Tag Archives: membership

Bushwalking 2.0 | Some Social Media Websites to Grow your Club

Once you have a social media plan to grow your bushwalking Club membership you may be wanting some ideas to help you implement it. Here are a few social media websites to help you get your message out to prospective members.


This website allows you to send short text messages (tweets) to other users. As mentioned in an earlier post,  it is a good idea to monitor what others are saying about you and other local bushwalking clubs so you can modify your focus if needed. Including the ability to “tweet” directly from your website allows visitors to tell others about your website and creates a snow ball effect. Tweets can attract traffic to your website and may appear in search engines.


 A club Facebook page is a great way to promote your “brand” and allow “friends” to send messages and post news to your “wall”. Many bushwalking Clubs already have a FB presence and if you were really keen you could place an advert. You can add share buttons to your website to allow visitors to promote your web page via FB


This is an ideal place to post photos and video from Club walks, which can then be used to promote your website, via links. They can be made publicly available or if you want kept private for only Club members. Flickr has limited value as a direct promotional tool but does help your Google ranking.

PS You could use the comments and ranking facility built into the site to administer your Club photo competitions.


YouTube is a video sharing website to which you can upload small video clips taken by your member’s smartphones or cameras. What better way is there to show what a fun Club you have than to post clips from bushwalks and other activities? Links in the video description can very effectively link back to your website. Videos rank highly in search engines.


digg is a social news site where you can place items, of news value to the bushwalking community, which can then be linked by other bushwalking sites and blogs. News items rate highly in search engines and can lift your prominence quickly if widely distributed.

StumbleUpon and Reddit

These are social news sites where web pages can be  shared and found by potential new members.


This is a social bookmarking site where you can share your bookmarks which might be of interest to other bushwalkers, instead of hiding them away in your website. If your bookmark list is comprehensive and has lots of keywords to help searching, you may attract lots of visitors. Have a link from your home page to your Club’s bookmarks on delicious.

For example: oz.bushwalkingskills bookmarks



Acknowledgement: Some of the descriptions were developed from The CMO’s Guide to the Social Landscape (2011) pdf

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Bushwalking 2.0 | A Social Media Plan to Grow your Club.

Social media are familiar to everyone and can help your Club collaborate, share, welcome, energise, update, compete, promote, plan, collate, produce, discuss, record, and present, using well known web 2.0 interactive tools such as Twitter, blogs, Skype, IM, YouTube, Flickr, Facebook, wikis and forums.

Web 2.0 tools can help you collaborate with other Club members to develop new resources, share the work load, make new members feel welcome, update guides and policies, run competitions, promote your Club to the public, plan events, collate, edit and distribute digital newsletters, promote discussion, and record events, skills and presentations.

Your members are probably already talking about your Club using social media. There are tools available to check what your target audience are saying about you: Google Alerts, Twitter Search, Technorati are but a few.

What are they saying? Is it positive or negative or simply non-existent? Do they have misconceptions? Do you want to capitalise on the opportunities available to promote your Club to new members?

The first step to grow your Club is to devise a social media plan, keeping in mind your goals and probably limited resources.

Some questions to be answered:

  • What are you trying to achieve?
  • What do you want to change?
  • Who is your target audience?
  • What sort of relationships would you like to form?
  • How would you like to change your relationship with your target audience?
  • What resources (time, people, money) are available to implement your plan and maintain it?
  • What have you already tried and how successful was it?
  • How do you intend to promote the changes?
  • How will you know if it is working?

NB It is critical that everyone in your Club hierarchy is supportive and part of the development of this plan. 

Read more about using social media and web 2.0 tools

Some of the ideas here have been adapted from the Museum 2.0 How to develop a small scale social media plan and the Museum Social Media Strategic Planning Worksheet

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Bushwalking 2.0 Pt 2 | Is your Club Ageing?

Does your Club have fewer members than it once had? Is your club ageing? Do you have fewer younger members than you once had? Is the proportion of younger members changing?

Many organisations are finding that their membership is dropping.

It could be due to a change in the way the community values membership. It could be because other commitments have reduced the amount of time individuals have to give community service or to be involved in Club activities. It could be because the traditional structure of Clubs does not meet the needs of younger members familiar with social networking and the ability to contribute on an equal basis without the traditional club structure.

There is no doubt that many community groups are finding that not only is their membership dropping but that it seems to be ageing. Committee members are being recycled with little new blood and where there are younger members taking positions of responsibility, they often only do so for a short period. A valuable exercise would be to find out why your younger members are not volunteering for positions of Office and especially why those who have experienced a short term on your Committee have not continued.

Another valuable exercise would be to look over your Clubs membership records to determine how the age profile is changing. Is the proportion of younger members really decreasing or are there just fewer of them because your membership is dropping? Is there also a decrease in the duration of membership, with younger members staying for shorter durations than they once did? Should we expect a decrease in the proportion of younger members to match the changing age profile of the population as a whole?

Whatever the cause, addressing this problem should be high on the agenda of any Club. Without tackling the ageing problem few Clubs can survive, as older members retire and are not replaced by younger and as the Committee workload falls on the same “old” people.

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Bushwalking 2.0 Pt 1| Re-energising your Club

Can web 2.0 tools reduce the workload on your Club Committee? Can using social media recruit and retain new members? Do existing Club hierarchies deter participation? Could a more democratic governance attract younger members? Do younger walkers expect different things from their Club than older “baby boomers”? Is your Club membership getting older?

Many bushwalking Clubs are suffering from an ageing club membership and struggling to find sufficient Committee members to share the workload. This is the first of a series of articles which will look at some of the questions raised and future posts will attempt to suggest some solutions.

By nature web 2.0 tools are interactive and collaborative and usually involve many-many interactions and user-generated content. They provide many opportunities to include Club members who previously may not have participated in any of the organisational aspects of your Club and, in so doing, take some of the workload from your Committee members.

Social media, generated using web 2.0 tools, provide the opportunity for Club members to develop relationships with others they may not have even met, develop a sense of belonging and in so doing welcome new members into your Club. Potential new members browsing the web will be comparing walking Clubs to get a sense of how easy it will be to join in  and become part of the membership. If they sense there is a “closed shop” attitude with “cliques” they will not join.

Often Club hierarchies may inadvertently discourage new members from contributing by “censoring” or “filtering” new ideas that don’t conform with the status quo. Web 2.0 tools encourage e-participation and are inherently more democratic and here lies the danger for some Committee members who may see such processes as a threat to their power. Change is often resisted by those who fear the status quo will change.

Younger generations often do not have respect for figures of authority who sometimes reside on Club Committees. They expect their views to be considered on merit and will often either actively oppose authoritarian, rigid and outmoded ideas or if they feel a lack of openness, may withdraw their participation or even membership. They are used to interacting via the social media with a large number of people, where their contribution is valued and not  filtered, according to their status in the organisation.

Does your Club have an ageing profile and if so why?

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Bushwalk Leadership | Is It Important To A Walking Club?

Few bushwalking groups contain people of truly equal ability (peers) and therefore to make a walk enjoyable for everyone requires a balancing act between varying needs.

This can be especially difficult in an organization like a bushwalking club, where members have widely different levels of experience and physical capabilities,  and are often reticent to express their innermost fears and needs to others in the group whom they don’t know well.

Those joining an advertised walk may have had a lot of experience carrying day packs but have had little overnight experience or have never carried a heavy pack. Some who were once able to scale peaks  with great ease are now aging. Some may have done all their walks in the Adelaide Hills or Flinders but have never experience alpine conditions such as those in Tasmania.

New walkers may have real fears but will not want to express them to complete strangers, especially during their “trial membership” period, when they have to “prove” themselves. If they don’t enjoy themselves, then they won’t remain members!

Someone in the group must take responsibility for needs of the group members. This person is traditionally referred to as the “Leader” but in many walking clubs this person doesn’t have the skills or even see it as their responsibility. To some “leader” means “organiser” and the role does not extend past that.

What a pity, as the members of a well led group will want to continue their membership of the club and promote it to their friends.

Further reading
Bushwalking Resources: a selection of articles listed in the right hand column of this page.

Leadership skills
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Tackling an Ageing and Falling Club Membership Part 3

Using Some Web 2.0 Technologies to Improve and Retain Club Members (Part 3)

Blogs (online diaries like this)

Do you want your Association/Club’s web page to be easily found in a Google search by potential new members?

 One of the best ways is to have new content appearing on your website regularly and what could be easier for your webmaster than having a member’s blog. Even better, good content will encourage others to link to your blog, positioning your website even higher in web searches. The more “followers” your blog has the better so offer the opportunity for people to choose to get automatic updates when you add to your blog.

Do you want greater ownership and participation from your members?

A blog encourages interaction between members and it is this interaction that is more important than the content itself in retaining members. Younger members are familiar with and welcome this high level of interaction that is missing from most conventional club websites. Your club leaders should take the opportunity to browse you club blog and to interact with new members

It is possible have contributions and comments automatically ranked and use this as a guide to what is popular and to respond and provide more of the same.

Why have a boring website that no one reads?

Sharing Photos and Videos.

Improve Club spirit by encouraging members to add photos and videos to your gallery. Organise an annual club photo and/or video competition using free web 2.0 photo sharing sites such as Flickr,  Picassa and YouTube. Don’t just upload members photos to your gallery, but ask them to comment and rate the photos posted. Offer prizes for the best in a variety of categories, using online voting.

Improve Participation by Improving Communication

Do you struggle to get “new blood” on your Committee? Have you thought about running Committee meetings online for those who can’t make it due to other commitments? How can members be reminded of Club events in a way that can’t easily be ignored?

 There are many programs around which allow you to chat with others and  to share good quality video and audio free of charge.

SMS is universal – nearly everyone has a mobile phone; it’s instant – messages are normally delivered in 10 seconds or less; and it’s reacted to by most people, more so than letters, emails or phone calls.

Why not try some of the ideas above? 

Don’t expect  to see a rapid uptake as it takes time for inhibitions to be overcome and for web 2.0 technologies to be accepted by those who are only familiar with the old paper copy or fax. Many people are happy to read a blog but feel embarrassed about commenting.

“Seed” your blog  by asking Committee members to regularly contribute until momentum takes hold.

Other posts in this series can be found by clicking on the membership tag on the right of this page
Post Options
Tackling an Ageing and Falling Club Membership Part 2
Tackling an Ageing and Falling Club Membership Part 1
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Tackling an Ageing and Falling Club Membership Part 2

Why should Clubs use web 2.0 technologies?
The key advantage of using web 2.0 technologies (social networking sites, blogs, wikis) is that they are interactive, with members communicating directly with each other, often in real-time. 
Does your Club funnel communications via your club office bearers or web master, who can sometimes inadvertently act as filter or even worse as a censor? Filters can often slow down communications and act as a disincentive to be involved in Club business.
Members using web 2.0 feel ownership of their communications. They feel empowered. Web 2.0 content is member generated and ideas are shared before being informally reviewed by others via the comments below each post. No longer is the Committee the sole custodian of the “club wisdom”.
Younger club members are likely to feel more at home in an organisation where a hierarchical structure does not inhibit their communication with each other. Before joining, they can immerse themselves in the club culture via the club’s website and decide whether they will feel at home and welcome.

Other articles in this series:

Useful Web 2.0 technologies
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Tackling an Ageing and Falling Club Membership Part 1

The problem

Most Clubs and Associations have in common an aging and falling membership. It is often difficult to fill leadership positions. Surveys of members will often show that they consider this to be the most important issue that their club leadership should tackle.

How do we tackle this problem? Can we use  web 2.0 technologies to help us? What could work?

An common goal of all clubs and associations is to recruit more, and preferably younger, members and then to retain them. Try to share the load better so that a few dedicated members don’t do all the work and burn out.

Older members might be tempted to send out an email or even a letter to existing members and ask them to approach prospective members. These can be expensive and ineffective with poor response rates.

Web 2.0 technologies involve interaction and are very familiar to  young people, with well known examples being FaceBook, YouTube, Flickr, Twitter. They offer the opportunity to interact with potential members who have never thought of joining a walking club and by the nature of the marketing technique, represent the target audience we need most.

All clubs need to spend some time marketing themselves using web 2.0 technologies.

Other articles in the series:

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