The life blood of a club is active and return members. If you are just starting out or struggling to grow, check out the tips below to get the most out of your student body.
Lower your Dues
Quidditch is a unique and fun sport, but most people haven’t heard of or seen it played. Since most people will still associate quidditch with the books, it can be hard to get them to try playing if your dues are too high. Remember – dues don’t have to pay for everything, they should just get people to come back.
A good range for dues is the $10-$15 per semester range, with a discount for signing up for the whole year. The lower price keeps the game accessible for people to try, since they can walk away without losing much if they don’t like it. The majority of people who try quidditch continue to play quidditch, but different people want different things from the sport – keep this in mind.
How can you operate on so little?
Make things optional and extra – let them wear team colors if they don’t want to buy a team shirt, and let teams order their own shirts for their team. Their shirts won’t be made of Sportswear 9K Awesome, they will probably be colored cotton with a simple one or two color design on them. Most players at your school are going to be semi-competitive and they will probably be playing hung over from the night before – the shirt material really doesn’t matter for these teams.
Sell needed equipment to players at a slight markup as a fundraiser – they need a broom and a headband, and they can’t buy quidditch brooms locally (yet). Let them buy both for an extra $10 or so – it gets them the equipment they need to play, and for less than they could buy them for anyways.
Traveling teams pay more. As I mentioned earlier, different players are looking for different things. Think of it like a computer sale – you have the base price, but you can add to that price to get more out of the product depending on what you want or can afford.
À la carte Membership
Like any sport, different people like playing at different levels. Some people want to travel and compete and others may want to scrimmage once a week to relax – cater to both of these groups.
The main body of the club should be casual players. They won’t be willing to pay much to play, but they also don’t ask for much. This group is your foundation – the nursery and vacation spot.
What makes casual players so important?
They provide a large pool of active members who have varied interests and education, while providing a limited time commitment. Having a large pool makes joining easier and more natural especially for introverts. No one likes being the odd man out.
It keeps players active. Everyone has had a tough semester at some point, and if you haven’t it is coming. A normally competitive player may not have the time for multiple practices and out of town tournaments one semester, but having the casual option keeps them involved with the club and increases the chance they will return as a regular once they have time again.
It provides a nice learning environment for new players. Some people will become more competitive the longer they play, not all of us have played a contact sport before this.
The Tournament Team
Don’t forget this group – they are your evangelical members who will drive growth and be the face of your club. Many of these members will become officers one day if they aren’t already, and they are willing to pay more. By fundraising and seeking donors you can help offset their travel expenses and nicer jerseys, but expect them to pay for the rest out of pocket. It’s not cheap, but they will do it – it’s what most teams have done for years without much issue.
Practice can be fun, but it’s still practice. People want games, and they want more than one team to play against.
- You can stick with the house names – oddly enough they work pretty accurately, or let teams name themselves. These teams don’t travel, they only play each other – they’re casual players.
- Only build the teams you can populate that semester. Four teams of 14 are better than eight teams of 7.
- Have captains set and publish two practice times a week. This lets players sign up for a team they can practice with, and multiple practices allow for players to be more or less involved depending on their schedule and interest.
- Co-captains work pretty well for teams. It helps to make sure at least one captain can always make a practice, and adds flexibility in the event of a big test or paper.
- Let players sign up for their own teams. It lets them be with friends if they want to, and you can rebalance the teams if neccessary. Just ask the player you want to move before doing so.
- Have fun. People do things they like, and that’s why so many people have stayed with quidditch. This is the only sport I have seen where teams can be blood thirsty on the field, and five minutes later be laughing and hanging out with each other. We have a unique community that likes being friendly off of the field. It’s a big factor in retaining members year after year.