Group of people doing yoga in the park.

5 Ways to Help Your Parks Department Reach New Participants

ACTIVE Network
July 19, 2021

Parks and recreation program managers are responsible for planning and organizing a wide range of efforts, from researching their community’s recreational needs to managing land acquisitions and exchanges. Outreach and marketing are essential parts of the job—and often the most demanding. Parks programs need a healthy intake of new participants to thrive, but how can your department spread the word to reach (and actually secure) these prospects?

Use these handy solutions for program managers to streamline your department’s activities, save crucial staff hours and consistently connect with new participants! 

1. Audience Reporting & Analytics

Your department gathers vast collections of data on facility usage, community needs and more every year. The challenge is transforming that wealth of information into reliable, actionable insights, which is exactly where reporting and analytics tools can help. With the right parks and recreation management software, you can leverage accurate reporting for data-driven departmental decisions.

Reporting and analytics solutions give you the full picture of each participant and member across parks and recreation programs. Get precise data on who uses your facilities, which activities or classes they take and even how much they’ve donated. These reports are fully customizable, interactive and intuitive, allowing you to digest and deploy these audience insights across your team.

2. Targeted Marketing Lists

Effective marketing is all about addressing the unique wants and needs of your audience. But what if those interests and demands differ across groups? Say you’re about to unveil a new recreational facility; how can you connect with relevant audience members who will value and use that facility? The answer lies in targeted lists!

Think about your marketing budget: you only have so much money to invest in ads, campaigns and promotions for your organization. Moreover, your team only has so much time to invest in building those assets. Targeted marketing lists and other audience-based digital marketing strategies can help your team grow by reaching new participants while spending less time, money and other department resources. 

Targeted marketing lists allow you to sort your prospects into very specific groups based on age, interests, registration history and more. By defining and utilizing these target markets, you can craft more inspired, effective and efficient marketing campaigns for your programs.

3. Diversity Committees

One of the most important things to remember as a program manager is that you serve a wide range of social and cultural groups, each with unique needs. This is where a diversity committee can help. The role of a diversity committee is to educate your leadership and staff about the ongoing recreational needs of groups across your community.

Insights on diversity empower your department to create more thoughtful, inclusive program planning to retain members and acquire new ones, too! So be sure to consider this approach if your administration hasn’t already. 

4. Social Media Campaigns

According to Pew Research Center, 81% of people aged 30-49, and 84% of people aged 18-29, are social media users. That’s a huge portion of people across your community communicating, networking and engaging on these channels. So why not join the conversation and find new participants with social media marketing?

Posting on social media is the perfect way to spread the word about your organization and programs organically. If you’re just getting started, we highly recommend Facebook marketing. (Facebook remains a major market leader across demographics, used by over 68% of U.S. adults, according to Pewinternet.)

Parks and recreation management software makes it easy to develop custom social media campaigns based on audience data. These handy tools even feature social integrations, which encourage your participants to share their activities with your program across their favorite social channels. Even a few personal recommendations a week can go a long way in helping your department grow.

5. Online Registration

One of the greatest barriers to signing up for a new program or activity is a clunky registration process. If users don’t know how to sign up for your programs, or have to go through a frustrating, tedious experience to do so, they’re much less likely to complete this step—let alone recommend it to others. This is where online registration can change the game.

Modern recreation software lets you tailor every aspect of your registration process with customizable online forms. These solutions make it simple for users to sign-up with just a few clicks, no matter the time or place. You can leverage this tool across registrations for seasonal programs, group lessons or even individual fitness activities to create the sleek, friction-free sign-up experiences your audience expects and demands. 

Recreation software with online registration saves time and stress for your team, too. This feature automatically collects all registrations into a single, modern environment, accessible on any device. That means fewer hours spent on manual data entry or clunky registration forms—and more spent on serving your participants!

Spread the Word with ACTIVE Network

Contact ACTIVE today to learn more about how our parks and recreation management software can help you streamline your program and reach more participants. We’re here to provide all the support, insights and tools you need to build stronger communities—and align your parks department for long-term success.

Set yourself up for success.

See how ACTIVE can help your organization grow.
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