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Ian’s Sponsorship Series: First impressions count. Second impressions engage.

Ian’s Sponsorship Series: First impressions count. Second impressions engage.


How often do you search for more information about an organisation on the internet and end up feeling underwhelmed?

Does this apply to your club? If you answered ‘yes’, how can you ramp up the excitement for potential sponsors and members and motivate them to become a part of your association/club? How do you interest them enough for them to email, phone call or direct message your club?

Here are some branding and communication techniques you can apply to get the attention your club deserves.

What is your club brand?

Definition of ‘branding’: Branding is a way of identifying your club, i.e. how your members recognise and experience your club. A strong brand is more than just a logo; it’s reflected in everything from your customer service style, staff uniforms, business cards and premises to your marketing materials and advertising.

What makes your club your club?

List the good traits of your club. For example:

  • Amazing and supportive members
  • State of the art facilities
  • Large member numbers
  • An exclusive club with a waiting list
  • A healthy revenue turnover
  • Best food in town
  • Stunning views
  • Great facilities for events
  • Professional staff
  • High profile members
  • A safe environment for members
  • Family-friendly
  • Pet-friendly

Once you have written your list, have a look at your communication channels and review their current status to see if your club is portrayed accordingly.

How do you get your message/information across to your members?

This could be through social media, your website, hard copy newsletters, phone calls, events, e-newsletters, letters, posters, emails, bulletin boards, menus, internal forums, or group chat applications (WhatsApp, Facebook Messenger, etc.). The list goes on!

And how do you track their responsiveness towards your communication channels?

When it comes to e-newsletters, MailChimp is an invaluable platform. Once an email is sent out to your members, you can see the open rate, how many clicks each link received, and how many people have subscribed and unsubscribed. On Facebook Messenger, you can see how many members have seen your response. With phone calls, you can track how many members called in regards to the promo on a letter, menu, shopping dockets, etc. With events, you should track any upticks in attendances and return attendees. Basically, you should be on top of your communication engagement Key Performance Indicators.

How can you build upon the momentum?

Keep the good news flowing. You should definitely send at least one e-newsletter a month to your members and stakeholders. At Clubs WA, we send our e-newsletter every Thursday at 4pm, as it is best suited to our members. Some ideas for content are:

  • Recaps on past events with photos
  • Promotion of future events
  • Promotion of good club news or member good news
  • Member/volunteer profiles
  • Asking for assistance
  • Calls for expression of interest

I would also recommend focusing on one social medium platform first and doing that well, rather than managing multitudes of platforms and feeling overwhelmed. Consistent posts are the key to engaging with members.

You may realise after the first few months of consistently using your social media that life has gotten busy and you have forgotten to maintain your social media platforms for a few months. To ensure this doesn’t happen, create a Social Media Calendar and add in club events, members’ birthdays, and relevant dates such as R U OK? Day, Mental Health Week, Volunteer/Friendship Day, etc. Once that is done, get someone to help you. From the social media calendar, your assistant has some ideas what to post on your behalf, as you can’t do everything yourself.

Which social media platforms should you start with?

Personally, I would start with Facebook as it has the capability to schedule posts, just in case you have a busy month ahead and you forget to maintain your page. However, be aware that the more you post on Facebook, the less your posts will be seen and the reach will decrease. This is because Facebook is moving towards paying for advertising and therefore forcing business/community Facebook Pages to pay for greater reach. This is how Facebook makes their money.

Once you have Facebook figured out, work on your Instagram account. Although you cannot schedule Instagram posts, it’s important to know that Facebook owns Instagram. This means that when you schedule a Facebook post, you can automate it to post on Instagram too, killing two birds with one stone!

LinkedIn can be the next platform to implement. As it is a professional social media platform, be mindful of the content you post and make sure you get someone else’s approval before hitting the ‘post’ button. This where your potential sponsors and partners are sourcing the appropriate person from the club to contact for business opportunities.

My final tips

Don’t forget to support your sponsors, stakeholders and members by FOLLOWING their social media accounts and LIKING and SHARING their posts. Remember to maintain your website (if you have one). Ideally, you should train more than one person to update your website. For a successful website, make use of free software such as Google Analytics and Google Webmaster Tool. After all, knowledge is power! The more data you can gain from your members and potential sponsors, the closer you are to engaging and building a sustainable relationship with them.

For next time: We’re not done yet! This is just the tip of the iceberg. You need a KILLER PROPOSAL. Read more tips in the next Service Bulletin.