Chapter 3

2. External communication: how to attract and engage

Well, in order to reach the point to search for your internal communication style, you first need to attract and engage your target groups in order to build an FFS team! Yes, it is a quite new concept. Yes, there are quite a few challenges as also described in the previous chapters of this guide. And yes, it is not always easy. But how can you build an effective external communication strategy to support your goal? Let’s find out a few tips!


(a) Reach out to your target group

First things first and it is rather logical that we always start our effort with what we’ve already got there! As a sports club or sports organization you probably already have a number or young athletes, children who are attending your training academies and guardians who are regularly bringing them to the field for their training.

So…the good news is that your candidates are already in the house! You have them there, bringing their children, picking them up and –most of the times- watching their training from the stands or hanging around in the field’s canteen. There you go! Attract them by offering an opportunity to spend their time with quality and have fun along with their children instead of waiting for the time to pass in boredom!


(b) Use your network

Remember what we were saying about networking? Well, it is time to use your connections and reach out to other sports clubs and organizations to join effort and work together in some FFS initiatives. It is logical that if this concept is introduced to your club for the very first time, your target groups might be a little hesitant and –at least in the beginning- not enough people will be willing to jump in right away! A very easy solution for this is to work with other clubs of your community, merge your “human resources” and successfully implement some FFS activities as a first step. After that…let the word-to-mouth trick do its magic!

(c) Pilot activities

As mentioned previously, it is quite understandable and expected that your target groups may be somehow hesitating and –in some occasions- even reluctant to be involved. In the majority of the cases though, this does not equal lack of interest or honest unwillingness to participate, but it is rather some fear that keeps them distant (remember what we said previously about the children’s and guardians’ challenges?). However, it is proven that people are more likely to join in some new challenge if they first see others trying it and –to say the least- surviving! In our case, it will definitely not be about survival, but about entertainment, satisfaction and positive change! So, the secret here is to implement some short pilot activities and invite your candidate FFS team members to attend the events as spectators to see with their own eyes the benefits of such involvement and even have the opportunity to discuss and exchange opinions with the existing team members.

(d) Social media

No need to say how modern life works, neither explain the importance of social media and the digital world. Therefore, it is obvious that a well-designed communication strategy to promote your FFS initiatives and disseminate the results of your pilot activities will definitely attract new members. Develop a social media campaign that reflects the profile of your sports club or organization, addresses the specific needs of your target groups, explains the benefits of FFS and invites people to try this new experience in a safe and inclusive environment. Even if such a campaign might not be enough on its own, for sure it will spread the word and intrigue the curiosity and interest of your target groups. At the end of the day, it is all about bringing them to the field (even only to observe) and you can take it from there!


(e) Exploit your facilities

No matter how technologically advanced our world is nowadays, the traditional means of disseminating a message will always prevail. You don’t need to go far – you already have the space and the first-line audience to transfer your message. Start by making some posters to present the FFS concept and your club’s initiative to start including it in your regular program, and invite guardians to get involved. Use your facilities to hang these posters and –once again- exploit the wasted time of those parents waiting for their children to finish their training sessions. It’s only about catching their attention and the rest will follow! At the same time, you can print fliers to distribute to your young athletes and they will definitely pass it to their guardians and there you go! The message is passed right away! Last but not least you can organize some info sessions with guardians or link it to some post game or progress meeting for their children.