Effective marketing, communication and promotion can play a major role in helping community sports clubs grow and prosper.
The good news is there are lots of ways to help you raise your profile.
It is always better to plan what you’re doing and maximise your time and resources rather than spread yourself too thinly and not have as much impact.
A good idea is for you and your volunteers to write a marketing plan that you can agree and follow together. It doesn’t need to be a difficult process or a huge document. In fact, it can be as detailed as you like but you should have some standard elements that will help you focus you energies.
Let’s start with your introduction. This is a general look at the current situation of your club and the issues or challenges that you want to address.
You could do a SWOT analysis and list your Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats. It could be useful as a brainstorming sessions with your volunteers or members.
Next up are the objectives. You will need to come up with some objectives that everyone can buy-in to and be confident to work towards. These should be realistic and timed and you should be able to measure if you’ve been successful. Is it to attract 10 new members by next year? Is it to raise £500 additional funding by April?
Objectives should be:
Who are you trying to reach?
You might need to communicate to different groups.
They might include:
- Club members and volunteers
- Parents and carers
- Representatives from the local authority or governing body
- Local schools
- Local businesses
- Other community organisations or partners
Think about which method of communication is best suited to reach each audience. For example, if you’re trying to get businesses to sponsor you then there could be forums or meetings that business leaders attend.
Accessible communication formats (also known as alternative formats) refer to the use of audio, braille, British sign language, large print and many other formats designed for people with disabilities or impairments.
It’s a good idea to involve disabled people from your audience in developing information in accessible formats. They will know their needs and could help you find the most effective ways of meeting them. You can also approach disability organisations for guidance. For more help on this and the use of images, please have a look at Disability Sport Wales guidance (alternative format guidance).
In very general terms, your strategy should be the general direction in which you are taking your club.
- Increase your members or players
- Ask for help and support from the community
- Promote a big event or a fixture (regardless of whether or not it costs anything to attend)
- Generate income from inside your club
- Raise funds for your club to help with a major project
- Gain sponsorship or commercial backing
You will need to set out specific actions including tasks allocated to individuals as well as budgets, if any. Always try and set a timescale for these so that work doesn’t slip.
Also think through how you will check that work is staying on track.
What worked well? And what didn’t? You will need to factor in how you evaluate your work and how you decide on your next steps.
If you’ve been trying to recruit members, for example, you can find out whether your methods are working by asking new faces how they heard about you.
Activity Alliance have developed a downloadable Inclusive Communications Guide to help sport providers like yourselves to reach a wider audience, including more disabled people.