Being mindful of your ‘capacity for growth’
Increasing participant or member numbers typically requires that you have enough coaches and managers to cater for the increase in demand. Understand that a ‘waiting list’ of names is not a legacy – it is actually a failure to cater for the increase in demand. From another angle, there is no point taking on another 100 members this season, if it burns the committee out and none of the volunteers or coaches want to come back the following year, and we know this is the reality of growth in community sport.
- Has your club/committee discussed what is realistic to expect around Games-time? What would be an ideal scenario? What would you need in place to achieve that? What adjustments do you need to make so this growth is sustainable?
Creating a festival effect
Many people will be fortunate enough to have tickets to attend events, and others will be part of the volunteer effort. But remember, not everyone will have an opportunity to be engaged first hand in the event. Think about ways your club might celebrate the Games by hosting local activities in your community which will add to the profile of your club and be memorable for years to come.
- Does your club have a special connection to the Gold Coast 2018 Commonwealth Games (GC2018), like a competing athlete, coach or official who has been connected to your club? Perhaps you could talk to your local newspaper about running a story on the club’s connection, or even profile this on your website and in your social media.
However, while exploring opportunities to enhance your club’s profile, it is crucial to keep brand protection guidelines to the forefront of your plans as will be outlined in the following section.
Protecting the GC2018 brand (and keeping your sport club out of trouble!)
While we encourage all community sport clubs to make an effort to capitalise on the opportunities presented by GC2018, it is important these types of activities are done in line with GC2018’s brand protection guidelines. Before you go sticking logos on your websites and using the name GC2018 in your event names, be sure to check the permitted use of all things to do with GC2018. We have included some useful links below:
- GC2018 webpage: https://www.gc2018.com/brand-usage
- GC2018 Brand Protection Guide: https://www.gc2018.com/sites/default/files/Brand-Protection-Guide.pdf
Making the most of it when your sport is not featured in GC2018
Even if your sport isn’t featured in the Gold Coast 2018 Commonwealth Games (GC2018), you can still implement initiatives to leverage the ‘festival of sport’ and make sure people are aware of what you have on offer and how they can get involved. People may look for new ways to get active, think about how you can fill this need.
- Why should someone want to take up your sport? What are the benefits of your sport? What are the things that are unique to your sport that they are not going to experience anywhere else? Apart from this, there is nothing to stop you from implementing any of the ideas above, within the context of your community sport club – get creative!
Transforming Inspiration to Participation
During the Games, it is likely that people will watch more sport, either live or on TV. While not everyone will jump from their seat and want to take up sport, some might just be inspired and want to try something new, or rekindle their past passion for sport. However, there is a big gap between being inspired and taking action to do something about it. So take time to think about what you can do as a club to increase the chances of someone finding out about what you have to offer, and then providing such an appealing offer your new recruits don’t hesitate to sign up.
- How will people find out about your club? Can they find you online? Is your website content up-to-date? Is your website inviting to an ‘outsider’ who has never tried your sport before? Is the contact and critical information easy to find? For example: Who to email or call? Where and when do you train and/or compete? Who do you cater for? How much does it cost? Are there special trial days or programs? What equipment do people need to participate? Do you have flexible offerings?
- Are there ways to raise the profile of your club in your broader community? Could you host a couple of community ‘try-out’ days. It doesn’t have to be at the club, borrow City Of Gold Coast’s idea of going to the local supermarket for activations. Where and what could you do for people to engage with your sport? Do you have capacity to run these additional activities? Could you organise a local media opportunity to advertise participation and volunteer opportunities in your sport and tell people how they can get involved?
Come April, people will have a sense of excitement and goodwill, and are more likely to want to connect with their communities – not only as sport participants. Maybe someone wants to rekindle their coaching or officiating, maybe someone wants to volunteer for the first time.
- What roles or types of opportunities are available? Do you promote these through your website or social media? Do you have plan for how to respond to and capitalise on different types of interest? Do you have all the volunteer checks in place with new compliance measures for working with children? Is your club open and welcoming of bringing someone in from outside of your local sport club?
Communicating that you are ‘open for business’ around Games-time
With the Gold Coast 2018 Commonwealth Games in April, most winter seasons will have commenced and most summer seasons won’t commence for several months. Remember, ‘inspiration’ doesn’t last forever, if your summer season is over, or your winter season has already started and you don’t accept late comers, it will be very difficult to benefit from the momentum of the Games.
- Who is responsible for responding to enquiries? You need to reply to expressions of interest within a reasonable time and have some options ready. Is there a mailing list that can include reminders about upcoming sign-on days? Is it the same for participants as for coaches, officials and volunteers? How are you going to deal with ‘out of season’ enquiries? Is there a method for dealing with this? If not, implement a policy or process now to deal with fresh enquiries out of season.
- When can newcomers get involved? Have you considered scheduling some additional come-try days, or a mini-season if there is enough interest to hook people in while they are interested in joining up to your sport?
Major sport events present unique and valuable opportunities to market and raise awareness of sport. However, to realise legacies we need to do some leg-work. We have outlined some simple strategies here to work with what you already have and focus in on some of the key development opportunities around the Commonwealth Games. You may, or may not, see direct participation increases from GC2018, but, importantly, by working through some of the suggestions above and thinking about how accessible and welcoming your club is of new or returning members your club will be stronger in the long run. As with all development process, a good legacy is a marathon, not a sprint.
Dr Alana Thomson, Postdoctoral Research Fellow, Griffith Business School, a.thomson[email protected]
Dr Millicent Kennelly, Senior Lecturer, Griffith Business School, [email protected]