The following section outlines some basic principles which should be considered when conducting any sort of junior player recruitment campaign for your club.
- Make sure you set some clear, simple, measurable and obtainable objectives before you undertake any aspect of the recruitment campaign e.g. an increase of 5% in junior player registrations.
- Prioritise all of your objectives and then select a small number that you think are the most important.
Who are you talking to?
- Decide on who you should be talking to to achieve your objectives. In this case the focus should be on the parents of children and the children themselves.
- Make the group of parents and children as clear and concise as possible. The more narrowly you define your this group the more effectively you will be able to communicate with them e.g. look predominantly in your area.
- Consider what motivates the parents and children. Research on children suggests that the immediate promise of making new friends and having fun provides the greatest motivation to play rugby. Conversely, the long term prospect of being an All Black as an adult negatively reinforced their fears of getting hurt.
- Often mum is the gatekeeper and influencer in a kids decision to play rugby or not. It’s important to let her know that the rugby she sees on TV is not the same as what her son or daughter will be playing on Saturday morning. Let her know at every opportunity that the rules of rugby have been simplified at a Small Blacks level to make it safe and easy to learn. Also as a positive, rugby develops great ball skills and coordination.
- Now that you know the parents and children you will target and what might motivate them, give some consideration to how to communicate with them effectively. What newspapers do they read? Where do they shop or go to school?
- Consider ways to communicate that might already be available to you free of charge, such as a club website, school newsletters and community noticeboards.
- A simple rule of thumb is to make sure you are reaching the largest number of people in your target market for the least amount of money.
- Should reflect what motivates your target market.
- People pay little attention to advertising so it is important that your message is single minded. This means that each piece of communication says one thing only. Don’t dilute your important message by providing an advertisement with three other messages in it.
- A recruitment campaign can take up a lot of your clubs time, so make sure you review your campaign against your objectives to see if it is working. If it’s not, don’t be afraid to alter it.
- Keep it simple!
- Keep it professional; make sure everything you are doing reflects the image you want your club to portray.