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Understanding the barriers to club participation

News & Events / Understanding the barriers to club participation

Members are what make a club. They’re the passionate volunteers, players and people cheering from the sidelines. And importantly, they’re also the key to club revenue and having a strong connection to the community.

If you’re already a part of a sporting club, it might be tricky to see why others might refrain from jumping on board. Using a study from the Australian Sports Commission, we looked at the top reasons that stop people from joining their local club and how your club can address these issues.


1. Lack of time due to other changing life styles and priorities (the most common barrier)

A sporting club can feel like a big commitment, especially for somebody who is busy with work or family obligations. To make it easier for these groups, consider creating new games and events (like a ‘come and try’ day) that offer a smaller time commitment with the same connection to the club community.


2. Inflexibility of club schedule and fixtures 

Offering social games, as opposed to more structured and scheduled events, means prospective members won’t feel that they’re obliged to commit to long-term club competitions.


3. Lack of information about what participation options are available.

This is an easy win. Make sure that all of your participation options are available online, or perhaps on a sign outside the club rooms.


4. Financial constraints

This is a tricky one as most local clubs already offer the lowest membership prices possible. If you can, think about alternative membership options that you could offer – for example a seasonal membership, or a social player membership.


5. Perceived pressure to undertake non sport activities such as fundraising or club administration

Make sure that prospective members understand that there’s no pressure to volunteer once they are members. Often this is something that will develop as they feel more connected and passionate about the club.


6. The perception that clubs are “cliquey, exclusive, single minded and often highly judgmental of non-participants or those with a lower level of ability at sport”

This point is all about inclusivity. Make your club as welcoming and family-friendly as possible. Use the examples from this post to get started.

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