What was done well and where can we improve – Summer Recruitment 2023/24
The 2023/24 Summer Recruitment season has wrapped up, with GBL and GCBA being a third of the way into their respective competitions and Sunshine Coast reaching finals for their Spring season. Collectively, we’ve seen an increase in memberships for Summer and there are still plenty of takeaways and areas for improvement heading into Winter 2024 and Summer 24/25.
Start Early and Plan
The deciding factor in how successful of a recruitment period you have is your planning. It is important to decide early on what you’re leading to.
1. Identify a Recruitment Coordinator early.
2. Identify your Come and Try days.
- This is your target for every other initiative to link into. You’ll want to run multiple catering to different audiences and at different times – be accessible.
- It may then help to organise pre-season trainings alongside/after these events.
3. Define your strategy.
- Identify your local schools and their contacts early, lock in clinics ASAP and coordinate with BQ Game Development to ensure they’re appropriately staffed.
- Identify community events or groups that you can engage with.
- Can you work with local politicians to advertise with them/at their events?
- Can you approach businesses for corporate teams or other partnerships in your local area.
- Are you effectively utilising digital recruitment strategies?
4. Define responsibilities.
- Try to assign tasks to peoples strengths and get as many people helping out as possible.
- Avoid overlap when delegating tasks to reduce conflicts and areas where “I thought they were doing X”
- Follow through on your plan. Complete tasks when you’ve identified for them to be completed.
6. Adapt and Review
- Adapt and continually look to take advantage of new opportunities as they arise. Reach as many people as possible.
- Review the success of your initiatives once each stage wraps up, with a final review once the season is underway to work out where you need to focus more on or learn more about before next season.
Organise early and build it into your overall strategy. Term 3 is busy, it’s also the main period for Summer recruitment for multiple sports. So, engage with your local schools early, build out a list of contacts at each school and keep it within the committee for future years.
The all-new BQ School Ambassador program is building a list of contacts at schools around the state, so make sure to liaise with the BQ Game Development Manager, as there may be direct Sport/PE contacts at your local schools. Take advantage of BQ Development Officers (DO’s), however, you need to organise this early – there is a limited pool of DO’s and they can only be in so many places at once.
We also offer free hire of equipment kits. Make sure to book them early to ensure you have them when you need them.
Brisbane North clubs did school clinics really well, out of 74 members that identified school clinics as the method they found Baseball, 60 of them were at Brisbane North clubs.
Take Full Advantage of Digital Opportunities
Thanks to Game Day, we know that almost 20% of members said they heard about Baseball through Social Media and Search Engines.
The importance of a current, up-to-date, search engine-optimised websites and social media suites is incredibly important to an effective recruitment period.
Your website is like a funnel, it catches all of that random traffic flow from the internet. Catching search engine traffic is important. If you don’t have anyone tech savvy, a basic website will function well and can direct members to your social media pages or to club contact details.
As a note: the old <club>.baseball.com.au websites can be redirected or deleted. If you’d like this to occur, please reach out to email@example.com for assistance. This can be useful to ensure that new members are being directed to your most up-to-date website.
Include registration and season information on your website. People need to know when the season stars and when it ends, they’ll also want to know the costs involved and if you can, provide them with information on how long the games are for their age group, how far they might need to travel. The more information you provide, the more certain they’re going to be when it comes time to register.
Ensure that your social media is up to date as well! Not just Facebook, all of your accounts. Facebook and Instagram allow you to post to both at the same time – so do it.
Utilise paid advertising to reach members that will never see your normal posts. Unpaid reach, especially on Facebook, is terrible – paid reach on Facebook will get you seen by thousands (likely parents).
Short form video content (approx. 7 second videos) work the best on Instagram, TikTok and YouTube Shorts – punchy, short, sharp and engaging videos. You won’t need to pay to boost these, and they’ll typically be reaching younger audiences.
Facebook is typically for the parents and grandparents – Instagram and TikTok are mixed, skewing towards younger audiences – YouTube is a bit of everyone. Take advantage of all of these platforms. Content you make for one can typically be used for the others, don’t make more work for yourself. (Customised content will always be better, but you’ll need someone who knows their stuff and I honestly do not)
Make sure you’re responding to emails, identify your most responsive person or people and ensure that all email queries are being actively responded to. (CC everyone in to make sure anyone else that received it knows it’s been responded to)
Send out an email to last years’ members to invite them back! You can consider offering early bird discount codes, which can be facilitated through Game Day.
Involve those returning members by including your goals for the season, how the committee want to build on the previous year and anything you’re doing differently. (Ideally responding to feedback you’ve collected!) Make the members feel valued and they’ll want to come back.
Remove barriers – don’t add them.
You should never be adding hoops for potential members to jump through. Have them register directly through the Game Day portal at your earliest opportunity. If you can assist them through the process at a Come and Try day, you’ll be golden.
Don’t add extra EOI forms if you can avoid it. If you can’t get them to register straight away, that’s when you collect their contact details to be able to follow them up and invite them back to your next event or pre-season training. Keep them engaged!
Targeting specific groups
Sometimes making people feel comfortable enough to try is your best recruitment strategy. Consider offering a Female only Come and Try and/or an U12s Come and Try.
Clubs that offer a Female Come and Try day tend to enter more teams in those competitions, while specifying age groups for your Come and Try days allows you to control numbers and create safe environments where people are trying the game with others of their age.
Create capacity – don’t restrict it.
There’s a natural capacity at every club, with field space being the primary limitation. You can always find more coaches, introduce incentives, and get people trained up. Understand your current demand and prepare for more next season, even if you don’t increase in members, you’ll have increased in potential volunteers!
Work with your existing and experienced coaches to mentor new coaches throughout the season, you could partner with local clubs or work with your region to organise regional coaching development courses. Encourage and accommodate accreditation opportunities; work with QBUA and QBS, and surrounding clubs, to build your collective officials base.
- Make sure your club products are mandatory, there were several situations where clubs had products that were optional and had to then chase members for fees.
- Ensure there is no overlap in the ages of your products – e.g. U16s, U18s or U20s does not overlap with Adult Seniors
- Understand what recruitment initiatives are working. This is why we have the “How did you hear about us?” question on the registration forms; here’s the 2023/24 Summer data:
|Friend, Colleague, etc.
As you can see, a large majority of members found baseball through word of mouth, search engines and social media. Digital presence is key – while school clinics needs to see a major improvement!
Come and Try days are incredibly important!
It goes back to what I said earlier, if you can’t make people comfortable enough to try, they won’t even give you a chance.
Ensuring that you have an appropriate spread of Come and Try opportunities, whether that’s targeted events, fun carnivals, or mini pre-season tournaments – you decide. Make sure there’s opportunity at different times and different days. If you have lights, offer a weeknight Come and Try, or an information session at your batting cage where you can setup a tee or do some soft toss.
As mentioned before, also offer some targeted events. Whether it’s a few hours at the start or end of your main Come and Try or a specific weeknight or weekend event that is for Women, Juniors, Masters, etc.
Make people comfortable, and give them an opportunity to try.
Take advantage of the inflatable batting tunnel which BQ hires out to clubs free of charge. Make sure to book it early!
Ensuring that your club engages in planning early will lead to a cohesive, targeted, and thorough recruitment process that expands upon your clubs’ reach into the local community.
Make sure to engage in School Clinics, they can be an extremely effective tool, BQ offers support in engaging with schools, renting equipment and providing staff. Engage with the BQ Game Development Manager early.
Take full advantage of social media, your club website and direct emails to members.