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Technology fires NatWest CricketForce

Posted in NatWest CricketForce 2011

Technology has played a very important role in the process of NatWest CricketForce@Sawley & Long Eaton Park Cricket Club from using the www.play-cricket.com database to Twitter and Blogger.

The launch meeting did not generate an attendance which our membership should have produced. One of the issues was we did not have membership details to contact them electronically. In the knowledge we would have to revisit the membership through another meeting we set about cleansing, updating and redesigning our www.play-cricket.com members database.

We chose to use that database because it was relatively simple to classify people, dividing them into meaningful groups, in our case – seniors [65], juniors [88], supporters [55], vice-presidents [24] and partners [28].

Apart from updating the contact details of members we also included supporters, a group of people closely associated with the club who had never previously been included in club communications. The database development also resulted in the club updating its information on our vice presidents while providing a method of speaking to them – which had previously relied on letter writing. In a similar manner NatWest CricketForce event partners were included on the database. As the database neared completion we had the details over 260 people – a proper reflection of the club’s community.

Apart from the quantity of people we could now communicate with we were also able to send ‘specially designed messages’ to each group including points relevant and appropriate for a particular group [e.g. partners].

The club revitalised its Facebook group page with postings about NatWest CricketForce. As the group grew, while all sections of the club membership was representated, it was apparent that teenagers were significant users of Facebook – traditionally a group which the club found difficult to engage with.

Sawley & Long Eaton Park CC Facebook

The immediate posting of news items on Facebook brought excitement to NatWest CricketForce and helped build and maintain momentum for the event. Asking members to post NatWest CricketForce postings on their ‘wall’ took our message to a wider audience, engaged these members in the event process and making it a topic of conversation through the Facebook ‘comments’ facility.

Facebook was also another method of acknowledging partner contributions while directing people to other NatWest CricketForce news sources through a live internet link to, for example, newsletters on the club’s web site – www.sawleycc.com.

Finally its ability to highlight and announce events proved useful especially with its RSVP facility.

The realisation about the impact of new technology prompted the club to open a Twitter account and send tweets [only 140 characters] of significant events – in the end 20 people were following our every move.

Tweets convey excitement while the spread of smart phones means followers receive the message immediately on their handset. Like Facebook it requires nothing more than investment in time, and provides another opportunity to acknowledge partner donations and member contributions. Additionally it can be used to direct followers to other news sources for more detailed analysis and information. Incidentally Twitter and Facebook postings can be sent simultaneously using an application called Tweetdeck

Perhaps the most interesting development was the construction of a blog to accompany the event – sawleycc.blogspot.com – which experienced about 80 hits a week from January in the build up to the event. Once again there are no cost associated with the technology except for the investment in writing and posting the blogs.

However the development of material for all the different types of media available often means only small changes to something previously developed are enough to make it appropriate for another type of media. The blog written during the planning of the event were the basis of a number of press releases issued to the local press. The blog did also provide a method or ‘remembering’ points of interest which might otherwise have been lost in the hurly burly of the event development.

Finally it must be noted that without email these events could not possible be organised so effectively – Sawley & Long Eaton Park CC have sent over 2,500 emails - very few letters were written or fruitless phone calls made. The letters that were written tended to be attachment to letters. Reaching the right people is important when asking for ‘in-kind’ donations – making educated guesses about a person’s email address can be very productive –a web site email contact address of enquiry@skills.co.uk can lead the way to the key executive in the target organisation. Apart from contacting and keeping in touch with external contacts it is invaluable in making sure the organising group are kept up to date in what can become a fast moving process.

In conclusion, while the impact of each medium is worthwhile, it is making them work in combination [i.e. using tweets to direct followers to other news sources] which brings more dividends to the effective use of communications technology. It is also likely to be a significant legacy of NatWest CricketForce@Sawley & Long Eaton Park CC.

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