We’ve said it before, and we’ll say it again – these are unprecedented, challenging times. We understand that clubs across the UK have had to close their doors temporarily as part of the Government’s strategy to prevent the spread of COVID-19. Our good news stories article discusses many clubs turning their buildings into temporary food banks or takeaways, continuing to serve local communities even in the face of adversity.
Sports and social clubs are important community hubs. They offer a place to socialise, relax and connect with other members. It’s important not to forget the vital service clubs provide, even if you can’t physically open.
Keep in touch
You might have an e-newsletter subscribers list, or a database of postal addresses for your members. Perhaps your community is most active on social media. It doesn’t matter how you normally reach out to customers – don’t stop communicating with your community.
Let your members know any club updates or industry news, but most importantly have fun. Are you spending time working from home with a furry friend? Include photographs and encourage your members to send in their funny stories or cute photos too. Keep that community spirit up and remind your members that we’re all in this together.
If a customer has any questions or queries make sure you get back to them quickly, answering them as best you can. Even if you working from home sporadically, or have decided to take a break, it’s important not to lose touch with people who want to connect with your club. Transparency is so important, and customers will reward you in the long run if you answer them quickly and consistently. Poor communication now will be remembered, so your customers should always feel like they’re top priority.
You may be offering a takeaway or delivery service to keep business afloat during the lockdown, but have you considered fundraising to earn some extra cash?
Virtual raffles, online bingo or quizzes are a great way to encourage customers to donate to your club. You could also organise a fun online charity initiative such as Prostate Cancer’s #StayPuttChallenge.
Many businesses are also raising funds by organising at home beer festivals or tasting experiences. Safely deliver products to your customers and arrange an online conference call or pre-recorded video to guide your customers through the tasting.
Support your club members
Your members will be used to taking regular classes and activities, and exercising consistently. Help them keep up with their routine by sending home exercise ideas or offering online fitness classes with your instructors. Your sports teams can still connect virtually and train together – make sure everyone is connected online and ready for their workout. Even an online chat session helps to maintain consistency and connectivity, which is great for your members’ mental health.
You could also organise a virtual call with your members to allow those living in isolation to catch up and socialise.
We’re pleased and proud to hear so many clubs are supporting members of their community by delivering shopping and spreading positivity. If you know club members or their family require support, use your status as a community hub to ask for volunteers or local help. You can also use your newsletter or social media pages to share news from other local businesses that may help inform customers of new ideas or offers.
Major sports clubs are doing all they can to help fans. This includes making regular phone calls and offering support for vulnerable fans. Why not take a leaf out of their book? Contact your members personally to check in and see if there’s anything you can do to help.
We’ve touched on keeping lines of communication open, but what about proactively organising social events? Many organisations are running virtual pub quizzes or online bingo. You could even create a virtual tour of your club for new members. And to show existing members that you’re keeping your club safe ready for reopening.
Organising online-only events might seem difficult. However, there are many simple ways to organise a virtual event and lots of creative ideas to try out.
Find support for your club
Clubs are a vital part of British culture and shouldcontinue to run after the lockdown. You must look after your club and its finances now.
The government has announced a wide range of support schemes for local businesses. Industry bodies such as Sports England have also announced new grants for eligible businesses. For more information on accessing this support, visit our coronavirus resources article.
You mustn’t underestimate the impact of the coronavirus disruption on your own wellbeing, or the wellbeing of your staff. Make sure you regularly communicate with staff members and sign post them to additional help if needed. Mind has a wealth of resources to help people cope with the current climate, and there are several apps or online advice services available too. If you feel a member of your team isn’t coping well in isolation, or they have understandable worries and concerns about the future it’s important to open up, listen and share. Now more than ever we need to communicate openly and empathetically.
Look forward to the future
There is an end in sight, and we won’t be in lockdown forever. Give your members something to look forward to by organising a future events programme at your club. Whether your locals are bingo fans or enjoy a classic pub quiz, make sure there’s something for everyone. You could even put your energies into a big ‘welcome back’ party or fundraiser. Book local suppliers and entertainment to help support the local economy too.
Your members will want to remain positive and find things to look forward to. Give them assurance that things will get back to normal, and your club will be right there waiting to welcome them back once lockdown lifts. Offer incentives and loyalty rewards to customers who are prepared to book tickets or buy drinks in advance. This will encourage people to put your event in their diary and RSVP!
Do you have a good news story you’d like to share with the Club Insure team? Get in touch on social media!