Find and support the Connectors
I'm often asked, what would be the one factor you would prioritise to help a club grow. My answer without hesitation is always - find and support the 'connectors'.
Connectors are the people that have the ability to open doors, bring people together, create relationships, and identify new opportunities. They often aren't the most qualified, most experienced, or 'played the game'. They often aren't on your committee at club level, and in some cases, you may not even know who they are yet. The challenge is to seek out these people and enable them as much as you can. Start engaging more connectors at your club and I can guarantee you good things will start to happen.
A connector might be that fantastic, bubbly parent that is just brilliant at being welcoming and galvanising all the parents in the junior section to support club events.
A connector might be a member that is well known in the local business community and can help you sell out your annual fundraising dinner.
A connector might be a player that works in the third sector and can open doors to voluntary organisations, social impact projects and funding to help broaden the reach of your club.
A connector might be that tech savvy teenager that can transform your social media platforms and help your club engage in a way that speaks to young people.
A connector might be that larger than life character at the club, who works in hospitality, and jumps at the opportunity to run a Beer Festival for the club.
A connector might be the member that works for the local university or college and can set up a partnership to train students as support coaches that come down and volunteer at the club.
A connector might be the partner of a player that works for the local newspaper and knows all the community groups, yoga classes, mums and kids groups, book clubs etc and can facilitate them using your clubhouse as the venue for their activity during the day when it's not in use.
The examples are endless.
One warning though, don't be restricted by traditional mindsets. You might think what has the local mums group got to do with hockey, golf, tennis, football, cricket, rugby or whatever your sport is? The answer is, it has everything to do with making your club more visible, vibrant and viable. I can guarantee you the more that people know where you are, who you are, and what you're about, the more your club will grow.
By finding and supporting the connectors you are simply involving more people. And by involving more people you will be expanding your networks, ideas and your heart. You start to become more meaningful in people's lives and well on the way to becoming a 'connected club'.