Happy New Year! We hope that all of our members enjoyed a happy and restful end to 2015. In this, our first blog of 2016, we reflect on the year gone by and share some of our plans for the coming year.
As well as delivering a Championship trophy, 2015 saw the Club make several announcements that made us extremely proud. The launch of the Forever in our Hearts memorial garden, the unique philanthropic shirt arrangement with Save the Children, the launch of Big Hearts Kinship Care and the announcement that we will be remaining at our beloved home, Tynecastle Stadium. These are all hugely significant markers in the Club’s rejuvenation, centred on values of community and integrity.
Our members have played a significant part in allowing the club to make such strides. This progress would not have been possible without a united and strong Foundation of Hearts. We asked you to create history. You may not realise it, but in 2015 you did.
In 2016, we must not rest on our laurels. There are challenges ahead which, with your continued support, we can face head on. The stronger the Foundation, the stronger the Club.
Our aims for 2016
At the AGM in December our Chairman, Brian Cormack, set out two key objectives for the FoH Board in 2016:
- To drive initiatives aimed at increasing the FoH membership; and
- To continue actively working with the Club on future governance.
We will report against our progress on both of these objectives in the coming year.
More details on our marketing plans are included in the section below.
In respect of governance, we are hosting another meeting on the subject with the club on the 25th of January. Representatives from HMFC will include newly appointed Head of Strategic Developments Martin Jesper whose remit includes working closely with FoH and planning the clubs future strategy for growth. Martin has very relevant recent experience having served as CEO of Darlington FC during their transition to fan ownership. We welcome his appointment and very much look forward to working with him going forward.
It’s never too late..
We launched our ‘it’s never too late’ marketing campaign this month and we hope our members will join us in spreading the message. The central idea is that it is never too late to pledge to the Foundation and play your part in securing the club’s future. We have designed a series of flyers and posters of iconic images from late Heart’s goals to underline the message; it’s never too late. Can you remember these famous goals?
Fortunately we have a multitude of memorable late goals to choose from (most of them against one team!). Why not get in touch and let us know your favourite last minute Heart’s goal and we may feature it on future designs. Wayne Foster anyone!?
As well as using these materials to get our message across we also plan to coordinate an increased presence on match days. Watch out for us in the Wheatfield stand and outside the Tynecastle reception before home games and why not bring along that friend who says he/she wants to sign up but hasn’t got round to it yet! We are moving quickly with this initiative on the back of feedback we received at the recent AGM and we are hopeful it will encourage those still on the fence to join our existing 8,000 loyal pledgers.
We are also currently in the process of identifying members who pledged to the FoH at one time but have left us along the way. Over the next month we plan to contact each of them with the hope of reinvigorating their belief in the Foundation and its role in the future of Heart of Midlothian. Whilst we may not convince them all, we also hope to gain insight and feedback on why members have decided to leave the FoH which will help us frame our future member strategy.
Looking at previous trends, the months of December and January tend to be when our membership drops to its lowest level in the year. We attribute this, based on historical data, to the fact that Christmas is an expensive time of year for everyone and that members opt to pause their contributions during this time. It is heartening to look back at 2015 when, after a low month in January we seen a resurgence in members. This was thanks to the launch of fan rewards and also a number of members returning to the FoH.
In December we observed a similar trend as member numbers decreased to slightly below the 8,000 for the first time in 2015 (except January). Despite this, total contributions remained consistent with November at approximately £130,000. This was owing to one off contributions for pin badges as well as a small number of members who increased their pledge during the month. We are confident that our plans for the year ahead will see member numbers increase beyond the 8,000 mark again as they did in 2015 and we remain well on plan with the BIDCO agreement.
If you have any questions or comments on this month’s blog please feel free to leave them below or direct them to firstname.lastname@example.org. Better yet, why not come and see us in person at the next home game. You will find us at the Tynecastle reception on McLeod Street and we are always happy to take your questions.