How to Attract and Retain Members

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When you run a table tennis club you have to be able to attract and retain members.
So how do you do that? Find out here...

 By Martin Hughes
 Owner and Editor

In my previous article we looked at how to start a table tennis club and we saw that it requires at least one person who is willing to organise everything and put in a lot of time and commitment.

But something else that's just as important to a table tennis club is its membership.

You see, unless you have enough members to sustain your club, it's not going to last very long.

Table tennis club members by courtesy of the ITTF

Members are the lifeblood of your club so you must ensure that you always have enough of them if you want to survive.

However, once you've attracted and recruited them, you also need to retain them too.

So let's take a look at how to...

  1. Recruit new members
  2. Retain existing members and ensure they renew their subscriptions
  3. Increase the number of members


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Recruiting new members

Before you can start recruiting club members you'll need to be clear on a number of issues.

You'll need to decide...

  • Who do you want/need as members of your club?
  • How many members does your club want/need?
  • What can you offer them? and...
  • Where will you find them?

So, let's take a look at each of these in turn.


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1. Who do you want/need as members of your club?

When recruiting new members for your club you'll first need to determine who you ideally want as members.

Maybe you're looking for people with certain skills who can further the aims of your club. Or maybe you only want people who have reached a certain playing standard or who live close to your club or are part of another organisation.

You'll also have to decide whether you'll let anybody who wants to join your club be allowed to join, or whether they'll have to meet certain criteria.

Who will you be targeting? Men, women, younger people, older people, specific groups etc?

2. How many members does your club want/need?

You'll also need to decide how many members you want/need to recruit.

What's the minimum number you'll need to survive?

What's the maximum number you can accept?

3. What can you offer them?

Next you'll need to decide what you're going to offer potential members.

Why should anyone join your club? Unless you can answer this question, you'll not be able to persuade people to join.

Determine what you can offer your potential club members. Maybe it's 24 hour table tennis. Or coaching lessons or competitions. Maybe it's primarily a social club and you offer club events and social evenings?

Just make sure that you're clear about what you can offer them.

4. Where will you find them?

Next you'll need to identify where your potential new members will be found.

For example if you're targeting children, you can go to local schools and youth groups. If you're targeting working age people, then local businesses will be the places to go.

You'll also need to actively promote your club. You could forge links with the local community and/or hold special events open to all.

It's also important to be highly visible. Good signage near your club is vital. You should also have a web site and promote your club using flyers, newspaper articles, holding special events etc.

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Retaining existing members

After you've worked hard to recruit new members, it's vital that you're able to retain them. After all, it's well known that it's easier to keep existing members than it is to recruit new ones.

So if you're going to retain them, what are the critical factors involved and how do you make sure that they'll renew their membership?


The secret to retaining existing members is to ensure that you continue to provide whatever it is that caused them to join your club in the first place.

And the only way to find out why a person initially joined your club is to ask them. Communication is the real key to retaining members.


Reasons for joining

People often join table tennis clubs for the following reasons:

  • They want somewhere to play regularly
  • They want to be with other people who share the same interest
  • They want to be kept informed about what's happening in the table tennis scene


Reasons for staying

However, people often remain as members of table tennis clubs for different reasons:

  • They feel welcome and their views are sought and valued
  • They enjoy the company of the other members
  • They become involved in the running of the club
  • They enjoy the benefits of their membership

So if you want to retain your members, it's vitally important that you regularly communicate with them. It's no good waiting until their membership is due for renewal before you contact them. If they're unhappy, it may be too late to retain them at that time.


So what are you doing to keep your existing members?

Here are some things you need to consider if you want to keep your existing members...

  • Do you help new members meet other members?

  • Do you know why each member initially joined your club?

  • Do you know what skills each member has, and whether the club can make use of those skills?

  • How often do you communicate with your members?

  • Have you asked every member if they'd like to be more involved with running the club and its activities?

  • Do you encourage members to offer their thoughts and ideas on how to make the club better?

  • Do you publicly recognise and reward members who are actively helping the club?

  • Do you regularly review your club activities and goals to reflect your members needs?

  • Do you invite members to meetings and involve them in the meeting?

  • Do you arrange regular events and/or social events?

  • Do you keep all members up-to-date with information on everything your club is doing?

  • Do you offer your members any special benefits?

  • Do you keep all members informed about all club activities?

  • Do you encourage members families to get involved with club activities?

  • Do you contact non-renewing members to see why they did not renew?

Remember, people who join your club want something out of being a member. So you should find out what they want and make sure you give it to them and keep them involved with club activities.

By doing so, you're much more likely to have them happily renew their membership.

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Increasing the number of members

Unless the number of members at your club is at its maximum, you'll probably want to increase the size of your membership.

Seeking and attracting new members should also be a continuous process and not left until you're in desperate need of more members.

So what's the best way of doing this?

Well, there are two main methods...

1. Make best use of your existing members

Increasing your membership will often involve using the same methods that you use to retain your existing members.

Remember, members join your club because they want something. You just have to find out what it is and give it to them.

So you need to have regular communication with your members and your prospective members in order to establish what it is that they want from your club.

By doing this, you'll be keeping your existing members happy and in turn they'll become great ambassadors for your club and will recommend it to others.

You should also make sure that your existing members know that you want them to recommend your club and recruit new members, otherwise they may not realise that you're looking for more members.

2. Self promotion

It's also very important that you self promote your club to the general public too.

Every time the club does something positive, you should try to get public recognition for it.

Contact local papers and magazines, local radio and television stations and tell them your story.

The more your club is talked about and recognised, the more chances you'll have to increase your membership.


And here's an opportunity for you to promote your club right now.

My site receives thousands of visitors every day so why not create a dedicated page for your club right here on my web site.

Your club information will then be found every time someone is looking for a table tennis club in your area.

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For more information about table tennis clubs, take a look at these pages too...

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