Contributed by: Harley Vague
2016 will see clubs gearing up for the new season and contemplating their strategies. Two years ago WFN orchestrated a survey of techniques used by leagues around the world for growing the game and to gauge their effectiveness. We repeat those suggestions with the addition of some new ones (from feedback) in a quick reference format and with a quick summation.
At a basic level it was found.
01. Word of mouth via players, friends or colleagues, was at least moderately effective 89%.
02. Formulating a website or Facebook page was at least moderately effective 75% (add Twitter)
03. Posting in prominent places like sports, shopping and educational centres, surprisingly had little effect 69% and modest effect 13%.
04. Media promotion, as in flyers, newspapers, radio, TV or internet also had little effect at 55% and modest effect 26%.
05. Tournaments or challenge matches of a promotional nature like I.R. were popular 60%, with about half having a moderate or better response at 27%.
Most of the following hadn't generally been tried or wasn't applicable to the club's particular circumstances but enough had made the effort.
06. Most hadn't paid media promotion as in flyers, newspapers, radio, TV or internet 67% with little benefit to those who had 22%.
07. Just over half had not participated in community sports gala events or fairs at 55% with 19% overall achieving moderate or better response.
08. Most hadn't secured the appearance of a prominent personality, player, coach at 69% but more were effective 16% than not 15%.
09. Just over half had not taken part in exhibition games at a more prominent event at 55% with 16% overall saying it was worthwhile.
10. About half had co-operated with other codes to share resources at 49% with about half having a moderate or better result at 23%.
Again, most clubs hadn't attempted the following because of the obvious difficulty but were generally worthwhile where attempted.
11. Most hadn't tried establishing women's football 55% but otherwise very effective at 35%.
12. Most hadn't tried establishing youth football 73% but those who did were more effective at 16% than not.
13. About half had tried establishing recreational football variants 53% with about half having a moderate or better result at 27%
14. Most hadn't tried establishing indoor football 75% but it was very effective in Northern climates only if the cost was moderate.
15. Most hadn't tried conducting junior football clinics as part of their club 67% or generated limited results at 12%.
16. Most hadn't approached other sporting or educational organisations to run with Auskick 58% or received limited response at 15%.
(Though difficult to achieve, more programs are being established by individuals and a potential argument for cost/benefit analysis funding)
Individual feedback suggestions that have worked at least once.
17. Using football variants as a fitness pitch and introduction to regular football.
18. Using social viewing parties, of AFL games or special events like G.F., ANZAC Day, Australia Day.
19. Working closely with local publicans and sponsors.
20. Closer networking and co-operation with local clubs.
21. Networking with Brother Club Project to widen links.
22. Approaching Universities as sources of recruitment.
23. Reaching out to Australians in the local community.
24. Exchange programs.
25. Differentiate between AFL and other sports.
With regards suggestion #25.
Most people start out by saying what it is not or as a mixture of other sports giving a somewhat non-defined image to the attendee.
Rather we could say that Australian Football is a free flowing game where the object is to move the ball downfield by kicking, catching and hand-balling
to within range of a target of two tall posts and kicking the ball through those goalposts to score.
We could also note the fact that a ball that is kicked travels far & fast and as such has led to a fast, physical, spectacular game with the minimum of overhead .
As it is a game largely without restriction, other football and other sports have some elements in common with Australian football.
The 2014 survey also delved into bit of a wish list and there was a wide range of suggested resource assistance.
One particularly strong theme that appeared was the desire to establish a stronger links with footballing Australians.
In that regard WFN has been trying to encourage overseas clubs to raise the profile of Australian Football overseas
by broadcasting their stories, by being pro-active in forging links and fostering co-operation within the footballing community.
A petition to raise the awareness of the AFL International Cup would be an example of that.
World Footy News