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Communication Traits of Youth Sports Organizations According to You!

In youth sports, is an organization’s online presence important?

With technology changing so quickly, it can be difficult to keep up with trends and best practices both socially and in business. Demosphere recently conducted a survey of youth sports organizations to find out exactly how they are using online tools to operate and communicate.

Online Registration

Based on the results, most organizations (89%) are utilizing online registration to allow members to register online rather than via mail or in person. Within those organizations, 87% of members take advantage of that flexibility.

Despite the high rates, how can we get 100% of organizations registering 100% of their members online? Perhaps some members are still getting accustomed to registering online, but as organizations continue to grow, online registration will continue to grow with them and hopefully allow them to scale faster.

Online Communications Tools

Although a small percentage of organizations still register offline, there are a couple of online areas where all of our respondents agree. All organizations have a website which shows that an online presence is necessary (and understood to be necessary) for youth sports organizations today. With an overwhelming amount of groups agreeing that a professional website is good for business, it is surprising to still see so many sites look homemade with outdated information.

In addition to having a website, all survey participants use email to communicate with their membership. Email continues to be the most effective way to reach people, but with the variety of online platforms available today, countless businesses and non-profit organizations find a comprehensive social media presence to be an important and useful tool.

Social Media Presence

Youth sports organizations seem to be a little reluctant to use social media. Having a presence on social media platforms may not seem important, but social media sites are a significant source of information for consumers in 2012.

For years, even large businesses have gotten involved in the social media space, so there’s obviously value there. It would seem natural for smaller, more nimble organizations to do the same. Although Facebook estimates 955 million active users as of June, 2012, only about 60% of surveyed organizations use Facebook to communicate. An organization that has a Facebook page and/or Twitter feed can communicate to current members as well as create awareness for potential new members.

Although information sent through email and social media seems instant, it only gets to the recipient whenever they decides to check his or her email, Facebook, or Twitter account. As a result, we were anticipating a higher percentage of groups using text messaging (SMS).

We anticipate utilization will rise in the future. Many businesses already use SMS to alert customers of promotions and some organizations have been utilizing SMS to notify members of field status changes. With many groups communicating every day, the obvious trend will be to communicate via SMS as many people keep their cell phones within reach at all hours.

Overall Observations

The Internet and other technologies available today offer an overwhelming amount of options for communications and operations. While it may seem daunting to communicate through so many different channels, it is important to reach people however possible in the areas they feel most comfortable.

Youth sports organizations are generally a year or two behind the curve when it comes to taking advantage popular forms of communication. Volunteers may think that communicating through different channels is time consuming, but it is actually quite easy to do and benefits the organization the long run. These groups should not be afraid to take cues from other businesses and individuals in terms of communication formats.

Detailed survey results regarding youth sports communications

Are there any new and exciting platforms you look forward to using with your organization?

What methods of communication have you personally found to be most effective?

Kris Baker

Kris Baker is the President of Demosphere and has been serving the Youth Sports Community since 2006.