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Sustainable Membership Growth: Insights with Perth Racing

Sustainable Membership Growth: Insights with Perth Racing

By Nicole Chiam

The way organisations, associations and clubs communicate with their customers, employees or members is no longer just a one-way street. It is a conversation like any other conversation we have with one another. The relationship is not transactional but rather collaborative and engaging. People want to be part of a dynamic, engaging and innovative community. Generational changes to our community also mean that we need to adapt to ensure organisations are relevant to the younger generation (e.g. millennials, Generation Z and Generation Alpha).

Similarly, developments in the broader external environment may have an impact on an organisation; for example, climate change, the economic downturn or industry factors. Recent scrutiny and animal welfare matters in recent years has the potential to impact audience perceptions, as evident from social media and attendances. Whilst many things may be out of an organisation’s control and the responsibility of other parties (e.g. racing authorities), organisations can still do their bit to ensure that positive messages about their brand are reinforced and member experiences are highly valued.

Belinda Moore is a leading membership specialist in the Australasian region who is known for assisting many not-for-profit organisations with their challenges. As expressed in her 2018 edition of The Membership Manager’s Handbook (available online), “if an organisation is to thrive into the future, it needs to connect people in ways that will provide them with meaningful, positive outcomes. The organisation needs to be the instigator of meaningful conversations rather than simply a provider of information.”

All membership-based associations strive to encourage members to be highly engaged. They are the lifeblood of any organisation or club. Members who value their membership and the organisation are more likely to be its strongest advocates.

In this article, we explore some of Moore’s key elements of sustainable membership and seek some practical insights from the team at Perth Racing.

Foundations of membership

While every organisation is different, there are some common considerations and well-known basics that are equally applicable to all clubs.

  • Data and information
  • Clear strategy
  • The Members
  • Technology
  • Communications.


Recruitment and retention

A big contributor to recruitment is lead generation – the more leads coming into the organisation, the more opportunities to gain new members. Consider, how do you generate leads, qualify to see if they are valid prospects, capture them into your database and segment them for future follow-up?

Leads can come from several places including staff, members and alliance partners. Alliance partners refers to creating alliances with organisations who have a similar target market or where you can find mutually beneficial situations. As part of its strategy, Perth Racing has identified its relationships with the Clubs community as a source of leads. In implementing their strategic objections, Perth Racing has allocated resourcing for direct face-to-face sales to affiliates to drive brand awareness and revenue opportunities with like-minded sports and community organisations.

A development opportunity undertaken by Perth Racing to potentially increase general sales and member sales is an incentive called “KickBack”, with sporting clubs and affiliates. This offers sporting clubs, community groups and not-for-profits a 30% rebate from the sale price of each general admission ticket or membership with a unique Ticketek password for their networks to use to buy tickets and raise funds. KickBack brings together a fun day out with an easy and fun way to fundraise for a Club. The more tickets sold, the more a Club makes for much needed facilities, equipment and offers for members/corporate partners.

Ultimately, there is no secret formula for boosting your membership numbers. Growing your club takes effort, enthusiasm, creativity, and a plan. While there are some fundamentals, each club is different and it is important you are well informed – understand your club and its members past, present and prospective.

Read the full article in our February/March 2020 Service Bulletin found here.