Attracting new members...

zarathustra

Well-Known Member
#1
How do,

My branch of the RA, like many others, is really struggling for members. We currently attract about 10 people to our bi monthly meetings (they used to be monthly, but lack of funds meant we couldn't afford the room every month).

One of the members has set up a twitter account @MedwayRefs, and I have volunteered to pick up the cost for registering a domain name, and the first years hosting for a website.

As I believe that these days we need a social media/internet presence to get people involved.

But, we'd obviously like to attract more members to turn up for meetings.

A couple of ideas I've had are, on the website:
1. Have monthly competitions on the laws of the game, maybe with some cheap prizes etc
2. Regular online discussions on the laws, match incidents, Kent FA and local league news etc.

I believe the if we can attract say 100 new online visitors then we may be able to convert 50% to RA members, and maybe 10% of those we may be able to entice to meetings.

The branch is short of funds, so we can't currently afford educational sessions with guest speakers at the moment, so, how do the more successful branches out there attract new members, and more importantly, keep them coming back?
 

Paul March

Well-Known Member
#2
I think it's a battle between relevance to new members and existing ones. A L3 or L4 are looking to get something different from the association than the newer refs. I think too much time is spent discussing contrib experiences that leave those at grassroots feeling alienated. This is my experience having worked through the levels over the last few years- I have stuck at it as this style motivates me but for many they leave their first meeting unsatisfied and possibly feeling inadequate.

I am trying to get the youth section to lead more of our meetings. They are the future and will hopefully connect better with the new and young refs.
 

JamesL

Well-Known Member
#3
Might be worth working alongside your county fa for a retweet to help raise awareness of what you are trying to do. Referees are more likely to follow their county fa. I follow several local counties so you might get some attending from slightly further afield if whats on offer is right.
 

GraemeS

Well-Known Member
#4
I'd have thought you'd want to be focusing on getting every newly qualified referee in the area along. Offer a free attendance to their first meeting for anyone who's just qualified, and focus on showing them how it benefits them, particularly in terms of support when they inevitably do have a tough match.
 

zarathustra

Well-Known Member
#5
I'd have thought you'd want to be focusing on getting every newly qualified referee in the area along. Offer a free attendance to their first meeting for anyone who's just qualified, and focus on showing them how it benefits them, particularly in terms of support when they inevitably do have a tough match.
That is the tricky bit. I don't know what the course is like now, but on mine they spent 5 minutes talking about the RA and that was it.

I know a couple of the local leagues send out emails every now and then about the branch, but things like that will get filed away.

I'm 32 and the youngest member of the branch by about 10 years. The age difference won't be that big of a deal for older people who've just qualified, but how many 16 year olds want to spend 2 hours in a sport and social club with people at least twice their age talking about what it was like running the line at Dover Athletic in the 70s.

That's why I think social media is a good place to start. It will be easier to connect with the younger generations via twitter, Facebook or a website, we can still sell the benefits of RA membership, and if we increase our numbers then cash flow will increase which means we can start to run some sessions to attract people to meetings.

It's just getting the initial steps sorted
 

Paul March

Well-Known Member
#6
A number of CFA offer the RA membership free for the first year, new refs turn up for the first one, and we never see them again/or until they are on the promotion path...

As the new chair of my RA , my task is to ensure we are relevant for all referees.

I would also like the RA to link in with the CFA with regards to referee development and encouraging appointments- but I fear my wings may be clipped on this one
 

Cheshire Ref

Well-Known Member
#7
I am a member of a very pro-active RA and i think we are the third biggest in the country, we have over 120 members and i would say we have around 40% of these regularly attending the meetings and more depending on what we do.

We have a competition every month on LOTG there are three questions each month and at the end of the season whoever gets the most right gets a trophy. We have another award for new referee of the year, these guys and girls are watched by members of the committee and get a bit of mentoring along the way and then get points for attendance at meetings, performance in games etc. We have weekly fitness training sessions at a local facility. At the end of every meeting without fail we have chip butties. No body rushes off, everyone stays and has a chip butty and a pint together. I have made my best mates in refereeing through the RA.

The first meeting of every season is always a pie and pint night so we all get a voucher for a pint and pie and we have a Christmas social where again we all get a free pint.

For me there are two main reasons why i go to every meeting, one is for the crack. Some great lads to sit and have a pint with and not necessarily talk refereeing. The other reason is for the speakers we get and we get some very good ones. We have had most of the top PGMOL referee's at our meetings giving some brilliant advice, when these guys talk then you listen and from level 9 to level 4 i have always taken something from these sessions.

I also like the guys who come and tell you about what they have done in the game, we had Andy Garrett once and he did a talk on officiating the FA Cup Final, brilliant talk.
 
#8
I was part of my Local RA, went to the first meeting and really enjoyed it as it was interesting. I received the first couple of newsletters and then heard nothing since. I tried emailing the people running it several time and heard nothing back.
 
#9
how many 16 year olds want to spend 2 hours in a sport and social club with people at least twice their age talking about what it was like running the line at Dover Athletic in the 70s.
I know you already know that needs to change, but I think improving the content of the meetings has to happen before the engagement with potential new members. If they come to a meeting and get the old stereotype, you'll lose them and all your hard work will be wasted.

RA membership is free for the first year, so unless you add a charge locally that should help to attract new referees. Work with your county tutors to ensure it's sold on courses as the next step of their training ("the course is your first step, now go to your society to keep learning and developing"). If you can use those tutors to run sessions for the society, that continuity helps make it a natural pathway for all newly qualified referees.

Be careful not to put all your eggs in the social media basket. I run it all for my society, and engagement is nowhere near what I would like, or what I expected. I'm constantly surprised at how few of the new 14-16 year olds use social media.
 

PP62

Well-Known Member
#10
We have a competition every month on LOTG there are three questions each month and at the end of the season whoever gets the most right gets a trophy.

@Cheshire Ref As you know I've got the bloody trophy for the year!!! I don't quite know how I managed that.
 
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Cheshire Ref

Well-Known Member
#11
We have a competition every month on LOTG there are three questions each month and at the end of the season whoever gets the most right gets a trophy.

@Cheshire Ref As you know I've got the bloody trophy for the year!!! I don't quite know how I managed that.
Another one to add to your collection, i believe Mrs PP is going to arrange having a trophy cabinet built!!