Retaining Members and Players

Retaining current members is just as important as recruiting new ones.

simple philosophy

If you impress people when they first arrive and continue to impress them, they will become your ambassadors and will spread the word of how great you are.

Reinforce this simple philosophy everywhere and you will become a more enjoyable club to be involved with, and your memberships will rise.

How to make your members feel valued

  • Keep your club and clubhouse neat and tidy: If you leave rubbish lying around, people are far more likely to drop their own litter as they can see an effort hasn’t been made. Rubbish bins and bin liners show that you care about your club and members
  • Send birthday cards to your members: You will have details of the birthdays of all your members and sending a greetings card shows that you care about your members
  • Smile and be positive: The simplest and most effective way of making people feel good about you and your club
  • Enourage feedback: Consult your members on new ideas and place suggestion boxes around your club. Hold club forums to ‘sense check’ new ideas and changes you want to make

What if someone leaves?

Very few clubs actually get in touch with a member who has left, just to find out why they did leave.

It is often taken for granted that people leave clubs because they are “too busy” but usually it is not found out whether the club had a part to play in them leaving.

Make sure you take a couple of minutes to ask people who have left the club, to why they did.

It may be a difficult conversation, but it could be the most valuable conversation you have all year.

If you don’t have someone who feels comfortable making the phone call, think of creating and sending a questionnaire or an online survey – people may be more honest responding this way.

Player Retention

Player retention is an important challenge in all sports and it's crucial for sustainable clubs and leagues.

It is also advised that your club registers on the Club Matters website, which can be used as a tool to interact with players and club members.

In the main, your club members should be your first port of call in terms of retention.

They may have skills which can help sustain and develop the club.

The key to long term success on the pitch is having a good coach who builds mutual respect and loyalty.

Another strong element to retention within the club is a buoyant social scene.

A number of clubs have an annual calendar of social events, such as Open Days and volunteer events such as Engage With Your Club can assist in creating club spirit and promote ownership.

Questionnaires and surveys can be a useful way to 'check and challenge' that what you are doing as a club is actually what the members want, and could also be a way of identifying new volunteers.

In order to be sustainable and successful...

Community clubs should consider the following:

  • Ensure a club development plan is in place with a five year strategy and monitor throughout the period.
  • Club ethos and philosophy is also a key component – all coaches and age groups need to buy into this.
  • Upskill coaches with the relevant requirements for the age group they coach (e.g. Level 1, Level 2 award, Level 2 License)
  • Link in with RFL initiatives such as Embed the Pathway and Primary RL.

Inter-age partnerships

Greater co-ordination between age groups and coaches can also help improve the standard of your playing and training output.

Each age group should have occasional link ups with the age groups around them to provide better continuity throughout the club and help players transition from U7s right through to open age. This can be done through:

  • Mixed training nights (e.g. under 15’s and under 16’s training together)
  • Coach Meetings (e.g. 7’s, 8’s and 9’s working together)
  • Social events (e.g. race nights, Christmas parties)
  • Engaging current open age players to help coach junior teams

Clubs are also advised to reward players for length of service at the club e.g. 5 or 10 years’ service - these occasions can be frequent and can be carried out for both adult and junior players.

Also, organising large club events or trips to major Rugby League events, such as the Dacia Magic Weekend or the First Utility Super League Grand Final, encourages familiarity between players and coaches at all age groups.