Publicity

Ok to some this will seem like silly thread. However, I think I should get my County Bridge association to promote the clubs in the County but I am not sure how to do it, and I don't want to re-invent the "wheel". Has anyone any experience in this? and can tell us what worked and what didn't! We seem to be relying on the Bridgewebs/Pianola sites around the Country. So where else did you try?

We recently participated in our town "event" day and found out that many people didn't know there was a bridge club or how to contact us. Obviously some didn't know that lessons might be available. The worrying bit was that some thought that bridge was a bit "elite". Overall we had a goodish response and have several potential "students".

Any tips gratefully received

CMOT_Dibbler

Comments

  • I used to live in Harrogate (hence the contact) and I used to have a Facebook page (until GDPR).
    If you have access to Facebook (or a friend who does), you'll find a Harrogate Bridge Club page. This, in itself is not necessarily pulling them in but they have, displayed on this FB page, a poster which appeared to draw in several innocents from the spa town earlier this year.
    Promise of a free glass of wine and a trial session seems to be the essence but behind the front, you need competent teachers and then competent, understanding coaches as they transfer from classroom to clubroom.
    I am amazed that none of our EBU-affiliated clubs in North Devon advertise in the local press (there are two North Devon weekly newspapers) whereas the non-EBU-affiliated clubs do. Numbers at non-EBU clubs are rising.

  • edited July 2

    Over the last 18 months the EBU has supported a pilot scheme in Yorkshire, run by the Yorkshire CBA, in which a number of clubs have been assisted in trying to grow their membership. This has partly been trying to get new people interested in playing, but also promoting the clubs so they appeal to 'non-members', and those playing 'social bridge'. This has provided some information on what has, and hasn't worked, and the techniques are still being refined.

    The EBU Board is funding the next phase of this project, and a sub-committee (of which I am a member) has been established to oversee this. The second phase has just started, with other counties coming on board, and some of the methodology will be tested out in a few other areas of the country to see how regional differences affect the response. We hope that this will continue to be successful, and provide a blueprint for how membership growth can be approached nationwide. Also, during this period we will produce a 'resource centre' which will have 'how to guides', templates which clubs/counties can personalise etc. You will see on the homepage that we are recruiting someone to undertake this role.

    If everything goes as intended then we hope to roll out the project further in 2019. So, if your county is not already involved (and at this point I'm not able to say which counties are involved in the second stage - some need to finalise some of their arrangements so we can't get ahead of ourselves), then we hope it won't be long before we are able to work with all counties and your county can be involved then.

    And of course, the resource centre will be on the website as soon as some of the materials are ready, so there is nothing to stop anyone from being proactive and using what is available as part of a smaller-scale effort and to get the ball rolling in their area.

  • Thanks for that Peter. Interesting to hear of the efforts being made. Look forward to developments. Would still be interested to hear of efforts made by other Counties.

    Thanks

    CMOT_Dibbler

  • Whilst I am willing to be convinced that newspaper ads and the like can be beneficial in putting the idea of taking up bridge into people's minds, our experience with occasional newspaper adverts has been poor. By far the majority of newcomers to our lessons come by word of mouth when friends tell their friends what enjoyment they get playing bridge. They probably don't start because one of their friends is a top player and aim to join them in the upper echelons of competitive bridge. Those lucky (or is it clever?) teachers who make attendance at their classes a really fun experience are the ones who have a waiting list of people wanting to join their next course. And of course our clubs have to make sure that when people graduate from those lessons there are club duplicates where the emphasis is on sociability and fun rather than serious competitive bridge. Those who want to can of course find higher level competitive bridge when they are ready for it, but they mustn't spoil the enjoyment of bridge for those who play for the fun and beauty of the game. Personally I believe that counties and affiliated clubs can do more to promote the game by running social events open to all-comers where the emphasis is more on fun than competition.

  • We have been pondering, in Gloucestershire as part of our thinking on the County Bridge Strategy, what our role is in making the game and its attractions visible to the population at large. We have not yet succeeded in identifying the respective roles of the national body, the County Association, and clubs in promoting the game to non-players.

    My own thoughts are that the seeds really need to come nationally, and that the follow through comes locally. As part of the Midlands COunties WG feedback to the EBU on the 2018 Strategic Aims, we identified as a gap

    "Actions needed of a National Body, reaching out to non-bridge-players and to the Press, and raising the profile of the game of bridge across the country, which includes making everyone more interested than they are today in the performance of our International Teams."

    We have had no response to this.

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