The Hawks Fastpitch Softball Club, affiliated with the Werribee Softball Association in Victoria, made further improvement from their success last season.
They achieved Homeplate status for the second year in a row in 2019/20, finishing six spots better in 3rd place nationally in Softball Australia’s Homeplate Ladder Program.
A year since the club rebranded to better reflect the direction of the club, and a move from Hobsons Bay to Wyndham, the Club smashed last season’s membership increase of 10%, posting a whopping 49% growth in membership in 2019/20.
Goals and objectives driving the club to success
The committee works constantly on implementing best practice governance and strive towards providing a professionally managed sporting club guided by their Strategic Plan. Their main goals for the season was increasing membership, improving communication, promoting the Club to a wider audience and continue to build a sustainable future.
Hawk’s President Jason Kriehn states, “The main focus for the Club has been working towards increasing the participation rate in all areas including playing, coaching, scoring, and umpiring.
“There is always room to improve, but we have been able to achieve this by focusing on retaining members and encouraging them to bring along family and friends, increasing our social media presence, reaching out to past players, promoting juniors to play in the senior competition and providing mentors for juniors in the senior competitions.”
The Club’s Strategic Plan continues to guide and drive the club.
“Our strategic plan has given us an aim of becoming a premier sporting club on and off the field. This has given the club a sense of direction and real drive into rebranding the Club,” said Jason.
“Additionally, the strategic plan has further aligned us with the direction that both state and national governing bodies have set. The strategic plan has five key objectives: Participation, development, communication, governance and sponsorship and promotion.
“We have already seen some great success with a major increase in participation and better communication across the Club. One of the major outcomes this past season has been the welcomed addition of four new sponsors including First National Westwood Real Estate, All Green Nursery and Garden, Ages Pizza and Sprinkles Ice Creamery.
“This has given the Club a greater connection to the local community and businesses whilst also giving us an increased ability to provide for our members.”
Membership Growth Success
The club achieved a massive 49% growth in membership which is an outstanding result.
“One of the major strategies that led to this result was reaching out and engaging with past players,” explained Jason.
“Whether this was by word of mouth or through our social media presence we were able to showcase the direction the Club was heading. Our connection with our past players was highlighted by our Past Players Day with a number of former members making an appearance.”
Another major factor was the Club increasing their social media presence which has resulted in the Club being able to reach a wider audience in turn helping to achieve several goals.
The Club also held two come and try days at a sports oval, located in the growing suburb of Truganina, in the City of Wyndham.
This allowed the opportunity to bring the sport to prospective members making it easier to access. Every participant was given a show bag with promotional materials from sponsors, the Club, Softball Australia and also contained a welcome booklet detailing where and when we play, along with other important information such as fees, uniform, equipment and contact details.
The rebranding of the Club a year ago, and relocation has also had a positive impact on the club’s growth.
“The change in name has given the Club a fresh lease on life. We have been able to expand our recruitment range and reach the wider community. This has seen several new players from different areas as well as several prospective members reaching out.”
In addition to membership growth, retention is also a key focus for the Club.
“Our current players and members are the most important part of our Club. They are the first people contacted when planning for a new season.
“Through our increased social media presence this has made it easier to stay in contact and engaged during the off-season. Due to the current climate our presentation night could not go ahead. This did not stop us though and we held an online presentation to acknowledge the efforts of our members,” explains Jason.
Utilising Homeplate Website
The Homeplate website has been an important tool for the club in assisting with the development of their strategic plan. It has also helped provide ideas for fundraising and sponsorship, ways to increase participation and to improve overall member satisfaction.
“One of the templates we are in the process of developing, and implementing is the committee induction template for succession planning. We hope with the use of this template, we may attract new committee members and they will have a better understanding of what is required.” explains Jason.
Helpful advice for other clubs
For Clubs looking to grow and achieve similar success, Jason has some important advice.
“Make the most of the skills, knowledge, and passion of your Club members. These are the people that make the club what it is and can promote the club and the sport.
“Furthermore, do not be afraid to try something new. As any business or sport, we must adapt to succeed. Look for different ideas to implement and be proactive in trying to reach a larger audience.”
The Hawks Fastpitch Softball Club can be followed on Facebook and Instagram at @hawksfastpitchsoftball.