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Recruiting for Croquet

By Donald Beck

The Need For New Recruits

Every year an established club 'loses' 15% to 20% of the membership.

If you don't recruit then costs per member rise, there is less social interaction, and slowly the club dies.

People join clubs for -- what?

If you stop providing the opportunity for -- what? Then people will leave.

The WHAT Factor. Consider your members:

  • Social
  • Friendly play
  • Competition
  • Serious Competition
  • Golf / Association / One Ball / Short /.
  • Opportunity to contribute
  • Opportunity to organise
  • Opportunity to improve playing skills.
  • Opportunity to use skills; carpentry, painting, food prep. etc.
  • Somewhere to go

Identify What the Club Has to Keep Existing Members and to Attract New Members

How Many Recruits Do We Need / Would Like?

Factors To Consider

1. A Budget should deliver Fixed and Variable Costs.

From this one can calculate the costs/member with different membership numbers. Will people pay £x?

Can the costs be reduced?

  • Substitute members efforts for external costs
  • Renegotiate costs
  • Bargain hunt (within reason!)
  • Are there alternate sources of income?
  • Fund raising
  • Tournament Income
  • Grants
  • Commercial Events
  • Sponsorship
  • Alternate use of facilities.

2. How many Members / Players can the club accommodate?

3. How many new recruits can we accept each month / year?

4. Set a budget for recruitment.

5. Who is responsible for recruitment in the club?

Set Realistic Targets

Why Market A Croquet Club?

Marketing is very simply defined as 'Matching the right product to the right customer in the best possible way'

Potential of Marketing:

  • raising funds
  • recruiting new members
  • retaining current members.
  • ensuring the club is well perceived by others
  • maintaining loyalty of current members / friends

SMART Marketing

SPECIFIC increase X group membership

MEASURABLE target numbers published

AGREED by all involved / responsible

REALISTIC targets stretching but achievable

TIME LIMIT a time has been set

Marketing Makes Sense

SWOT Analysis of the Club

SWOT: Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, Threats


  • Quality coaching
  • Good Facilities
  • Offer competition local / national for all levels


  • Council youth development program
  • Potential sponsor
  • Sports promotion program

Build on 'good points' in publicity and marketing.


  • Low youth membership
  • poor performance from teams
  • poor administration


  • Neighbouring club is strong
  • Competing leisure activities
  • Other sports

Any training needs?

Are the 'best' people in the key roles?

Identify the USP (Unique Selling Points) of the Club

Ways in which your club is special

  • different and better than the competition
  • unique

For example:

  • Your club is open 12 months
  • Qualified / experienced coaches
  • Offer a safe sport and environment
  • Designated Centre of excellence
  • Club open to all ages
  • Both sexes compete on equal terms
  • Range of competitions
  • Teams at all levels
  • Social Program
  • Entry costs reasonable
  • Equipment costs low (mallets available for use of novices)
  • Welcome for newcomers including own competitions
  • Good licensed Bar / restaurant
  • Members include National Champions
  • Club Teams have won regional championship

Focus on USPs That Appeal to the Target Audience

Find The Target Customer

Target Groups Are People Who

share a common factor e.g.
Gender / Occupation / Age / Educational Background / Professional Background / Location / Other Leisure
Activities / Amount of Leisure Time Available / Age of Children / Live within catchment area
Travel time / Access to Club / Media Distribution Area / ...

Marketing for each target group;
Which media is best?
Which promotional material would be relevant
Promotional Material - An effective message will do four things (AIDA):

  • gain Attention
  • hold Interest
  • arouse Desire
  • elicit Action

Which technique would best reach the target audience: Publicity / Advertising / Schools Programs / Group Sessions / Open Days / Exhibitions / Croquet Events

Start Marketing

Marketing Checklist

  • Objectives
  • Target Groups
  • Assess Own Organisation
  • Involve Other Members
  • Market Effectively
  • Manage Resources
  • Maximise Publicity
  • Measure Degree Of Success
  • Refine The Plan For Next Year

Further Help

  • Smart Marketing, ISBN 0-947850-08-2
  • Finding The Funds, ISBN 0947850-13-9 (Out Of Print, Try The Library)
  • But Is It Legal? Fundraising And The Law. ISBN 0-7199-1221-0
  • Complete Fundraising Handbook ISBN 187-386-1218
  • Goal-Setting (Tape & Booklet) ISBN 0-947850-69-4
  • Sport Marketing ISBN 087-322-4493
  • The Role Of Voluntary Organisations (available free from the National Council for Voluntary Organisations.) Tel: 0171-713-6161
  • For information on prize draws and raffles, contact your local authority who will be able to advise on Betting and Gaming licences and how to apply