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Joining a club can be daunting, even for the most outgoing person

Having a welcoming environment is important right from the moment someone finds out about your club through to when they’re an active member. This is key in reducing the barrier to participation and encourages members to become advocates of your club.

Quite often though, clubs may unintentionally overlook some of the factors that create a welcoming environment.

In this blog, we’ll walk you through some practical ideas that will help your club become the place to be.

Before joining


Think of your website as a brochure. When prospective members visit your website, they want to find out everything about your club. Scan your website and see how many of the following you can tick off:

  • Is your messaging clear in what you do and who you target?
  • Are images relevant and inclusive?
  • Do you have a meet the committee / coaches page?
  • Do you have an FAQ page which addresses common questions?
  • Are you posting regular news updates about your club?
  • Can members join quickly and easily?

Social media and email

Other touchpoints are typically your social media accounts and email. If someone is interested in your club, they might venture onto your Facebook page or send you an email so it’s important to take these points into account:

  • Are you regularly updating your social media with content?
  • Is someone monitoring your social media and emails?
  • Are you responding to enquiries in a friendly and timely manner?

Tours and taster sessions

To give prospective members a flavour of your club, it’s a good idea to offer personalised facility tours and taster sessions. This is the first time they’ll see your club in person, so you want to make an impression that lasts. Here’s what to consider:

  • Do you send relevant information to prospective members ahead of tours and taster sessions?
  • Is your facility easy to find?
  • Are there noticeboards and signposts in your facility?
  • Do you have disabled access?
  • Is your facility clean, well maintained and COVID-secure?
  • Who is responsible for greeting prospective members when they arrive?
  • Are taster sessions exclusively tailored to prospective members?

After joining

Welcome pack

Sending out a welcome pack when a new member signs up is the first step in making them feel like part of your club. Ensure you get this to them straight after the point of registration, so they immediately feel acknowledged and have enough time to absorb everything. Your welcome pack should include information like:

  • A general welcome letter from the committee
  • Your club’s background and history
  • Membership tiers and pricing – do you offer flexibility around payments?
  • Committee / coaches contact details
  • What kit members need to bring

First day

First experiences can either make or break someone’s decision to return to your club. If they feel welcomed and valued, there’s no reason for them not to return. You want to go the extra mile and have a solid process in place to make new members feel at ease and help them settle in. What to think about:

  • Who is responsible for introducing new members to everyone?
  • Do they have an assigned buddy?
  • Is the rest of the team aware that there is a new member?
  • Are you getting new members involved straight away?
  • Is your body language open and friendly?
  • Are you following up with members to find out how their first day went?

Ongoing engagement

A welcoming environment doesn’t just end after someone’s first day at your club – it’s something that you have to consistently maintain. Here are some points to think about:

  • Are you being patient with inexperienced members?
  • Are you making an effort to get to know your members?
  • Do you ensure that there are no cliques?
  • Are you regularly encouraging your members?
  • Have you invited members to join your private social media group?
  • Do you ask your members for feedback on your club?

Every club wants to be known as the club that feels like a second home – a family. You have the power to implement the ideas above and be well on your way to achieving this.

What other ways can you think of for creating a welcoming environment at your club? Let us know on Twitter @LoveToDoMore. We’d love to hear from you!

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