The medium and long-term impact on charities and community organisations normally funded by the community club industry in the tune of hundreds of millions of dollars, is at risk. This is caused by a multitude of impacts including the shutdown due to COVID-19, slow recovery of trade after initial spurt, loss of Job Keeper, ever-increasing overheads, increases in compliance and tax costs in an industry that has not been allowed to keep pace with CPI increases for over 20 years and the $3.5 billion casino only two years away. Governments and communities need to ask themselves, will the government fund the multi-million dollars of support provided to the community by community clubs, to say nothing of the social and junior sports environment that community clubs provide, particularly in the regions?
You do not need to go any further than Bundaberg to see the hundreds of thousands of dollars and thousands of children and adults who participate in sport and social activity. In Bundaberg this is subsidised by various organisations including The Waves Sports Club, Bundaberg RSL, and Brothers Sports Club.
Many clubs, fearful of the unknown and no apparent improvement with the impediments being placed on the industry, are finding it necessary to curtail all their community contributions for the foreseeable future.
Our industry needs to do a much better job promoting our benefits to local politicians, whether they be Federal, State or Local and the local community, by banding together as an industry to promote the benefits we provide. We need to be prepared to fund extensive public relations campaigns at a grassroots and state-level.
There are certainly external factors aggravating the challenges our industry faces, however the solution will be what the key players in the industry are prepared to do for themselves. A great opportunity is for your club annual reports to include stories and photos about why your club exists; this should occupy the first front pages of any club’s annual report. Few members, or anyone else for that matter, will read lengthy Presidents, General Managers or Treasurer’s reports we are legally required to include in an annual report.
Some of our more progressive clubs produce an infographic that spells out all the community benefits in pictures on one page that is circulated to every influencer in their community, including of course the members. If you would like a copy of one of these documents to see how it’s set out, drop me an email at email@example.com.
Know the key influencers with your community, including local politicians, and invite them to every opportunity to hear the club’s good news stories. Make the extra effort of connecting with business and community leaders, such as school headmasters – the key players that our federal, state and local politicians will react to. What contact do we have with the influencers in politics? Politicians only react to community and media pressure; official lobbying plays a part, but it has to be supported in the field by the industry to have any chance.
Are we all doing our bit? Now is the time for everyone to act in unison.