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Four Cornerstones of Digital Strategy: Improve participation and grow your sport nationally - Part 1

View all · 01 Jun 2018 · revolutioniseSPORT

This article is the first in a series of four articles exploring the Four Cornerstones of Digital Strategy.


"We use technology, but to be honest with you, it's pretty rubbish."

This is the message repeated loud and clear by peak sporting bodies nationwide when asked about their use and understanding of digital technology in sport. Our analysis of over 150 governing bodies in Australia indicates that Australian sport is in the midst of change - a paradigm shift where governing bodies are no longer content with a technology solution that is "good enough". Sports are coming to grips with the fact that they must have a cohesive strategy to unify the direction of their digital assets.

Digital strategy is more than just 'having a Facebook'; it's about knowing how and when to use your digital assets, and being able to draw meaningful and measurable analytics to grow your sport in line with your strategic plan.

Here, we explain how sports can gain the understanding and practical tools to implement the four cornerstones of successful digital strategy:

1. Collecting meaningful data from your members

2. Analysing and drawing insights from membership data

3. Maximising the reach and impact of social media

4. Building a strong, integrated and professional website

Cornerstone #1: Data Collection

Where would sport be without its members? The number one priority for State (SSOs) and National (NSOs) Sporting Organisations should be its members - attracting new members and engaging existing members.

And while digital technology has proved itself an invaluable asset in growing the membership pool, interviews conducted across more than 150 N/SSOs around Australia revealed that most had no concrete plans to design or implement a digital strategy to lower the barriers to entry.

There is plenty of discussion identifying the need to lower entry barriers. What is missing from this discussion are specific ways to achieve this.

Below we outline a number of practical steps that S/NSOs can implement to encourage participation and improve growth through the use of digital member management. Consider whether these measures are feasible within your current solution.

Prior to the new membership year:

  • Rationalise your membership types. Simplifying your categories of membership will reduce cognitive load on the prospective member - “less is more”.
  • As well as competitive members, capture your social and recreational members, including those who attend one-off events.
  • Capture your non-competitive officials, life members, staff and volunteers.

During the membership period:

  • Be clear on which level (local, state or national) registration occurs. Do they become a member of your organisation when they register? If registering at the SSO level, do they become a member of the NSO too (and vice-versa)?
  • Collect demographic data - but not beyond what is necessary, as potential members will be discouraged by having to disclose too much detailed personal information.

Maintaining your membership:

  • Consider a membership system that can split payments automatically between you and your peak body - this will free up time previously tied up with the transfer of funds, and will ensure that each level receives their correct portion at the same time.
  • Avoid custom-built systems - the more customised and bespoke your solution becomes, the harder it will be to maintain, update and extract meaningful insights.

Stay tuned in the coming days for our second article, Cornerstone #2: Data Analysis and Insights, to learn more about drawing relevant and actionable insights from your membership data.


Teresa Simonetti is the Digital Director at revolutioniseSPORT, the emerging market leader in online sports management in Australia. The platform services a range of grassroots clubs and peak sporting bodies, and currently supports over 125 governing bodies in Australia. To find out more, visit


Originally published on LinkedIn.