07 March 2024

Attracting New Members to your Club

Tips to grow the number of playing members and volunteers in your club.

Declan Murphy


Growing your sports club membership numbers is essential to the long-term sustainability and evolution of your club. A thriving sports club continuously attracting new members from diverse backgrounds and ages, while maintaining existing members, ensures the club can maintain a strong presence in the local community and promote their sport for generations to come.

Increasing your club’s membership also contributes to the financial sustainability of the club. Membership fees provide clubs with revenue for various expenses such as jerseys, gym equipment, facility maintenance and upgrades, travel costs, coaching staff salaries, and more.

So, let’s check out the tips we have for your sports club to attract new members.

Engage With Local Schools

As the saying goes, “Start them young.” By engaging with schools and their students, your sports club can attract new members from the next generation and their families, which may result in valuable lifetime members.

Reach out to school principals and PE teachers with the potential to introduce your sports club to the school’s students. When speaking to students, identify what sets your club and its sport apart from others and communicate the benefits of joining your club.

Also, offer the school and its students coaching during their PE classes. Schools will be eager to promote physical activity and sports participation among its pupils, so this collaboration with your club should be a win-win for both parties. It will also give students first-hand experience of playing your sport, while providing them with a vision of what becoming a member of your club will encompass.

Engaging with local schools will also give your club access to communicating with parents and guardians. Here, you can provide them with information about your club and address any concerns they may have. It’s also important with parents to emphasise the positive impact of sports participation on children’s physical, social, and emotional well-being.

Online/Social Media

Utilizing online sources and social media platforms like Facebook, Instagram and Twitter, can also be a great way to recruit new members to your club. Create a club website that is user-friendly including information about your club’s history, facilities, teams and age groups, and importantly, membership options. Ensure you do some research regarding search-engine optimisation for relevant keywords to the sports your club plays and its location. This will help your club appear higher up the list when people are searching on Google.

Social media platforms can also be an efficient source for recruiting younger members to your club. Clubs should highlight that they are actively looking for new members and highlight the benefits of joining. Share engaging content regularly, including updates on club events, photos and videos of club activities, positive testimonials from existing members, and other club-related news. Through these posts, you can promote your club as an important cog of the local community thus attracting new members.

Leveraging targeted ad campaigns through Google and social media can also help your club reach individuals who may potentially match your ideal member profile. These ads could reach people who have recently moved to the area and are actively looking to participate in sports and join a team. These targeted ad campaigns can be created to target people based on demographics, interests, locations and behaviours.


Volunteer Opportunities

Becoming a member of a sports club does not have to be associated with being an active player on a team. These types of members could get involved in club activities or volunteering roles such as coaching underage teams, umpiring or match officiating, collecting gate receipts at matches or being stewards at a sponsored event. Though they will not be actively playing for any of your club’s teams, they will feel a sense of belonging, purpose and satisfaction.

Attracting volunteers can be achieved by clearly communicating the positive impact they will have on the club and the community. Acknowledge their efforts and celebrate their achievements publicly through the club website, social media, and local newspapers. By creating this environment, you can attract dedicated volunteers who are passionate about contributing towards the success of the club.


Membership Benefits

It’s important to highlight the benefits associated with being a member of your club when trying to recruit new individuals. Offer attractive membership packages with benefits such as access to exclusive events and discounts on merchandise. Family membership discount packages can also be an incentive for families who have recently moved to the local community to become members of your club. Family membership packages also provide opportunities for parents to volunteer, take part in coaching training sessions, and actively be a part of their child’s involvement in the club.

Offering free trials also allows children to try your club’s sport first-hand without having their parents complete sign-up fees beforehand. It gives children the opportunity to see if they enjoy the experience before committing to membership.


Community Outreach Programmes

It’s important for a club to engage with groups that may be underrepresented in the local community, such as women, ethnic background minorities, and individuals with disabilities, to promote diversity and inclusivity within the club.

Clubs can offer these specific individuals tailored training sessions that are more focused on inclusivity and the element of fun rather than that of a competitive nature. A great example of these inclusivity programmes is the Raheny All-Stars which was established by Dublin-based club and ClubZap user, Raheny GAA. This special initiative was set up for children with special needs aged 9 – 12. The goal of this initiative was to include children who could not take part in a typical team game, assisting them with the skills of GAA in a fun and safe environment.

Another great example of introducing members to clubs was the Gaelic4Mother&Others initiative which was to introduce mothers and other women to playing Ladies Gaelic Football in a fun, non-competitive and social environment. The initiative provides an opportunity for women to get their weekly dose of exercise while meeting other mothers in their local community.


So, let us know how your club gets on with attracting new members to your club!