Sports facility employees often opt to donate time and energy to worthy causes. Volunteering can be an uplifting experience for you and your staff, and it always has a positive effect on your sports facility’s brand. However, if you need any more incentive to volunteer, altruism also tends to produce plenty of valuable marketing opportunities, even when marketing is not the main goal of your efforts.
Last week, I talked to Brad Hall, a former minor league pitching coach who now runs Geaux Play Sports Training & Fitness in Birmingham, Alabama, about marketing his facility through sports camps. Along with the baseball camps he hosts around his own community, Brad also helps host baseball camps in developing countries such as Nicaragua, Haiti, and the Dominican Republic. He is actively involved in helping kids there get access to baseball equipment and training.
Brad began helping with the overseas camps years ago. As his passion for their causes grew, he started collecting equipment and donations for the kids and organizations he came into contact with on his trips. His Geaux Play clients got involved with contributions, then other people in the community who heard about the project started stopping by to drop off used equipment – people who might not have discovered his services otherwise. Some of those people became new clients. Brad’s efforts also made him plenty of connections in the community, and he even found himself speaking at churches in the area about his experiences.
Along with bringing in new clients by promoting awareness of the facility, Brad’s volunteer work helps with customer retention. Clients feel more connected to a facility when they do something meaningful that’s associated with it. Geaux Play’s web site features photos and video of all Geaux Play’s volunteer efforts abroad and explains how Geaux Play’s clients were instrumental in making it possible. “If parents bring out some equipment that they don’t use anymore and they know that a kid in the Dominican Rrepublic who doesn’t even have shoes will get it, they feel part of something bigger,” Brad explains.
Of course, the volunteer work is rewarding and enjoyable enough in itself, Brad says. However, getting so much recognition for his sports facility was an unexpected bonus. “We want to use our facility as a funnel to help people,” he says.
So, how can you use volunteering to promote morale and goodwill at your sports facility? Here are a few simple steps:
- Choose a cause you are truly passionate about
- Involve your clients and community in your efforts
- Continue these efforts regularly so that people get invested in the cause
As Brad’s work suggests, these type of efforts have a way of benefitting everyone involved.