Facilities and Events

When the Wind Blows Hard and the Sky is Black – Ducks Fly Together!

Mighty Ducks is a classic movie about overcoming obstacles in minor sports. Is the District 5 team an anomaly? Even before they are assigned coach Bombay, they still practice together on a local public rink. Maybe, maybe not, but there is a significant flip in the team’s track record after Bombay secures excellent equipment and facilities to practice in. Their season does a 180 and they move from last place to first, winning the division championship!

Do you know why?

Obviously, this has been sensationalized for Hollywood and is a great story. However, the core principles of the theme of the movie stand true. Team, and thus association success, can heavily rely on facility and equipment access support. When we last touched on Securing Equipment, it was all about creating partnerships in the community that will ensure your members have access to the equipment they need to participate. Now we’ll extend that talk to facilities and events to continue to grow your member base.

That’s only half of it!

As families increasingly trend towards looking for a sports experience in an organization that aligns with their core beliefs, it is important to expose members and potential members to your mission, and potential members. This article from Little League University talks about holding events to grab the attention of new members and demonstrate the enjoyment of your sport. Extending on the opportunity from Little League University, this article from Sports England showcased events as a means to solicit feedback directly from the membership community driving your strategic direction to the future.

How do you Grow?

Making change is hard. But, through events, you can help make change easier for new members. Creating a fun and engaging experience in a no-pressure environment will allow potential members to give your organization a try. Take advantage of that opportunity and sell them on how great your organization is for them and the surrounding community.

Stepping up from the no-pressure events, look for chances to bring out veteran members. Take the opportunity and solicit their feedback, and where they as a member of the community would like the organization to go! This is important to ensure that your organization is properly meeting the needs of the surrounding community.

Like in the old days when neighbours would knock on each other's doors to gather friends for a pick-up game of soccer or baseball at the park. These events will break down barriers for those in the community that may be interested in pickup up a new sport or activity. A great way to provide members of the community to create new connections either with you and your organization or with other members within the community. It is a win-win situation regardless of the outcome on a scoreboard.

With that said, planning your first event may look like a daunting task, especially when there are potentially so many moving pieces, so you’ll want to make sure you include everything needed to maximize the effectiveness of your event.

Where to Go from Here?

Utilize your community events and shared facilities for your members to train and grow together to create a stronger organization, much like coach Bombay and the Mighty Ducks from District 5. However, the timelines in movies force us to overlook the time and work required to put into something and make it successful. And, very few of us will have access to the resources of a Mr Ducksworth to foot the bill. However, through proper planning, scoping, budgeting, marketing, volunteer recruitment, and actioning after an event we can achieve as much or more than a district championship!

By now, we are experts in securing Community Partners and setting up our Marketing and Advertising channels that will allow us to put on a successful event. Some new things that you will want to think about during your event planning will include scope, budget, volunteers, recording of the results, and creation of post-event actions. In addition, these events will allow those in attendance to try new skills or enhance their already growing skill set with the extra time.

Picking the scope of your event is so important to ensure its success. Is it a try-it event where you are looking to expose new members to your group? Are you putting on a tournament, looking to showcase the talent within your organization? Is this a general meeting where you are looking to attract more administration/bench staff and back-end support? Identifying the scope of your event will ensure that all decisions surrounding your event will ensure its success. Holding a general meeting with talent showcasing may not have the success as a tournament event!

Setting up a budget will also hold you accountable for your scope. Are you bringing in paid media partners to help promote the event onsite? Are you looking to other community partners to provide additional resources and support during your event? Think food and beverage services, which can take a lot of volunteer resources and time. What other prizes and activities are going to bring your event's experience to the next level to ensure that it is a memorable one for those in attendance?

Volunteers are critical to an event's success. After setting your scope, ensure that you can lock in the volunteers that you will need to run the event. Overworking your key helpers will work for a short time in a crunch, but is not a good long-term solution. Through the marketing of your event, you can secure the administration needed on the back end to run it properly, and ensure it is successful. Great help is going to take an ok event to the next level, and your organization too.

Recording the results and actioning feedback will go hand in hand. Mentioned earlier was Sports England’s take on utilizing events to secure direct feedback from the community. Feedback is important, and ensuring that the community knows that they have been heard is just as important. Community-based organizations need to react to and be responsive to the community's needs. However, not all community feedback is correct, nor can all feedback be acted on immediately. What can always be done is ensuring that the community knows that the feedback has been received, and put on a task list to be acted on when the time is right.

The previously mentioned perks of these events have focused on organizational growth. However, it shouldn’t be forgotten that additional reps from events that either introduce new skills or help refine existing specializations will work immensely in your favour towards furthering your member skill sets. This could include try-it days for skill introduction, skills camps for enhancing specializations, or just meetings that allow your admin or bench staff to talk through issues they are looking to solve and further develop their skills.

In conclusion

Creating events that are great experiences for those in attendance is going to help take your organization to the next level. Through recruiting and marketing you will be able to grow your administration and team staff, grow your base membership as well as highlight your organization's talent pool as part of recruitment. Market to that so that you ensure that everyone in the community knows that it is special to be a part of your organization.

It is special being a part of something, and events are a great way to make people feel a stronger pull to your organization. Whether they are someone new, or a life member when the wind blows hard and the sky is black – ducks fly together!