• Crowdfunding Basics for Athletic & Recreation Organizations

    by Emily Attwood February 2014

    Last spring, the City of Philadelphia launched its first crowdfunding project, raising $2,000 to plant a community garden at one of the city’s recreation centers. 

    Over the summer, 474 donors contributed more than $15,000 to help purchase a new mascot costume as part of Michigan State University’s Extreme Makeover: Sparty Edition crowdfunding initiative. A more recent MSU campaign raised more than $5,000 to create a softball scholarship in memory of a university employee and passionate softball fan who had lost a battle with cancer. 

  • Video: Augie Nieto Prepares to Walk on IHRSA Stage

    by Michael Gaio February 2014

    They told him it would never happen. As the paralysis gripped Augie Nieto's body and the awful effects of ALS took away his ability to move, doctors told him he would never walk again.

    But Augie refused to listen.

  • Sustainable Renovation: A Question of Return on Investment

    by Andrew Barnard February 2014

    The decision to renovate an existing building can be driven by many factors. Its age, location, relationship to other buildings, or historical significance may each exert enough influence to call for renovation rather than replacement. However, as with most building projects, cost and schedule considerations likely outweigh all others. 

  • 5 Ways for Club Owners to Profit from the Wearable Tech Boom

    by John Agoglia January 2014

    Fitness was front-and-center at the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas last month, as an onslaught of various wearable fitness technologies were unveiled for the gadget-crazed attendees. 

  • Fundraising Ideas for High School Athletic Directors

    by Dennis Van Milligen December 2013

    The pressure to generate more revenue on the high school level has continued to increase, forcing many athletic directors to roll up their sleeves and get more involved in the fundraising process. "Everything you do, you're asking, 'How can I save money?' or 'How can I increase revenue?' " says Karl Heimbach, athletic director at Magruder High School in Rockville, Md., for the past 14 years. "Expenses are continuing to rise and the level of income you bring in is either going down or staying constant. Fundraising has become one of my top priorities."

  • Are 'Normal' 5Ks a Thing of the Past?

    by Mary Helen Sprecher September 2013

    Are there any plain ol' 5Ks any longer?

    (crickets chirping)

    Really, I have to ask. Doesn't anyone ever just run a 3.1-mile race from Point A to Point B (or if it's an out-and-back course, from Point A to Point A)?

  • Obstacle Racing Faces Obstacles of its Own

    by Mary Helen Sprecher August 2013

    A friend mentioned to me recently that the sport of obstacle racing is in its adolescence. Do you think that's accurate? Does a sport have to reach the teen years to be in its adolescence, or does 'adolescence' just describe a stage of its growth?

  • How Oregon Converts a Practice Facility into a Moneymaking Party

    by Paul Steinbach August 2013

    How Oregon has mastered the moneymaking conversion of a practice facility into game-day party central.

  • Putting Together a Sponsorship Policy for Parks and Rec Programs

    by Emily Attwood August 2013

    Joe Brown knows how to make things happen. Thus far in his first year as director of the Reynoldsburg (Ohio) Parks and Recreation Department, he has raised $21,000 in sponsorship funds, nearly half of his $45,000 target.

  • Contests Boost Fun and Sales for Independent Health Clubs

    by John Agoglia July 2013

    You don't have to reward your members with gold to get them excited about coming to your club.The city of Dubai recently made fitness news when the city’s government offered gold, actual gold, to its citizens as a reward for losing weight. If a citizen shed two kilograms (4.4 lbs.) during a 30-day contest designed to combat the city’s growing obesity problem, they were rewarded with two grams of solid gold.

    While it is doubtful that independent health club owners can expect the U.S. government to make such a generous offer - and odds are insurance companies are unlikely to do much more than they currently do - there is an opportunity for club owners to boost use, retention and word-of-mouth marketing by offering rewards to members who not only join, but have personal success at the club. Best of all, there are ways to do this without breaking the bank.

    Whether the prizes are nutrition bars, water bottles, free tanning or personal training or even a month free membership, the prizes can be relatively inexpensive and will be appreciated by members. All it takes is a little creativity and some effective marketing to entice members to take part in a contest or special promotion. These contests and incentives will encourage your members to come to the club, get results and more importantly, refer their friends and family.

    One way of upping retention is to offer a contest just for coming in - especially during the traditionally slow times of the year.

    One club has had great success with a “come in to win” contest during the slow summer months. For each visit, the member gets a punch that equates to a ticket in a raffle to be held at the end of the summer. There are also bonus tickets for bringing in guests, working with a trainer, liking or following the club on social media and more. All of these steps help to build the club's brand and keep members coming in rather than handing in their cancellation notices.

    Other clubs are having success with fitness-based contests that not only keep members motivated, but also help turn their daily trek to the gym from a “have to” into a “want to,” by keeping it fun and creating a little friendly competition.

    For example, one independent club recently held a “race around Easter Island” for its pool members. Each member logged their laps swam along with the time they spent doing land training. The participants were awarded “miles” that they put toward a race around the “island.” The miles were displayed on a large white board, upping the competition and keeping members coming to the club as they raced for two free months of full membership. This contest not only allows members to gain bragging rights (and share those with friends and family outside of the club), but also integrates some of its summer-only members into the club, which may result in year-round members.

    Other independent club owners may want to up the ante a bit and partner with other businesses in the area and run contests that not only reward members, but can bring in new business as well.

    Partnering with a local cafe to create a smoothie or salad of the month that is tweeted or posted on Facebook can really engage members on social media and spread both businesses' brands—and by offering a gift card to a business that caters to like-minded patrons can boost sales at the cafe as well. Add to that the smoothie or salad being named the “GYM X” smoothie/salad and you can boost your club's brand awareness.

    There are plenty of contest ideas and partnership opportunities available to keep members and prospects engaged with your club, it just takes some creativity and follow through for independent health clubs to successfully boost business and fun at the same time.


    About the author:
    John Agoglia has spent nearly two decades either working in health clubs or writing about them. He currently writes for several digital and print publications and provides marketing strategy and content services to companies in and out of the fitness industry.