membership categories adapted to how people live their lives or offers of more informal ways of enjoying sport without being tied down to a year-long membership.

No wonder so many clubs are reporting declining memberships – it’s time for a change. This does not only apply to sports clubs – too many community groups and leisure centres also operate in this archaic way.

This is not rocket science – it’s simply about opening your mind to ‘what’s happening out there’ and becoming focused on your customers and their needs. Then apply some simple techniques, introduce easy-to-use technology and then see your club grow the number of members and users.

Trust me, that’s how the AA, professional magazines or wine/book clubs do it – it’s time your club was brought into the 21st century in terms of how you attract and retain members and other users to your club.

The key is to start somewhere. Don’t procrastinate. Start the ‘movement’ now with the first smart step. Learn from the outcome. Adapt if necessary and then go on to the next smart step.

It’s called: Act. Learn. Build. Repeat.

To help you on the way towards growing your club in a modern way in an ever-changing and demanding world, SMN has developed the notion of the Club Grower and the seven Rs which can be used as tools to ensure that you have covered at least the key areas.

The key areas of the seven Rs are listed below and over the following seven weeks we will be publishing an e-newsletter each week, covering the brief specifics for each R.

We also run workshops on How to Grow Your Club Membership and will also soon be publishing a guide on How to Grow Your Club Membership.

Introducing Club Growers and their seven Rs 7xR

Your club should abandon the old Membership Secretary function and introduce the new role called Club Grower. This is a person (or it could indeed be a group of people), whose responsibility it is to, yes, grow the number of members of your club. For volunteer-based clubs there is indeed a lot to say for having a number of Club Growers, perhaps with each being responsible for one of the seven roles, listed below.

This is a never-ending journey. There will always be changes in society and your local community which require you to adapt and innovate. My advice to you is to regard these influences as positive opportunities to improve and develop what you are offering members and other people who come into contact with your club.

So, as Steve Jobs, the late Apple co-founder, said “Enjoy the journey.”

These seven Rs are:
1. Rejuvenate – new culture, thinking and behaviour, keep the fire burning, fight complacency
2. Recruitment – removing barriers, an image as a welcoming and friendly club, visible in the community, creating ‘advocates’, offering informal sports opportunities
3. Retention – providing great experiences for all, listening and acting, a place where people live their lives, ongoing communications
4. Renewals – Smooth renewal and payment process, , incentives, data cleanse, renewal selling – reminder emails and texts, promotions
5. Resources – Membership software, direct debit and card payment options,
6. Research – research into attitudes and opinions of potential, current and lapsed members , having conversations with as many people as possible
7. Revenue – dynamic social pricing, secondary spend, serving pricing for life membership to informal sports users

This is the start. Comments and feedback are always welcome – life is work in progress.

How to Rejuvenate your culture and thinking on how to grow your membership follows next week. Good luck.

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