Looking Through Their Eyes

by BowlsSA1

If you’ve recognised a gap in membership at your club, you might be wondering how you can build numbers up.  A gap in gender, age, ability or cultural background; it helps to look through the eyes of the population you’re hoping to attract to your club to understand why they haven’t been involved before, and overcome those barriers together.

As part of their ‘This Girl Can’ campaign, VicHealth provide 4 strategies that can have a big impact on participation for women, and some ways you can start – or keep doing – each one:

1. Get Their Attention

  • Use photos that show everyday women of all shapes, sizes, backgrounds and abilities getting involved
  • Tailor your messages to be encouraging and positive
  • Get the word out in your local community – word of mouth and social media often work well
  • Partners with other organisations to engage with and reach new people

2. Tailor Your Offering

  • Ask women what they want when designing programs
  • Introduce a low-commitment way to join or try your activity
  • Encourage friends to come along
  • Try shorter session times or games lengths
  • Check that your timetabling suits the women in your community
  • Make smaller groups with more personal support and advice from the instructor
  • Try to use less intimidating or complex equipment
  • For sport clubs, consider volunteer roles for those who aren’t quite ready to join in yet

3. Build a Relationship

  • As always, say hello, use eye contact and learn people’s names
  • Chat about what to expect – and encourage people to ask as many questions as they need
  • Make a welcome offer/ promotion for new members
  • Offer mentors or buddies to make getting started as easy as possible
  • Encourage everyone to support newcomers
  • Reassure newcomers, be friendly and invite them back

4. Prepare Your People

  • Show empathy and be encouraging
  • Discuss challenges and fears openly
  • Help women prevent injury
  • Speak in a way that connects with people
  • Adjust activities to suit all abilities
  • Offer paired activities where possible
  • Provide activities that allow for skill progression
  • Reward achievements, even the small ones
  • Encourage social activities outside of sessions
  • Seek regular feedback

Taken from “Helping Women and Girls Get Active“, VicHealth

This Girl Can, VicHealth