A positive club culture = engagement and growth
Understand your Target Audience. Some hiking clubs are youth oriented, such as university bushwalking clubs, some have all age groups in their membership, while others are composed of 50+. Don’t worry that your club has no members under 50 years old. People’s lives have a natural cycle. After they have had children and the demands of raising a family are mostly over, then they will start to look for new activities as they enter their fifties. Target these people for membership. The most important point is that you cater to their needs and continue to attract new members in that age group.
A diverse program, with a broad range of activity types and grades, will attract a diverse range of members, increase membership and increase activity participation.
Joining a bushwalking club is not just about outdoor activities. It is also about socialising. It’s okay for a bushwalking club to run purely social events with no walking involved. Create opportunities in the program for members to socialise, such as; planning for coffee at the end of a bushwalk, restaurant nights, attending fun events. The result will be increased group cohesion, increased membership, a spirit of volunteerism and higher participation in bushwalks.
If members show an interest in a particular activity or idea or have a suggestion to make, ask them to lead the activity or implement the idea.
Don’t wait for people to volunteer; ask them to do something and give them assistance to carry it out. e.g. buddy potential leaders.
It is natural to have a turnover of membership or around 15-20% annually, so don’t worry when people resign. It is more important that you replace departing members.
Make visitors feel welcome and ask them to return.
Members don’t have to be locals. Having intercity, interstate or international members can open possibilities for club holiday activities utilising local knowledge.
There are loads of resources to help you build a positive club culture in the Play by the Rules website – including free tips, template, online training, and more.