The sport and recreation industry in Western Australia comprises more than 200,000 volunteers and employees who enable more than 5,000 clubs to deliver programs at a community level. Despite the incredible community value, not for profit organisations such as sport and recreation organisations are increasingly required to deliver maximum outputs with a minimal and often declining resource base.
The Department of Sport and Recreations’ ClubTalk initiative will equip local clubs with the skills, tools and knowledge to create more effective and smarter businesses
This multi-strategy statewide package will ensure every not for profit recreation and state sporting association and their clubs will have a basic level of ICT capacity and access to expertise. Combining the most powerful tools within one of the most expansive networks, this strategy will ensure more efficient operation of community organisations in the sport and recreation marketplace.
Specifically it will deliver:
- improved technology capacity to support business development and function;
- better use of technology to bridge the communication gap between state associations and their broad network of clubs;
- system-wide platforms, applications and software solutions and
- ICT training and upskilling by creating opportunities and networks for state associations and clubs.
Robyn Kuhl, Executive Director of VWA explains “Fundamentally, as a project, this will be the project that has one of the most significant impacts on sports being allowed or able to do their job effectively, proficiently and professionally”.
With out-dated infrastructure, a phone system that was more than 20 years old, and inconsistency in software across office computers, Volleyball WA (VWA) was the perfect example of a State Sporting Association (SSA) who would benefit from ClubTalk and an upgrade to their Information Communication Technology (ICT).
Robyn explains how “sorting out some of those actual day to day operational things has been and will be huge”. An example of the day to day operational tasks which have been improved is the ability for Leona, VWA’s receptionist, to be able to print from her computer at the front desk as well as generate receipts for purchases from the Volley shop, a simple task that before ClubTalk had to be carried out from another staff member’s computer.
VWA and Blue Zoo consultancy identified that a major goal of their involvement with ClubTalk was to increase the level of professionalism within the sport. For VWA this involved a serious overhaul of the back of house functions, starting with the out-dated server, which is currently being replaced, and upgrading all staff members’ software packages to achieve consistency in document creation. Previously Adobe PDF was not installed on all computers creating barriers to the Annual Report being generated and sent to members in an easy to read format.
The second stage of the overhaul included replacing the phone system to allow people to transfer phone calls, place calls on hold and utilise messages on hold functions, actions which previously could not be done. These improvements in the day-to-day operation of the business have been invaluable to VWA, with Kuhl expressing how most sports are “often under resourced, under staffed and too busy to do everything they need to. Having these things streamlined just makes it once less thing to get cranky about”.
Through the consultation process with Blue Zoo it was identified that the marketing, promotions and advertising of VWA was all sound however “the biggest single thing this sport needed was to communicate better”.
This improvement in communication is being achieved thanks to ClubTalk and the improvements in the website, database, fixturing and membership that have been facilitated. As Kuhl highlighted, uncertainty of game times and a lack of information is, in many cases, a barrier to participation in Volleyball, and participants and potential participants just want to be communicated with. Kuhl states “ClubTalk is allowing us and will allow us to communicate”.
This increased communication is occurring through the development of a unique smart phone app which will not only present the fixtures in a user friendly way but that will also allow for live tracking of the untimed games to overcome game time uncertainty as a barrier to participation.
Over all, Kuhl describes VWA’s experience with their DSR Consultant as “fantastic” and that Crispin Roberts was not only “accessible and knowledgeable” but also “explained everything in simple terms”.
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