Three Steps for Developing an Inclusive Strategy for Current & Future Members

Maria Holler
By Maria Holler

This week's post comes from our friends at Blindhash, the authority in cyber and password security.

Private country clubs in the past have been stereotyped as being a place that the rich pay to mingle with friends of their like status and interests. We all have an image in our head of what the typical country club member looks like in their tennis skirt and freshly pressed linen pants. However, private clubs have come a long way over the past decade by taking proactive steps to make their clubs more diverse and shed this image. This has been achieved through various measures such as offering new levels of membership, offering a diverse array of activities outside of just golf and tennis, and becoming more family-centric. So how do we continue this trend an ensure that we have an inclusive strategy for both current and future members?

1. Continue Intertwining Millennial Trends into our Policies

Ten years ago the site of jeans in a country club would have been scoffed at by members and management alike. Today, most clubs have adopted a policy of appropriate jeans inside their clubhouse. Making all members feel welcome in our club means we must adapt our policies to be inclusive of generational trends. That’s not to say that we need to abandon all of our old policies, but it’s a good idea to discuss various trends at each board gathering to see if we are meeting the needs of all of our members. Speaking of boards, that moves us along to our next suggestion.

2. Ensure that your Board and Committees are Made up Of a Variety of Types of Members

Developing an inclusive strategy at a club would not be complete unless you successfully incorporated members of different interests and ages on your committees and boards. If every member on the board is only worried about the condition of the golf greens (sound familiar?), then you aren’t practicing an inclusive strategy. All members should feel like their voices are getting heard and represented and the best way to do this is for each interest of the club to be served.

3. Protect Your Brand

You may be asking yourself what protecting your brand has to do with making members feel inclusive. However, as the past few years have taught us a brand can be irrevocably damaged by one simple social media post. Members and staff want to feel good about the organization they are a part of so the public image of the club is vitally important. There are many things you can do to protect your brand from labels. One is to create a plan for the types of content and photos that are included in social media posts, newsletters, and any correspondence the club is utilizing.  Be sure to include content that would make current and future members proud. Also, be sure to include and feature all that is happening at the club, not just one specific topic. If you haven’t already, you will also want to start creating a strong cyber defense plan. Hackers take pride in leaking stolen information to the media and can manipulate stolen information such as member directories to make your club seem non-inclusive. A few steps you can employ to protect your club against cyber threats is to implement endpoint security, SSL certificates, and BlindHash password protection. For a full cybersecurity checklist, click here.