Ron O’Hare reports on success at Lancashire Sun
It seems a long time since the days of letters arriving requesting day visits, later progressing to dial-up internet and now superfast fibre broadband, but have we all moved with the times? Speaking as Membership Secretary of Lancashire Sun - and not pretending to be an expert - I have to ask myself and others if we are taking full advantage of modern technology and the devices/systems now available.
The invention of Smartphones has made the recruitment procedure and the visitor response system a whole new ball game. My own methods include responding to emails within minutes, with a short reply thanking the enquirer and promising a more detailed reply later that day, judging from comments made when they arrive on site, this usually surprises them and prevents them looking elsewhere. Being able to store documents with directions and basic visitor information within the Smartphone saves me a great deal of typing, as the documents can be easily attached to email replies.
I guess there are always going to be the club contacts who answer emails promptly and the ones who may take an age to reply. As a BN club rep and regional newsletter editor, I take full advantage of being able to visit other clubs and swims, seeing and listening to various attitudes towards recruitment procedures. This helps me enormously as I can adopt the more advantageous techniques for Lancashire Sun.
My own experiences absolutely fascinate me! I encounter amazing attitudes, some saying we are just fine as we are and certainly don’t need new members, this after losing members on renewal day! Then there is always the quite bizarre expert ‘advice’ from non BN members who would like all overnight visitors to be BN members, obviously restricting visitor numbers accordingly. When I look around there are other obvious ‘own goals’ being scored by clubs including the requirement for the Membership Secretaries to make home visits to membership applicants!
But so far, so good at my end! With tremendous assistance from some club members, especially new recruits, we have answered questions in the best possible way, by increasing membership numbers at Lancashire Sun to a level not experienced for many years and attracting many more visitors from various parts of the globe including Australasia, in turn swelling the club funds substantially, enabling club projects to be completed.
We do live in an entirely different age to our predecessors and club recruitment is an enormous challenge and responsibility these days. I know how hard BN officials work to increase BN membership numbers and clubs too must adapt and regard our visitors as VIPs. They are the future of our clubs and are just as important, if not more so than long serving members. My attitude seems to surprise some committee members when suggesting that they should attend the club to accommodate visitors rather than visitors arriving to coincide with their presence.
We must eventually look at replacing ourselves too! When suitable candidates do join our ranks, we must step aside from our positions. Communicating and working with BN, both regionally and nationally has given me an enormous advantage and a fascinating insight into a marvellous community, being able to liaise with experienced personnel on matters relating to club etiquette, public relations, promotions and other procedures.
It’s been a great Journey so far! Do come and join us.