Engage regularly with your members to achieve your aims
Olympians join their National Olympians Association because they want to stay part of the Olympic community, to get benefits and to give back. Your job is to ensure they are involved so that they come to events and take part in projects. How do you do that? By talking to them on a regular basis via text, Facebook, Whatsapp, email, Instagram, etc.
Regular communication is key to engaging your members, to creating, maintaining and developing strong relationships, and to getting things done.
The quality and quantity of your communications is crucial to successfully build your NOA. To be successful you need to take these four factors into account:
Olympians are more likely to get involved if your message looks good and is easy to understand. Short sharp messages, as few words as possible, big pictures, lots of white space, one idea at a time, no clutter. Less is more when it comes to design. Good design attracts attention and allows your message to shine.
Here are some easy to use templates which you can adapt to your specific needs.
- PowerPoint template
- Newsletter template (two-pages and multi-pages)
- Event Agenda template
- Report Memo template
- Curriculum Vitae template I and template II
- Business card guidelines and template
A channel is the method you use to communicate, like email, Facebook or radio. What works for some may not work for others and may change over time, so you need to stay on top of things and be ready to adapt.
What should you use?
To decide what the best communication channels for your NOA are, find out what your members are already using and try to fit their preferences.
Use as many platforms as you need. You may find you need different channels for different groups of your members.
Keep in mind
Social media channels can be high maintenance and require frequent posting to keep members engaged. Start small. Don’t commit to too much and then fail to deliver.
Communication works both ways. Your communication channel should also provide the opportunity for your members to respond, give input, feedback and contribute.
The most popular channels used by NOAs
- Social Media
- Magazines / newsletters
The content can look as pretty as you like but with no message or story, it will not be effective. A picture can tell a story sometimes more effectively than words. So start by working out what you want to say, then say it clearly and simply in as few words as possible, And try to include a call to action if possible.
Call to action
See this? Now do that. Phone this number, sign that petition, volunteer for that event. That’s a call to action.
People respond to passion.
They want their lives to have a purpose and you can help to provide that. That is what WOA and your NOA is all about, making the world a better place through sport. Empowering Olympians and looking after their needs, your content needs to reflect that in a genuine, heartfelt and straightforward manner.
What should you be communicating?
What you are doing, what other associations are doing, what the WOA is doing, resources for Olympians, upcoming events, interesting pictures that showcase what Olympians are doing or express the Olympic values.
Prizes and other incentives such as OLY pins (see OLY Presentation Delivery Guide) work really well. Make feedback and interaction with your messages fun by using polls, online surveys and quizzes. Good platforms to use are:
- Survey Monkey
How should you write?
You should write like you speak and not like an official document:
“We’ll be talking to…” rather than “We will be engaging in conversation with...”
Write in an active style:
“Join us to clean up our beaches.” Not, “there will be a beach cleaning exercise on April 30th.”
Figure out ways to make the organisational content below interesting and relevant to your members. Don’t just copy and paste. Cut the corporate speak, make it active and find the local and/or human angle, where possible.
- News from WOA
- News from the IOC
- Athlete365 resources
- Updates on your NOC Athletes’ Commission projects / initiatives
- Updates on your NOC
How often should you post? That depends on the content you have and the platforms you use. Social media demands every day contact, websites much less. You should decide what works best for your members, or groups of your members: daily, weekly, monthly, quarterly.
Do be mindful of data protection and privacy laws in your country and provide an option to opt-out of receiving communications.
Time your content
For instance, if it is weekly and by email, is it better to arrive in their inbox on a Friday or a Monday, or in the morning or evening? Which will get the most attention with the least competition from other peoples’ messages?
Avoid sending too many messages
But don’t stay silent for too long either. Only you can work out what works best for your members. And remember, every communication should have a point. What are you trying to achieve with this piece of communication? Then see how well it works in achieving your goal.
If it doesn’t work, try another approach. And another if needed. Don’t be afraid to experiment until you hit on the right approach.
Here are some examples from NOAs.
Updated on 10 December 2019