IT’s BACK: CEO’s WEEKLY EDITORIAL

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INCREASING DOLLARS MAKES SENSE – Round 6-7
In administering a VAFA club, there are so many aspects that the leaders need to manage in order to have a successful club. The aspect on show is the weekly matches that your club plays. The amount of volunteers required on match day is evident for all to see. However if we don’t get the finances right there will not be any matches played. Fund raising is critical to the survival of all clubs.
Each club has their own player subscriptions, which contribute to the income, however, it is only a small percentage of the revenue required for a club to exist. In our clubs this ranges from 10-30% of the total income a club receives. Clubs therefore have to be imaginative and resource alternative income streams.
Blair O’Hara is the VAFA General Manager of Commercial Operations and his charter is to not only increase revenue to the VAFA, which in turn keeps affiliation fees manageable, but to also assist our clubs by exposing them to various commercial opportunities. Over the last two Wednesdays, Blair has conducted commercial workshops with club representatives from Divisions 1 – 4. These sessions focussed on commercial opportunities and investigating ways that will assist them raise revenue. Next Wednesday will be the Premier B and C clubs with the Premier clubs to follow. 
The workshops have focused on an analysis of sponsorship proposals and how to best prepare a document that will better illustrate to potential sponsors the value of making an investment into the football club. What we have discovered so far is most proposals focus exclusively on the club. However, it is important that the club demonstrates that it understands the needs of the business and provides an opportunity for the business to connect with the club, its players and members in an appropriate and meaningful way.
The second component of the workshop is to explore how to establish or improve membership programs with e-commerce. The VAFA are currently developing a membership offer that is planned for launch at the Big V function in August. We are exploring how the benefits of our partners can be shared with clubs to make the local club membership package more attractive to members of club communities. The VAFA partner with technology provider, ClubData, to provide a low-cost and effective e-commerce solution. We provided a demonstration on how to set-up the store and items for purchase, as well as how to promote it at club level. There were many who had not seen this platform before but were keen to get it started at their clubs. 
The workshops thus far have allowed the VAFA to have an open and interactive forum for clubs to put forward their commercial and financial challenges as well as share notes on what things are working well. One club president asserted that ‘although we might fight like hell on the field, it is important that we work together off the field’. 
Being financially stable creates an environment whereby clubs can continue to work on building a strong and positive culture, as well as allowing the football staff and players to focus on being the best team they can be. Out of the workshops, the VAFA hope to have gained further insight into the commercial needs of clubs and can shape our initiatives to best serve those requirements.

 and in case you missed it, here is last week’s editorial again…
Re-establishing a winning culture – Round 5-6
The season is well underway and we have an indication of who sits where in the respective sections. Teams know the standard necessary to play in finals, who the pace setters are and who will be fighting to maintain their place in the section. But history is littered with teams fast out of the blocks, who can’t sustain their form during the rigours of an 18 match season.
Of the 72 clubs that started an incredible 67 have had a win and should have the confidence that they can perform at the level. Coincidentally five clubs have yet to taste defeat so all sections are incredibly competitive. However, until everyone has played each other, you don’t get a proper gauge on where you stand. In the second half of the season, matches are more structured as the coaches have a deeper understanding of the opposition. In the Premier sections, with all games on VAFATV, each player is thoroughly researched with match ups for each individual. This is generally not the case in the early rounds. This is when the coaching staff plays a more significant role. Strategy comes to the fore – you don’t necessarily have to have the best players to win games but you have a team who follows the structures and each player understands, believes and commits. 
To me the most fascinating aspect of the ladders is the success of newly promoted clubs. Clubs can go either way after experiencing success. In some cases, players can retire on a winning note and this leaves the club struggling to maintain the momentum in the higher section. Three of those clubs whose commitment to the task cannot be questioned are Old Trinity, Therry Penola and Kew.
The outstanding start to the season by Old Trinity is an excellent example of how it was better for a club to be relegated to a lower section to gain a winning culture. In their previous three years in Premier Section, Old Trinity won a total of 14 games before being relegated. Last season they finished the home and away season with 15 wins. The leaders remained, with captain Brendan Iezzi, last season winning the Moore Medal as the competitions best player, and coach Adam Andrews providing the stability that now see them as the only undefeated team in Premier. It is premature to think they are certain finalists, but their club has responded in the best possible fashion after a relegation.
Therry Penola and Kew have continued their outstanding form from last year. Both won their respective senior and reserves premierships with Kew also winning the Under 18 section. These two clubs have both played in our Premier Section and have the history that proves that they can continue to develop and recruit players as they move up the grades. Both clubs have strong support off the field and it wouldn’t surprise to see them back as one of our leading Premier clubs. 
The final two undefeated teams, Hawthorn and West Brunswick, finished third and fourth in Division 4 last season and form would suggest that they are the two standout teams in that section. 
The jump from Premier B to Premier is always intriguing. We have mentioned how Old Trinity has taken the step however the side that defeated them in the Grand Final, Old Brighton have struggled and are yet to win a match. I watched them last Saturday against Old Scotch and I am sure they are not far off a win, everyone knows how difficult it can be for opposition sides at the Beach Oval. 
The promotion and relegation system has again done its work with even competitions in all senior sections. Soon enough it will be Queen’s Birthday break and another chance to reassess the pecking order at the halfway mark.