5 Ways to Strengthen Your Sports Organization Community
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In the midst of all the difficulties weâ€™ve seen as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, one thing that stands out is the importance of community and how important it is we all remain interconnected. While this season hasnâ€™t quite played out the way weâ€™ve hoped, this can actually be a great opportunity for you to strengthen the community within your organization.Â
To help, weâ€™ve included some best practices you can implement during this time to help build stronger rapport and trust between your organization and members.
Open the Lines of Communication
One of the easiest ways to build trust with your members, especially in a difficult situation is to have an open-door policy when it comes to communications. Make sure members know how and where they can communicate with you.
Communicate early and often, even if this means communicating that you donâ€™t have a process or plan in place yet, but you are working on one. Nobody wants to feel in the dark or wonder what the next steps are, so let coaches and parents know that more information is coming. If you need some tips on building communication processes, weâ€™ve got them here.Â
Be Proactive and Transparent in Communication
Donâ€™t shy away from the difficult discussions on the horizon, meet them head-on with open and transparent communication. One of the tougher topics weâ€™ve seen come up the past few months is the topic of registration refunds to members for canceled seasons. Be proactive and transparent in the communication of your organizationâ€™s plans around refunds. Sharing insight into your process and the costs associated with registration fees helps parents understand what their fees go towards.
Invite Members to Be Part of the Process
As TeamSnap CEO, Dave DuPont, mentioned in a recent town hall, â€œlet your members know what youâ€™re thinking, invite them in to be part of the process of decision making.â€ Everyone wants to be included, and everyone wants to feel heard. Parents, coaches players will each have a different perspective to bring to the table, and bringing them into the decision-making process assures each groupâ€™s needs are taken into consideration.
Elicit ideas from members and welcome solutions they might have by sending out surveys where members can submit feedback or ask questions in an open forum. You wonâ€™t always have all the answers, and thatâ€™s OK! Collaboration is key to finding a solution that takes all your memberâ€™s needs into consideration.Â
Find Ways to Connect Personally
In todayâ€™s digital world, it can be easy to lose sight of the importance of personal connection, but now more than ever is a time communities should be connecting. One-to-one outreach with a personalized email, phone call, or even text message to a parent or coach to check in and see how they are doing can go a long way.Â
Social media is a great way to stay connected to your current members, and prospective members. Share photos from previous games, practices, or events or take a leaf out of TeamSnap customer, South Carolina United FCâ€™s, social media strategy and consider adding posts for player highlights. Their social media posts also include improvements theyâ€™re making on their facilities during this downtime plus a weekly member update in the form of a newsletter. Adding a feature recognizing a player or coach or sharing updates on improvements to your home facilities is a perfect way to bring a greater sense of community to your page.
Continue Team Building
Even if you canâ€™t be on the field together or off the field at a team dinner, you can still offer remote team building activities for players to connect online and have some fun. Plus, parents will appreciate a couple of hours where their kids are connecting with their friends again.
Even though weâ€™re all watching from the sidelines right now, staying engaged and connected with your parents and players is more important than ever. Implementing just a couple of these strategies can help build stronger relationships and a greater sense of community on and off the fields.
Marika is a Client Success Manager at TeamSnap. When sheâ€™s not supporting our TeamSnap partners, sheÂ can be found on the mats training Brazilian Jiu Jitsu in Boulder, CO. Either that or in the CrossFit gym.