Winter: Player Membership Drive
This is one of the major events in any year at a well-run Little League, and conducting it in the winter can save a lot of headaches later. An aggressive membership drive now can help to keep the league growing, and can keep it financially successful. Check out these suggestions:
The notice of registration at a well-run Little League (sample included at the link at the end of this item) includes the following:
- Clear information on dates, times, places.
- Information on the local league’s boundaries.
- Who can register: should be boys and girls, ages 5-18. (Regulation IV a-c.)
- Programs offered: Baseball, Softball and Challenger.
- Information on birth record needed (not a photocopy). This must be an original or government-certified copy of an official birth record acceptable under the current guidelines in the Rules and Regulations. (After the player agent examines the record, the document may then be returned to the parents, but the parents should be reminded that it will again be required should the child be selected for the league’s tournament team.)
- Information on acceptable proof of residence. (Regulation II a-f-g; Operating Manual - Tryouts and Player Selections.)
- How to contact league personnel for more information.
How does a well-run Little League announce registration? Here are a few ideas:
- Direct mailing to last year’s parents (a Little League can qualify for a bulk mailing permit as a non-profit entity)
- Flyers distributed in schools (the local Little League should obtain permission from the principal and/or school board)
- Newspaper, radio, television announcements (the Little League writes these as media releases, not advertisements)
- Posters and billboards
- Managers call all players from the previous year, even those “graduating” to the next level.
- Public Service Announcements (Ask your local TV stations to run these with your contact information…Little League has provided these on DVD to your District Administrator)
NOTE: Do not include the cost of registration in the announcement. It will drive some potential players and valuable volunteers away.
Let’s say “Little League A” decides not to apply for charter in a particular division. If so, that league is not authorized to allow, on its own accord, any children living in Little League A’s boundaries to play in another chartered league.
For example, if the local Little League does not apply for a charter in Girls Senior League Softball, no girl in that age group who is living in that Little League’s boundaries can play softball for that season – unless a written waiver has been requested and obtained from the Charter Committee in Williamsport.
Conversely, the local Little League cannot accept a child who lives outside that local Little League’s boundaries, even if the league in which that child resides does not offer a program in that child’s division or age group. The only exceptions are under Regulation II (d) and Regulation IV (h), or through a waiver from the Charter Committee in Williamsport.
There are ways to ensure everyone gets a chance to play, however.
Suppose “Little League A” advertised in all the usual ways for Girls Senior League Softball, but only 17 players signed up (too many for one team, not enough for two). Using a completed and approved Combined Teams Request Form (available at www.littleleague.org), those 17 Girls Senior League Softball candidates who live in “Little League A” could combine with those from a neighboring league.
Both leagues would be required to charter at least one Girls Senior League Softball team (depending on the total teams formed.) Either league (but not both) would need to apply to insure the number of teams actually fielded. With permission from the District Administrator and Regional Director, the two leagues could also combine to form one Tournament team – under certain conditions.
The responsibility for offering programs to all interested children in the league boundaries rests solely with the Board of Directors of the local league and the Membership of that league. If children who live within a local Little League’s boundary are being denied the opportunity to play because the local league does not offer a particular division, the adult board of directors at the local level is at fault.
When children who do NOT live within a local Little League boundary are not permitted to play Little League, it is the responsibility of the adults in that community to apply for a Little League charter.
A database of all of these Operations Tips can be found here: http://www.littleleague.org/leagueofficers/Tips_Successful_League/2009-2010.htm
Next article: Fund-Raising Ideas