How to Get a Head Start on Summer This Fall and Winter

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For many of our community partners, we know summer is the busiest time of year. Sports, camps and special events abound. Just because the weather is getting cooler doesn’t mean the work is slowing down. Regular programming and administration need attention, seasonal details need planning and next year’s programming isn’t going to plan itself.

So, while the pace may still be hectic, when it slows even a little bit, how can you use your fall and winter time to the max?

1. Engage and Communicate with Members

Use this time to ensure member contact information, waivers and emergency information are up to date. Doing this legwork in advance will help future seasons run much more smoothly. This accurate information will also come in handy when you send out promotions, announcements and other fun stuff during your off season and before the next busy season.

On that note, entice people to keep in touch with you through call-to-actions on your website for blog or newsletter subscriptions. Contacts are good to have all year long, but it’s easier to capture new emails and contacts when there’s more traffic on your website.

Finally, thank your members. Holidays in November and December are the perfect time to thank your members for their involvement and business.

Tip: An online membership management system such as ACTIVE Net allows members to manage their account at the click of a button, anytime and anywhere. This encourages more accurate and current information. Automated email communication makes staying in touch simple and fast.

2. Evaluate Your Programs

The off season gives you an opportunity to take a broader look at your year. Reports that show how your organizations fared overall are critical, but it’s also important to drill down to specifics. How did participation change over the year, what offerings were most popular, most costly?

Beyond the financials, audit how happy your members were with their experiences. While keeping an eye on your reviews regularly is smart, the off season provides the opportunity to do a deep dive to analyze season wins and shortcomings.

Tip: A strong, centralized software solution keeps all data in one place, accessible to all at anytime. There is no cross-checking, misinterpretation or wasted time with an online data management system.

3. Streamline Your Operations

Imagine taking some of your most time-consuming administrative tasks like participant registration, facility bookings, cash-handling and payment collection — and AUTOMATING them. When you get away from paper, you will free up more time. We’re talking up to 20 hours a week, here.

Tip: Considering new, automated technology will help you increase your efficiency. In fact, the off season is a perfect time to upgrade your system solutions. No one wants to switch their system at the height of their busy season. Tackle technology changes now that will help you operate better when things get busy again.

The Value of the Recharging Season

Marcus Buckingham, leadership author of popular books such as First, Break All the Rules and The One Thing You Need to Know has said, “The best leaders I’ve studied all discipline themselves to take time out of their working lives to think. They all muse. They all reflect. They all seem to realize that this thinking time is incredibly valuable time, for it forces them to process all that has happened, to sift through the clutter, to run ideas up the proverbial flagpole and then yank them down again, and, in the end, to conclude. It is this ability to draw conclusions that allows them to project such clarity.”

When you find yourself slowing down at work even a little, give yourself some time and space to ponder possibilities. Ask yourself, “What does our team need?” or “What would make our organization even better?”. The off season is the perfect time to invest in staff training and development, experiment with new program offerings and events or research new tools that can elevate your work.

Whether it’s the busy or the slow season, we know your work matters, so make every day count.

Gina Calvert

Gina is the Senior Marketing Writer for ACTIVE Network, providing marketing and business resources for active lifestyle organizations across a range of markets, including government, nonprofits, YMCAs, Parks & Recs, camps, schools and endurance events, for almost 7 years.

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