How to Attract and Keep New Members in Your Amateur Sports Club

Keeping your club alive and vibrant relies heavily on your approach to gaining new members. Having played for a number of clubs over the years it’s really interesting to reflect on the different attitudes I have witnessed from committee members.

I have sadly been involved in a club which despite 30 + years of history had to fold due to decreasing numbers – why did this happen? Quite frankly this was due to a head in the sand mentality; we don’t want to bother with a junior section, we certainly don’t want to make it easy for prospective players to find out about us and a website, well that’s a bit techy isn’t it?

On the flip side I have also been involved in clubs where the only concern is whether to register another team in the league due to having so many new members – a great place to be.

If you want to have a profitable and thriving club you have to treat it like a business because members pay fees and that money keeps our clubs alive:

1. Agree your objectives

It is really important that before you blindly start promoting your club you know what it is you are trying to achieve. Some examples of objectives may be:

-To be a premier league team within 5 years
-To start a junior section and have 4 age group categories within next 3 years
-To gain promotion within next 3 years
-To expand from a single sex club to a mixed club by next year
-To increase total number of adult teams by 3 in next 2 years
-To maintain current status

2. Select your target market

Once you have agreed your objectives you are then in a position to decide who it is you should be targeting. So for premier league status you may need to start looking for young, up and coming players and players already playing at that level (for example those coming to the end of their premier league days with the experience you require). Starting a junior section, clearly you will need to target parents, schools and the local community.

3. Understand your competition

Now you know what you want to achieve and who you are going to target you need to understand your competition, basically so you understand what you can offer that other local clubs can’t.

-Look at their website
-Phone up and ask what they offer to your target market (mystery shop), so for example if you are trying to attract 16 to 21 year olds to your club find out what benefits they offer to that age range
-Attend a training session, what sort of welcome did you get, what information did they give you?
-What are there fees, how does that compare to your club?

4. Advertise

OK, so now you know who you want to talk to and what you need to be saying you can start to focus on your advertising strategy

What are your USP’s (unique selling points), basically why should I join your club instead of XYZ club down the road? Make sure you incorporate your USP’s into your advertising.

Do you have a budget to advertise? OK so most likely you have no budget but you must price up the essentials for example you may require leaflets, you definitely need a website, and you might even feel that an advert in the local community magazine is worth a small investment. Agree your budget with the committee and stick to it!

Can you do any reciprocal deals – e.g. allow someone to advertise in your club house or newsletter if they advertise your club in their premises or newsletter?

Where are you going to advertise and what are you going to say? This links back to earlier points in terms of who you are trying to attract. If you want students then a day at freshers fair may be a day well spent.

Word of mouth is one of the strongest forms of advertising, do your members know that you are on the look out for more members, enlist their support in talking to their school friends, university friends, work colleagues etc.

5. Make the sale

Once you have attracted some attention and inquiries are coming in, don’t just wait and hope they commit! Make the sale, make them feel wanted and valued, invite them to training, make sure someone is ready to meet them and to introduce them to others, ensure they get involved and at the end of the session catch up with them and see how they got on. Remember they may be trying out a couple of clubs so make sure they leave yours with the impression of professionalism and friendliness.

6. Retain your members

Once you have your members you need to keep them – if a member leaves then that leaves a gap in your club, both in terms of players and of course a financial gap. So keep your players happy, give them a voice and as a committee listen to your members needs.

Review your objectives, if you wanted to achieve promotion within 3 years then have you achieved this? If not how will you retain those members you recruited for that purpose, they may get frustrated and look to join a club playing in a higher league. You will need to refocus regularly and communicate your new goals to the member base. Include relevant parties, make them know how important they are to you to keep your club on track and maybe refocus them to help in other areas, for example can they help with the club talent pool? Getting them involved in other aspects of the club will help you to keep them motivated and supportive of your club.

To succeed, treat your club as a business, take your committee role seriously and have an understanding of where you are going and how you are going to get there and you will reap the benefits and become a successful and thriving sports club.

How to Start a Dog Training Harrisburg Club

Instead of dealing with the travel and cost of dog training Harrisburg, has it ever occurred to you to start your own dog training club? With just a little work, you can be teaching obedience to every puppy and adult dog in the Harrisburg area and not only get your own dogs trained, but also find a way to connect with fellow dog lovers who enjoy a club setting that revolves around how to train your puppy or dog.

How to Get Started

Getting started with your dog training Harrisburg does not take a lot of experience; it only takes some perseverance. One club leader in Illinois got started with little more than a book about obedience competition rules and a couple of dogs she crudely trained by herself from home. Your club for dog training Harrisburg takes little more than that. Get a set of rules if you intend to compete with the dogs or simply a couple of dog obedience and puppy training books if you don’t. From there, it just takes a little advertising, some word of mouth, and you are on your way.

Improve the Curve

If you want your dog training Harrisburg club to excel fast, you can hire a trainer to run your club’s classes for the first few months. He or she will be able to not only help train the dogs, but also teach you how to continue the training. Once you get started and have some success you will see just how much fun running your own dog training club can be.

Grow Your Club

Once you have a stable membership base in your dog training Harrisburg club, you may find that it plateaus a bit. If that happens, start entering your dogs in competitions. Obedience and agility competitions can be a great advertiser for your club. You can even run your own competitions to draw on trainers and dog lovers from surrounding areas. Before you know it, your club will have a solid membership base and a reputation to go with it.

Whether you want to train a puppy or an adult dog, it can be time consuming and expensive to find a school to take your dog to. One alternative is to start your own dog training Harrisburg club so that you can train your companion from home. Additionally, you will be able to grow in obedience training with others who enjoy their canine companions as much as you do.

Where Can Adults With Autism or Asperger’s Find Friends?

OK, we all know that adults with autism or Asperger’s syndrome have trouble making friends – and if you are an adult with Asperger’s, this is probably sounding pretty familiar by now! But let’s now talk about ways to solve all of the problems of building friendships.

Yes, it is hard to make friends if you are an adult with Asperger’s syndrome. Yes, it’s lonely. But there ARE things that can help. There are organizations that can help; and tools and strategies that can help. Let’s talk about some of them.

Local Asperger’s Support Groups

The first line of defense, so to speak, for adults wanting to make friends should be Asperger’s groups and organizations dedicated to such things. This is because Aspies will tend to get along better with other Aspies as a general rule. It is wonderful to meet other people who think the same way you do, act the same way you do, talk the same way, and just generally understand you. Now, there is diversity in the Aspie population just like in the rest of the world. You won’t automatically get along with every Aspie in the world, but you do have a much, much better chance. You can find someone who shares your interests, someone who wants to “be” and interact in the same way that you want to.

Many of these organizations run support groups for adults with Asperger’s; some can put you in touch with others with Asperger’s syndrome.

Find a Group in Your City

Many cities have their own Asperger’s groups and meet­ings. These are definitely worth finding. Washington, DC, for example has a very large group called “Asperger Adults of Greater Washington,” or AAGW. It has almost forty people come to meetings every month. Most groups are not nearly that big. They meet in one corner of a tea cafe once a month. At the beginning, they have social time for their members to talk with each other-then they sometimes have a speaker or a discussion topic, and more free form social time at the end.

Every group for Aspies is run differently. Some focus on just free time for conversation, some are all speakers, some discussion based, some are more therapy oriented. Some only have as few as 4 members; others, like AAGW, could have as many as forty.

The wonderful thing about these groups is people are usu­ally very nonjudgmental. You can feel safe there, safe to be yourself. If you fidget a lot and can’t look anyone in the eyes, no one will care. If you talk about trains all day, they will understand. If you have too much anxiety to talk but just want to sit and listen, they will be glad to have you there. Whatever your level of functioning and way of being in the world, at an Aspie group you will be greeted sincerely. Most people are very friendly, although of course it depends on the person and group; and you will feel welcome. You will recognize yourself in others. You will feel less alone.

The OASIS website maintains a great list of local support groups in all fifty states. A lot of these are for parents but there are some for adults with Asperger’s syndrome too.

Also, try using Google to find local groups, or email a national Asperger’s email group to ask if anyone there knows of local groups (Examples are groups, ASAN at, Autistic Daily living Yahoo group, etc.)

National Asperger’s Advocacy Groups

In addition to all the local groups, there are a few national or regional Asperger’s organizations that run support groups for adults with Asperger’s. These are all very useful groups to know about.

GRASP, or the Global and Regional Autistic Self Advocacy Network, runs support groups for adults in several dif­ferent states but focuses on the New York City region. Their current list of support groups include locations in California, Colorado, Iowa, Illinois, Michigan, New Mexico, Pennsylvania, Virginia, New York and more. There are several based in the New York City area.

ASAN, or the Autistic Self Advocacy Network, runs groups in several different states as well. These are run by people on the autism spectrum and are often focused more on political issues (such as advocating for rights for people on the spectrum, and how to work to reduce the number of negative messages about people with autism in the media, how to educate people about autism spectrum disorders, etc.).

ASAN’s website talks more about the goals of the organization. It was started by two young men in their 20s, both with Asperger’s. One was just starting college, one in grad school; both with a vision to create an organization for people with autism spectrum disorders; An organization run by people who had the same disorder in order to create a welcoming place of support and also to create an organization that would fight for the rights of people on the spectrum.

A third organization is the Asperger’s Association of New England, or AANE. They provide support groups in most of the six New England states. They are based in Boston, and have several groups in that area. They have social ac­tivity groups, where members go to various places together (bowling, out to dinner, to see a lecture), as well as support groups and social skills groups. A full listing of groups can be found at

A great website to find support organizations and support groups which lists groups broken down by U.S. state is:

The listing of support organizations here is extensive. While these listings are not necessarily all oriented for adults, with a little work, you can likely find a support group that will meet your needs.

How Else Can Adults with Asperger’s Find Friends?

It’s useful to meet other adults with Asperger’s, but sometimes you just want to be able to make friends with the people around you. How can you accomplish that? How can you develop more friendships in your life?

Work on your social skills

One option is always to get counseling to help work on your social skills. A good counselor can tell you where you’re going wrong and work with you to help change the weak areas. They can identify those areas in which you need help, and model proper social skills. They can role model with you what to do and say in social situations. By working with a skilled therapist, you can be more aware of the way you come across, and gain more friends with your new, improved skills.

Seek out people you are compatible with!

But you still need a place to meet the right people. All the social skills in the world aren’t going to help you get along with just anyone. People have very different personalities, interests, and communication styles. You need to meet people who are compatible with you.

But how do I do that, you ask? Well, look around you. Decide what you have an interest in. If you like to read, join a book club. In the process of discussing the Great Gatsby, you just might stumble upon a kindred soul. Like to swim? Join a swimming club. Many Aspies make friends much better when they are DOING something with a person instead of just talking to them. They need something constructive to do while being with a person; that way the focus is on the activity instead of the conversation.

If you like history and World War II, join a historical preservation group. Maybe you can get involved in Civil War reenactments.

If you’re into sports at all, join a sports club; non-competitive sports are probably more likely to spur friendships than competitive, but you never know. If you like to sing, join a choir. If you like to write, find a writing group. The list is endless. The important thing is to match your skills and interests to a group of like-minded people. You might still have social skill issues, but you’ll have a common interest with these people and be much more likely to develop friendships. Just be patient and know that developing friendships takes time; it doesn’t happen overnight. Go slow and try not to rush things. Trying to rush into things will put pressure on the other person and make them much more likely to end the burgeoning friendship prematurely. It is hard to wait, yes, but worth it in the end.

Eight Places to Find Potential Friends

1. Intellectual interest groups

Book clubs, political discussion groups, moral and ethical discussion groups such as Socrates Cafe, MENSA are all good places to look.

2. Athletic Pursuits

Look into local groups for soccer, basketball, swimming, or any sport that you have an interest in.

3. Creative Activities

Arts and crafts, photography, painting, writing, and other creative arts; people meet to share work, discuss technique, or engage in said art during group time with others.

4. Religious Organizations

Churches and synagogues can be great places to meet others. Often they hold their own discussion groups, choirs and activities.

5. University Groups

If you have a college or university near you, they may hold special interest groups that are open to the public that you could join.

6. Science and Technology

Do you like computers? Science fiction? Medicine? Find like-minded people in a group dedicated to these topics.

7. Your Workplace

Sometimes you can find like-minded people in your workplace, or at least people to go out to a baseball game with. A lot of times this doesn’t happen, but it can occasionally.

8. Activity Groups

People might meet to play board games, chess, Scrabble, go hiking, or do any manner of activity together.

While it may be difficult for an adult with autism or Asperger’s syndrome to easily make friends, it is possible with a little thought and energy.