Whoa, 2017 is almost over? I haven't even seen the new Emoji Movie yet!
Keeping up with everything from new equipment standards, injury and certification regulations, and sports nutrition tips can be difficult. Making sure your board and coaches are on top of all of the changes can help keep your organization growing year after year.
We've got four quick and easy tips to make sure your sports organization has it's biggest year in 2018.
1. Collect end of year feedback from Parents
Online surveys are easy to set up, and it is a quick way for parents and coaches to provide some solid feedback for improvements for 2018. It's tough volunteering to run a sports organization, but remember it can be challenging to be a parent with several kids playing different sports. Make sure that parents and participants know you value their feedback.
It's a win-win: parents and coaches feel like they're being heard, and they can provide valuable suggestions to help improve registration, scheduling, and communication for 2018. Sure, there might be a grumpy parent or two that has a bad day at work and then takes it out on you, but it will be worth it to get some quality feedback from other parents that just want to help.
When parents know their opinions are heard they'll be much more likely to recommend your organization to other families in the community or to volunteer to help next season.
2. Own a social media channel
Social Media is overwhelming. There are so many different channels - how can your sports organization possibly keep up? Bill Belichick sure can't.
You can't either - but you can focus on one channel that a lot of parents are using. Don't overwhelm your board by trying to manage a variety of different accounts. You'll just wind up with a few poorly maintained accounts that don't provide much value for parents and participants. Instead, pick just one of the "Big 3" of Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram and own it. Post a few times a week to that channel and you'll start to get a good following.
PRO TIP #1: Find one tech savvy volunteer to manage the Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram account for you. It just takes a few minutes per week to make a post or two, and answer any questions from parents and community members. But make sure it's just one person that is the primary social media manager. If you have more than one person responsible, generally no one will take the bull by the horns.
3. Allow (Encourage!) Online Registration & Payments
"Remember to come to in-person registration on Saturday!" is not a message that any parent wants to see during the week. They're busy, and spending an hour or two of their Saturday driving and filling out paperwork is not ideal.
There's no better way to slow down registration progress than to force parents to register and pay in person. In 2018, parents demand the ability to be able to register and pay any time from anywhere.
Most parents also prefer to pay with credit card or debit card instead of cash and check because of security, credit card rewards, and convenience. When parents have to drive to pay in person and fill out paperwork, the likelihood of them registering goes down.
Like it or not, Amazon and other online retailers have set the expectaction for parents that everything can be done with a few clicks from their phone. Make sure your sports organization is offering those same convenient options for parents. It's not as tough as you think!
4. Offer "new & exciting" opportunities for Sponsors to get involved
Nothing says "community" like youth sports. Businesses and non-profits in your town want to help your organization, you just need to give them the right opportunities. We wrote a post for the beginning of 2017 with some creative ideas from sponsored texts and emails, to recognizing your biggest sponsors on your website.
Make sure you have "new & exciting" options for your community to get involved in 2018. People love when new opportunities are available, and increasing the amount of local sponsors involved with your organization can help you invest in your facilities, purchase new equipment, and ultimately attract more participants.
PRO TIP #2: Enlisting one volunteer to take charge of sponsorship and community development can be another great step. Just like social media, when more than one volunteer is responsible, the task will often slip through the cracks.
What other ideas do you have heading into 2018? Send us a message at firstname.lastname@example.org or post a comment below!