Getting back lapsed members to the club

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David Blower
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Getting back lapsed members to the club

Post by David Blower » Mon Jun 22, 2015 6:29 pm

Has any club done this successfully. We are trying to think of ways to increase our membership (doesn't every club!) and one way was to try and get back old members who have previously being members of the club.

Mike Truran
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Re: Getting back lapsed members to the club

Post by Mike Truran » Mon Jun 22, 2015 6:38 pm

Keeping them on the email distribution list for news updates, match reports etc helps, but to be honest we haven't had many lapsed members return over the years, given that they usually lapse for a good reason (moving away from the area, family commitments etc).

David Robertson
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Re: Getting back lapsed members to the club

Post by David Robertson » Mon Jun 22, 2015 10:57 pm

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Last edited by David Robertson on Tue Jun 23, 2015 3:12 pm, edited 1 time in total.

Kevin Thurlow
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Re: Getting back lapsed members to the club

Post by Kevin Thurlow » Tue Jun 23, 2015 7:49 am

Most of our "new" members are people who have formerly played and now find the family has grown up, or they are now retired or widowed.

We sometimes get someone back after 15 years away, but I agree with Mike. You can add pressures of work as well.

MSoszynski
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Re: Getting back lapsed members to the club

Post by MSoszynski » Tue Jun 23, 2015 8:00 am

Mike Truran wrote:Keeping them on the email distribution list for news updates, match reports etc helps, but to be honest we haven't had many lapsed members return over the years, given that they usually lapse for a good reason (moving away from the area, family commitments etc).
Lapsed members will reconnect with you more easily than you will reconnect with them. They will know, or will find out easily enough, where you are right now; meanwhile their contact details in your records are ageing if not expired.

What you could do is try to contact them directly and individually, using the contact details you have, on the pretext of updating your own records and inquiring whether they went to remain on your mailing list.

The truth remains: if former members wanted you, then they would have found you already.

Alan Kennedy
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Re: Getting back lapsed members to the club

Post by Alan Kennedy » Tue Jun 23, 2015 3:52 pm

MSoszynski wrote:The truth remains: if former members wanted you, then they would have found you already.
I disagree. In Witney I used to make contact with lapsed members and ask why they left. if relevant, I then would explain why the club was now different eg more active club nights, more teams, better coaching and that often persuaded members to come back. Taken to it logical conclusion your comment would mean that all sales and advertising activity ceased. Had I left former members to their own devices they would not have know about the improvement in the club.

MSoszynski
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Re: Getting back lapsed members to the club

Post by MSoszynski » Tue Jun 23, 2015 5:31 pm

Alan Kennedy wrote:
MSoszynski wrote:The truth remains: if former members wanted you, then they would have found you already.
I disagree. In Witney I used to make contact with lapsed members and ask why they left. if relevant, I then would explain why the club was now different eg more active club nights, more teams, better coaching and that often persuaded members to come back. Taken to it logical conclusion your comment would mean that all sales and advertising activity ceased. Had I left former members to their own devices they would not have know about the improvement in the club.
Any Club should have its normal publicity, web presence, and so on, in constant activity. News and information about the Club - its improvement and progress - should be 'out there' all the while, available to lapsed members and newcomers alike. Taken to its logical conclusion, your comment would mean that only your very personal salesmanship would persuade anyone to rejoin.

Alan Kennedy
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Re: Getting back lapsed members to the club

Post by Alan Kennedy » Tue Jun 23, 2015 8:59 pm

MSoszynski wrote:Taken to its logical conclusion, your comment would mean that only your very personal salesmanship would persuade anyone to rejoin.
That is not what I implied. More lapsed members came back because we made contact with them but this was not the exclusive source of new or returning members. For new members most of the joiners came because of personal recommendation rather than what they had read. Some however just phone up on spec presumably having read the publicity material.

MSoszynski
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Re: Getting back lapsed members to the club

Post by MSoszynski » Tue Jun 23, 2015 10:36 pm

Alan Kennedy wrote:[...] More lapsed members came back because we made contact with them but this was not the exclusive source of new or returning members. For new members most of the joiners came because of personal recommendation rather than what they had read. Some however just phone up on spec presumably having read the publicity material.
Interesting, for this is not at all my experience. (I've been a club treasurer for about 15 years.) Lapsed members return of their own accord, not because they are pestered or poached but because their original reason for quitting no longer applies and they want to resume club chess. New members learn about the club from the internet or the local press far rather than from other players. Players who are new to chess altogether, new to competitive over-the-board chess, or new to the area, quite probably won't know anyone able to give an informed recommendation - so I'm surprised by your claim.

David Robertson
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Re: Getting back lapsed members to the club

Post by David Robertson » Wed Jun 24, 2015 12:11 am

Different folks, different strokes. That is: differences of circumstance.

Alan is seeking members in a one-club small town; Marek seeks members in a multi-club major city. Hence, what might work for Alan would unlikely be sensible for Marek

Andrew Zigmond
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Re: Getting back lapsed members to the club

Post by Andrew Zigmond » Wed Jun 24, 2015 12:51 am

I have been known to do a mailshot to lapsed members. Sometimes something received through the post gets more attention than a round robin email. Another technique is to speak to current members who might still be in touch with a lapsed member.

Otherwise all you can do is keep lapsed members in the loop with news which is easily enough done in the internet era.

The main thing that frustrates me is when members join the club, seem enthusiastic for a couple of weeks and then vanish never to be heard from again, even in response to an email follow up. If the club has done something wrong at least you have the feedback as data.
Controller - Yorkshire League
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MSoszynski
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Re: Getting back lapsed members to the club

Post by MSoszynski » Wed Jun 24, 2015 8:18 am

Andrew Zigmond wrote:The main thing that frustrates me is when members join the club, seem enthusiastic for a couple of weeks and then vanish never to be heard from again, even in response to an email follow up. If the club has done something wrong at least you have the feedback as data.
On two occasions an adult has visited the club, played some friendlies, and was keen enough to bring up the topic of the membership fee and insist on paying it in full, there and then, on his first visit to the Club. I never saw them again!

Shortcomer newcomers who are relatively weak may have got dispirited over losing most or all of the time with no signs of progress.
People used to online chess may not have adapted well or quickly to the lengthier play of OTB chess or may simply be bored by it (to their own surprise as much as ours).
All newcomers unfamiliar with club chess will probably be unprepared for the intense and time-consuming activity that it is. There will be the club night, plus the travel to league and cup matches on other nights, plus the homework of opening preparation and tactics training, etc. They will be emailed and texted with news of matches and club business, and be expected to reply promptly. <sigh> All some of them wanted was 2 or 3 sloppy friendlies occasionally and we're trying to turn them into sportsmen!

Clubs have done nothing wrong, it's just that many newcomers won't know what to expect or quite how they will fare OTB and how they will interact with the other members.

But let me end on a bright note. I've seen strangers march into the club, inquire about subs almost before they've said hello, hand over cash without them knowing anything about us, or we about them, and they've stayed with us for years.

David Pardoe
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Re: Getting back lapsed members to the club

Post by David Pardoe » Sun Jun 28, 2015 9:31 pm

Yes, this matter of bridging the gap between novice/beginner level and club standard is indeed a tricky issue.
Ideally, clubs need to run `nursery` sections, where the newbies can be gradually introduced to club chess, and hopefully mentored and encouraged by the more senior players.
It probably helps to have a group of several such players who can teach and encourage each other, and for the club to run some informal club events where such players can play some of the lower graded members...lets say a U80 standard event, maybe played at half hour per player per game, so players can play several games in an evening. But you also need an informal atmosphere where players can chat about the game and pass on advice etc..
Newbies probably need a season to get into the swing of club chess, so lots of encouragement from club members is most important.
BRING BACK THE BCF

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Jon Mahony
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Re: Getting back lapsed members to the club

Post by Jon Mahony » Sun Jun 28, 2015 11:29 pm

I tend to just keep every existing member (even if they have not actually shown up for 3 years) on the emailing list and send them every club email - you never know! The odd time I have been asked to delete them and have done so. In my experience Chess players can be an odd sort when it comes to club attendance - they can show up every week for a year, then drop off never to be seen again and with no explication.

I had one member who was regular as clockwork and had even come to a couple of congresses (only a few hardcore members of Leeds CC do this) send me an email saying he felt it was time to leave the club, no change in his behavior, right out of the blue. I strongly suspected he had been attracted by one of the other clubs in Leeds, but decided not to make mention of it and wished him good luck. I kept an eye out on Chess nuts, but no, said member has never played a game in Yorkshire again in 3 years.

I find in general though, the ones that start playing properly tend to stay, we get a lot of new members show up 2-3 times, find they are loosing the majority of games badly (I do my best to take it easy on them :twisted:) and leave without warning.
"When you see a good move, look for a better one!" - Lasker

Steven DuCharme
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Re: Getting back lapsed members to the club

Post by Steven DuCharme » Mon Jun 29, 2015 8:37 pm

the world is one big chess club
I float like a pawn island and sting like an ignored knight :mrgreen:

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