In Part 1 of the Modern Ski Club, based on the figures available, the number of ski and snowboard clubs is stable. In saying this it cannot be over looked that there are still ski and snowboard clubs struggling. So in Part 2, we looked at the issues affecting struggling clubs. These issues were narrowed down to; finding new members, relationships with National Ski Associations and financing. Now in Part 3 we take a look at some of the best practices employed by clubs to over comes these challenges.
Finding new members
Gone are the days were by simply having a club means new members will automatically join. In a landscape filled with other sports options as well as electronic challenges e.g. video games and mobile phone, clubs need to directly engage with their future members. One of the best places to start, is with kids events.
Kids events do not need to be complicated. For example if your club can host a day of free/discounted lessons for kids, free/discounted ski passes for kids or free/discounted rental of kids equipment then you are on track for a successful event. This is because actions such as those listed above breakdown common barriers for parents to get their children into snow sports. From experience in the FIS Bring Children to the Snow campaign, many services providers of these items are happy to support clubs given their existing connection with the local community.
Another method of directly engaging with the next generation is to become active on their communication channels i.e. Facebook, YouTube, Twitter and/or Instagram. What is more, is that these platforms are free charge to join and can reach a large audience. For clubs thinking of engaging in social media here a some useful tips:
- Pick two to three channels at max. The best to begin with are Facebook, YouTube, Twitter and/or Instagram.
- You don’t need fancy devices. A smart phone is a great tool.
- Content does not need to be complicated. Videos or photos from morning training sessions, the mountains, club races, other events and results make for great posts
- Content needs to only be posted 3 – 4 times a week.
HINT: Tag your club members in photos and videos. This will enable their friends to engage in the page as well.
Relationship with your National Ski Association
We reached out to clubs who have a good relationship with National Ski Associations and asked for their tips. Here are the top three for developing a relationship with you National Ski Association:
1. Locate your National Ski Associations website: If you have not visited yet your National Ski Association website do so. Websites are home to mountains of information from membership requirements, benefits to being a member, grants for your athletes and also competition information. Can’t find what you are looking for? Send an email or give them a call.
2. Check if your club is registered: Each National Ski Association will have a different set of requirements for a club to register; this may include an annual registration. Check if your club is registered and if your registration is valid. If it is not update your registration.
3. Attend annual meetings and vote: Just like FIS is a federation of National Ski Associations, National Ski Associations are federation of ski and snowboard clubs. This means they will hold an annual or biennial congress where clubs vote on proposals. Each National Ski Association will have a method of submitting proposals. This method can usually be found on the National Ski Associations website. Finally, only registered clubs will be eligible to vote so ensure your club is registered.
The first thing which needs to be developed for any financial discussion is a budget. Budgets allow clubs to understand what is really required and what a “luxury” is. To help develop your budget use the link below to download a Microsoft Excel budget template:
Once your budget has been established it is time to generate funds. Keep in mind that you want to first cover your expenses and any leftover funds are a bonus. The following are three areas of generating extra funds:
1. Club members: Each ski and snowboard club may charge a fee to be a part of the club. This fee should be reasonable as your members will have other costs e.g. equipment, travel etc.
The best way to justify your fee is to list what services you offer. If people agree then they will be happy to join. If not you may need to look at lowering your fee.
2. Sponsors: A common go to for funds are sponsors. The best place to start is local. Approach local banks, building companies, car dealerships and other business who have a clear interest in your local community.
When approaching a sponsor, be clear how the sponsor will be incorporated into your club e.g banners, uniforms, website etc. If you can place this information in a document as a plan along with a clear amount then you are in good shape.
3. Think outside the box: In part 2 of the Modern Ski Club, Ski Club Zondal created additional funds from opening a kiosk near their facility. Other ideas can include a “food and hot drinks trailer” at ski resort car parks or a ski and snowboard school.
Look at what resources your club already has and try repurpose them e.g. a service room can become a ski and snowboard waxing service.
The importance of ski and snowboard clubs to the future of snow sports is vital. FIS hopes that the information presented in this three part series will be useful in some form. We encourage you to share the information presented with other local clubs and other local snow sports stakeholders.