How To Increase Club Membership With One Easy Step

Having been to lots of rugby clubs in both UK and Europe, I have found that some clubs are more welcoming and have a better atmosphere than others. What are the ingredients for having a welcoming and friendly club? I will be looking into how you can make a simple change to increase playing, social members and sponsors.

During training nights a number of new players can turn up. This is a critical time for these new players because if they don’t get the right vibe then these players may not come back and some other club will have their services. Therefore it is important that their first impression of your club is a good one. All new players should be greeted and welcomed to the club the moment they arrive. This is not just the job of the club captain or coaches as they may not be around at the time. It is the duty of ALL players and all officials around at the time. Introduce them to the other players prior to commencement of training and then after training have a brief chat with them to ensure they enjoyed themselves and find out a little bit about them and their aspirations, regardless of there ability to pay in the first team.

This is just common sense, I hear you say, however I am surprised the number of players that have ended up at my club having previously trained with another local club, stating a negative experience at training, for example no one spoke to them. They were not made to feel welcome or just did not like the vibe. Any decent rugby club would have retained these players if they had just been more welcoming at training and it should not matter if they are first team potential or whether they are beginners as these guys will go on to be paid up members of the club if treated well. More members are better for the success of all teams and for the clubs coffers.

I visit lots of different rugby clubs around the country, when I am not at my local rugby club on a Saturday. This may be to visit family in another part of the country or on holiday somewhere. I will always pop down the local rugby club and have a couple of beers and watch a game of rugby, much to my wife’s annoyance. I was impressed with a particular club in the Midlands that I recently visited.

What did they do right? I was greeted first as I walked into the bar area by a man in a suit, who later turned out to be the chairman, we shook hands and he welcomed me and mentioned that he had not seen me down there before and I had a brief chat with him about the weather and the likelihood of a win for the home side and I made my way to the bar. Please bear in mind this was a match day there were lots of people about and I could have easily have gone in there and no one spoke to me all day as what has happened on a number of visits to other clubs. The chap behind the bar was very friendly too asking me if I was from the opposition and whether I was new to the area. I explained to him I am visiting the wife’s family and just popped out to watch a game. He called me a top man, always nice to know.

Again after the game I had a beer before I headed back to face the in-laws. During the course of the day the Chairman introduced me to a number of people I honestly felt at home here like I was talking to old friends. I walked away feeling I had made some good friends and most of all a very positive opinion of the club and if I had lived nearby they would definitely had me as a member. As I visit my in-laws from time to time, I have visited a number of clubs in that area and some are not as friendly as this particular club needless to say, I will be going back next time I am in the area, at least they have gained a supporter who knows may take my boots along and get a game with there vets team.

You should always be on the look out for new faces on match days and training and say hello to everyone and at least acknowledge them as I understand it can be a busy. The next new face you see down your club could well be a potential player, member or even a sponsor. Lots of potential players turn up on match days just to check out the vibe of the place and see if it’s a club they would like to play for, it’s important not to let these people leave with a negative view of your club and its important to get them onboard.

ALL club members are ambassadors of the club. There is no passing the buck and saying it’s not your job, it is your job it’s the job of all club members. It is very obvious and a simple concept but it seems some clubs just aren’t good at it and are losing potential players and members. So lets be more welcoming, lets get more players, supporters and sponsors into your rugby club and lets keep them, its as simple as saying “Hello” and a smile and if someone looks lost help them out, unless you are a club close to mine, then keep it up please, we like the steady flow of players from your clubs.

On the whole rugby clubs are in fact very friendly and unique places however unknowingly you can become so caught up in what you are doing and sometimes can overlook this very simple thing. I would welcome comments on this subject and if you have experienced unfriendly clubs let me know what made them unfriendly and why you never stuck around (please don’t name these clubs). If you are a club member then I would like to hear what you do to make your club more welcoming for potential players and members.