In this comprehensive guide, we outline seven methods that National Governing Bodies (NGBs) can use to effectively acquire new members and expand the reach of their communities.

For NGBs, being able to consistently attract new members is paramount to ongoing growth, success, and sustainability. As sports organisations strive to expand their reach and impact, it is essential to implement an effective member acquisition strategy.

Why your sports organisation needs an acquisition strategy

Before analysing the specifics, it is essential to understand the reasoning behind well-defined acquisition strategies being so important. An acquisition strategy serves as a roadmap for your efforts to attract new participants and outlines the necessary steps and tactics used to convert potential members into active participants. Without a clear acquisition strategy, you may struggle to effectively target and engage participants, and miss important growth opportunities.

The acquisition cycle: What happens and when?

The acquisition cycle encompasses three key stages: lead generation, nurturing leads, and conversion. Each stage presents unique opportunities and challenges for engaging potential members. At the lead generation stage, NGBs focus on identifying and attracting individuals who may have an interest in their activities and initiatives. This could include actual participation in the sport itself, attendance at events, enrolment on courses or certifications, and much more. 

Nurturing leads involves building relationships with those prospective members and providing valuable information that educates and engages them further. Finally, the conversion stage involves encouraging prospects to take action, sign up, and become active members of a sporting community. Understanding the mindset, habits, and preferences of potential members at each stage is crucial for tailoring effective acquisition strategies that resonate with them.

Retention vs acquisition

While acquiring new members is essential for growth, retaining existing members is equally important for sustaining long-term success. It is extremely important to strike a balance between the two, to foster a thriving sports community. While acquisition strategies focus on attracting new members, member retention strategies aim to keep existing members engaged and satisfied with their experience. By investing in both acquisition and retention efforts, NGBs can create a sustainable ecosystem that consistently supports growth and community engagement in the long term.

7 powerful member acquisition strategies for sports organisations

In this section, we explore seven powerful strategies that can help your sports organisation attract and convert potential members.

Membership perks

Offering enticing perks and incentives can significantly influence a potential member’s decision to join your organisation. From exclusive discounts to special access to events, providing valuable benefits can incentivise individuals to become active participants in your community. By highlighting the unique advantages of your membership scheme, you can create a compelling value proposition that resonates with your target audience.

Utilise urgency

Creating a sense of urgency through limited-time offers and promotional incentives can compel potential members to take action and join your organisation. Leveraging urgency, especially during off-season periods, can effectively drive acquisition and encourage immediate engagement. By leveraging time-sensitive promotions and exclusive offers, organisations can create a sense of excitement and urgency that motivates individuals to become members.

Teaser content and exclusive access

Providing previews of premium content or exclusive benefits gives potential members a glimpse into the value they can expect when they join your organisation. By offering access to exciting content and experiences, you can motivate them to become fully-fledged members. 

Examples of this could include sneak peeks of upcoming events, early-bird access to courses and certifications, or discounts with your organisation’s strategic partners. By showcasing the unique experiences and opportunities available to members of your organisation, you can attract individuals more effectively.

Collaboration and partnerships

Strategic partnerships can enable you to offer additional member benefits which amplify your organisation's value proposition. Through these partnerships, you can expand your reach, access new resources, and provide enhanced experiences that resonate with potential members. 

Collaborative initiatives can include joint events, co-branded promotions, and shared resources that add value to the membership experience. By leveraging the strengths and resources of strategic partners, you can create compelling incentives that attract individuals to join your organisation.

Gamification solutions and other innovative tech products

In an increasingly digital sporting landscape, integrating innovative tech products such as gamification solutions into your member acquisition strategy can have a significant impact. An example of this can be seen in the arcade-style mobile game which USA Archery developed alongside gamification experts CherryHub

The game is accessible through a QR code and/or weblink, and represents a fun way to capture the attention of prospective members. Innovative tech products such as mobile apps or virtual reality experiences provide immersive platforms for users to engage with your sport for the first time. By embracing these cutting-edge approaches, NGBs can differentiate themselves, captivate potential members, and position themselves as industry innovators.

Streamlined communications

Clear and concise communication is essential for effectively engaging potential members. Utilising personalized email campaigns and optimising communication channels can ensure that messaging resonates with your target audience, driving engagement and conversion rates. For example, by segmenting your audience based on demographics, interests, and behaviour, you can tailor communications to address specific needs and preferences. 

Additionally, leveraging automation tools can streamline communication processes and ensure the timely delivery of relevant content to potential members. By providing valuable information and resources through targeted communication channels, NGBs can build trust and credibility with their audience, ultimately driving higher acquisition rates.

Referral incentives

Harnessing the power of member referrals can be a game-changer for any NGB’s acquisition efforts. Offering incentives for member referrals encourages existing members to advocate for your organisation, expanding your reach and credibility within the sports community. 

By incentivising referrals with rewards such as discounts, exclusive access, or membership perks, NGBs can motivate members to share their positive experiences and recommend your organisation to others. By leveraging the networks and influence of your existing members, you can attract new individuals who are more likely to engage.

Book a Demo

We could tell you how the Sport:80 Platform can serve your needs - streamlining processes, saving money and creating an exceptional experience for members, athletes and coaches - but why not just see for yourself?

Your demonstration is live and will be tailored to your needs so you can ask questions as we delve into the incredible range of functionality available within the Sport:80 Platform.

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Streamlined membership management with the Sport:80 Platform

Implementing a dynamic member acquisition strategy is essential for attracting new members and fostering growth within your organisation. By leveraging the strategies outlined in this guide and utilising the extensive membership management features available within the Sport:80 Platform, NGBs can elevate their acquisition efforts and build vibrant and engaged communities.

Get in touch to discover how Sport:80 can empower your organisation's membership growth journey, or book a demo to see the Sport:80 Platform in action.