How To Future Proof Your Club
In 1876, Western Union’s president refused to purchase Alexander Graham Bell’s patent for the telephone, dismissing it as “impractical” and “idiotic”. His prediction that no one would ever want to use phones turned out to be just a little wide of the mark. Fun fact: After inventing the telephone, Bell suggested that the standard greeting when answering the phone should be “Ahoy-hoy”.
The point is that none of us know what the future holds or what will or won’t be popular in the years to come. Nonetheless, we still have to prepare for it.
So today, we will discuss how you can ensure your club thrives no matter what the future holds.
How to future-proof your club:
- Attract new members
- Ensure that you club’s future doesn’t rely on only one person
- Have good digital systems in place
- Embrace new technology
Attracting New Members To Your Club
Attracting new members is crucial for a club’s long-term success. No one can stay in your club forever, and members will need to step back from the club sooner or later. When that day comes, your club will only be able to survive with new members.
So, attracting new members to your club is super important. This means that you will need to ensure people can find your club and that it is appealing to them when they do. This could take a variety of forms, including:
- Actively marketing your club
- Having a social media presence
- Sponsoring events
- Having events that are open to the public
- Having a good website
- Diversifying your club events
- Targeting a younger audience
You aren’t just going to want to attract new members. You should also be trying to attract new members from the younger generations, as they will be able to stay in your club for longer.
How To Attract New Younger Members To Your Club
Attracting new, younger members to your club is crucial for securing its future. At the risk of sounding like a vampire, nothing rejuvenates a club and sets it up for a bright future quite like an influx of fresh blood.
Using Technology To Attract Younger Members To Your Club
The role of technology in the world of clubs cannot be overstated, especially when it comes to younger members. According to Greg Cunningham from the Street Machine Association of South Australia, the first question he hears from a lot of younger members during sign-up is, “Do you have an App?”
The younger generations are less likely to join clubs that still rely on pen and paper to manage their operations. Therefore, having a strong online presence is crucial to attracting younger members to your club. This includes having an aesthetically pleasing website, an active social media account, and an app that is easy to use and navigate. By keeping up with the latest technological trends, clubs can remain relevant and attract new, younger members.
It’s also worth noting that people are less prepared to do things in slow and “outdated” ways in today’s instant digital age. The average younger person won’t just want to sign up and renew their membership online; they will want those processes to be quick and easy. If you don’t give your members a way to sign up, renew online and ensure that the online system is up to date and fast, you will likely start to see your member numbers dropping as fewer younger people will be signing up.
It’s a sad fact, but younger people, myself included, are so used to everything being instantaneous that we are increasingly unlikely to engage in lengthy and convoluted things. Considering that the oldest Millennials are in their early 40s, not catering to the younger generations could be cutting out a massive part of your potential members.
Diversifying Your Club Events To Attract Younger Members
One effective way to attract new members, particularly the younger ones, is by offering a wider range of club activities. I realise that sounds vague, but let me explain with two examples from clubs that use Member Jungle. While both these examples are from car clubs, the principle will apply to any club.
Tesla Owners Club of Australia discovered that some younger members weren't interested in expensive winery cruises and $$$-a-head dinners. They are now offering trips to more affordable places and track days, which are proving very popular. Another great example is the Street Machine Association of South Australia, which has noticed that younger members can’t afford to buy older, more traditionally “vintage” cars. So they have made sure that anyone whose car is older than 25 years (the government recognised minimum age for a vintage car) is welcome in their club. This means that younger members who can’t afford to invest in a classic 60s car can still join and enjoy the club with their mid-90s car.
By diversifying the activities and membership requirements, clubs can cater to a broader range of interests and age groups, helping to ensure that the clubs continue to grow and thrive in the years to come.
Every club should be working towards attracting younger members and securing their club’s future. This accounting for younger members’ lack of disposable income is especially important during the current cost of living crisis, where the cost of living is rising much faster than wages. This will also have the added benefit of helping older members whose retirement budgets are being put under increased stress.
Ensuring Your Club’s Future Doesn’t Rely On One Person
Before joining Member Jungle, many clubs faced the unfortunate problem of having only one person with access to the website, social media, domain, DNS, and sometimes even the literal keys to the club. If this person quits, falls off the radar, or passes away, it can cause chaos, as no one else has the necessary access to keep the club running. On more than one occasion, we’ve encountered a club that has just had a falling out with this one person with control. As a result, the person has deleted all the data, taken down the website and left everyone else high and dry.
Maintaining the security of your club is paramount to its continued survival. This is why having more than one trusted individual with access to vital login credentials and information is crucial. By using the services of a membership management company such as Member Jungle or one of our competitors, you can help solve a lot of these problems before they arise. At Member Jungle we provide free training to you and your administrators and we have back ups of all administrator logins and data. This way we can ensure that you will never be locked out of your system and that there will always be someone who knows how to use the system.
Having Good Digital Systems In Place To Ensure Your Club’s Future
We have already briefly touched on it, but having good digital systems in place for your club is very important. By digital systems, I mean your club’s website, sign-up and renewals process, communication with members, online marketing and social media. These have all become increasingly important to the club’s survival over the last decade or so, and that is very unlikely to change. Not only do you need to have good digital systems today, but you need to make sure that those systems will continue to update and improve with you and the future technological advancements.
Having A Good Website For Your Club
As we’ve already covered briefly, having a good website for your club is very important in helping your club prepare for the future. It can do this by attracting new members, facilitating clearer and easier communications with your members, and working well with membership management software to make sign-ups and renewals more streamlined.
Your website will be the main way you communicate with your members and will likely be the first impression new members get of your club. So, it is very important to ensure that it is visually appealing and has all the functions you need, including news, event management, member login, etc.
Having Good Membership Management Software For Your Club
Good membership management software can help your club solve many problems we’ve discussed today, including attracting new members, simplifying sign-ups and renewals, and making club management more efficient. Plus, most membership management software has an accompanying app, which we know is something that younger members are going to want.
It is also worth noting that it isn’t just younger club members who don’t have the patience for complicated and drawn-out processes. Younger club volunteers are increasingly unlikely to put up with slow and outdated processes. Using a membership management system to help make your club management as streamlined and time-efficient as possible will help you get and keep younger volunteers.
It is also worth ensuring that your membership management system continues to evolve with time, so ensure that what is a great system today is still a great one tomorrow. If you are interested in how Member Jungle plans to evolve with developing technology, read Member Jungle Product Releases: What It Means For Your Club.
Why Your Club Needs To Embrace New Technology
One thing that has been repeatedly proven is that embracing new technology is vital to the continued survival of any institution.
A perfect example of this happened in 2000, when Blockbuster’s CEO declined an offer to buy online subscription-based DVD rental company Netflix for $50 million, citing no value in the online subscription format. As we all know, Netflix continued to embrace new technology. Blockbuster stuck stubbornly to doing this the way they’d always done them. As a result, Blockbuster filed for bankruptcy in 2010, and Netflix is now worth over $190 billion.
Embracing new technology and taking change in your stride may be challenging. Still, it is required for your club to continue to thrive long into the future. It is incredibly hard to predict what technology will and won’t be popular in the coming years, but here are just two things to look out for.
Artificial intelligence, or AI, is becoming increasingly used in our day-to-day lives, and its use will likely only grow for quite some time. So learning more about it and how to use it to help your club is a good idea. This article I wrote on How You Can Use AI To Help Your Club In 2023 is a good place to start.
The other key thing to pay attention to is the continued rise of smartphones and tablets. Computers are still the most commonly used device to access the internet. Still, smartphones and tablets are slowly closing the gap. Ensuring your website and management system look good and work well on mobile devices has never been more important. This trend will probably continue in the coming years, so ensure you are prepared to fully support mobile device users.
Other than that, just keep an eye out for future technological advancements and be prepared to embrace them when they occur. You can rest assured that we at Member Jungle will always stay on top of the most recent technological advancements and will do our very best to inform you of any developments you need to know about.
Anything Else I Can Do To Prepare My Club For The Future?
With all that in mind, the only thing you can do is get out there and start marketing your club and preparing for whatever the future has in hold for us.
If you are interested in how AI will affect the future of membership management, then it would be worth reading: How Will AI Affect Membership Management?
Otherwise, look at 5 Free Marketing Tools To Promote Your Club In 2023 to get a good start on getting your club in front of some potential new members.
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