In a community sports club, developing the membership is important for a variety of reasons. Of course, the fees paid by members are a vital source of income, but the membership also provides the club with a wider network of people who may be willing to assist the club through volunteering.
Whatever method of engagement is used to recruit members, it is important to develop a clear brand and have consistent messaging.
Having recruited members, the next challenge is retaining them. Key to this is making people feel valued by providing opportunities to engage with the club. By listening to feedback you can ensure that you are providing members with what they want.
Membership Development Top Tips
• Develop a strategy for engaging with potential members.
• Value members, listen to their views and respond to feedback.
• Provide opportunities to engage with members.
• Develop your own style and particular ways of attracting and retaining members.
• Be transparent and communicate regularly.
• Provide benefits for membership.
Tools To Help You Manage Your Membership
We have recently been delighted to enter a ‘preferred partner’ relationship with an online membership management system (MCH). Recently, whilst working with a client with a large membership (a charitable football club), we became aware of and familiar with MCH, a Scottish based company which through using, allowed us to get a better handle on who our client’s membership actually were, who was actually paying their membership and who had enabled the client to claim gift aid.
Furthermore, MCH automatically claimed gift aid monthly on behalf of the client (reducing a huge amount of work, time and effort), gave the club a professional and easy to manage and update website, gave the club means of interacting with their members via a free to use app (reducing costs for SMS services), provided the ability to track income and expenses for accounting purposes and also enabled fundraising tools through both events, such as race nights, and potential earnings through financial products.
We have since used MCH with a number of additional clients, along with a club I’m involved with in a personal capacity (Glagsow on the Ball), to help us stay on top of administration and communication. We have found the automation and professionalization of payment and membership management incredibly beneficial along with the website and member login very easy to use.
The MCH website provided as part of the package.
While there is a monthly cost involved with using MCH, it more than pays for itself through automating payments so you don’t have to worry about people forgetting cash, or not realising a standing order has been canceled. Furthermore, the costs saved through hosting a website, using an SMS system or something similar to communicate with members and tools such as income/expenditure tracking hugely outweigh the reasonable fees involved (fees are dependent upon the number of members you have). Finally, the time saved is huge and (in my opinion) worth the cost alone. For example, compiling the necessary information to submit gift aid claims is automated via the system and talks directly to HMRC on your club’s behalf.
To get the most benefit from the system, it helps if your club is a registered charity in order to receive automated gift aid claims. If you’re not currently a charity but are considering it, please do speak to us about how we can assist. If you’re at all interested in finding out more about MCH, please get in touch so we can best advise you.
Andrew Jenkin ()
Head of Club Development Scotland