Pro Tips for Social Directors at a Neighborhood Pool
Social Director is one of the most important roles at a neighborhood pool. And I say that straight-faced as the social director at mine. I’m also the lead programmer here at Pool Dues, and although my original intention for creating this product was to help out our Treasurer (and better collect membership dues), I soon realized I was making something to help me too. The tips below will help you regardless of whether you’re a Pool Dues-powered pool or not.
Find the right person (or people)
Tip 1: Decide if you really are the best person for the job.
Ouch, I know. Sorry, but I’m not going to pull punches here. If you think this is a job where you do 1 or 2 big parties a year, go ahead and pass the torch to someone else. Or find a co-Social Director. Imagine yourself as the Social Director on a cruise ship, where every week you have a new group of people coming in and leaving. When members consider renewing their membership the next summer, you want them to remember that one weekend that was a blast.
Making every week special is not that hard. A little goes a long way. Like buying someone a beer. Sometimes the smallest gestures are the most meaningful.
Social Director + Social Media
Tip 2: Start a Facebook Group for your pool if it doesn’t have one already.
If your Board is uptight about an official Facebook Group, well, just make one for yourself. Call it Steve’s Pool Social Group or whatever. Whether you make it a Closed Group or Public is up to you. If it’s Closed, non-group members can’t see what’s posted. Some folks might feel more comfortable with that. Start getting everyone from the pool in there, and you can even get prospective members in there too. It’s a great way for people to see that you’ve got a happening pool.
Tip 3: Post like Johnny Carson told jokes.
Here was Johnny’s formula: Tell the audience what you’re going to do. Do it. Then tell them what you just did.
Take the same approach to social media. Let your members know what’s ahead. Post a little video while it’s happening. Then follow up with some wrap-up photos.
You don’t have to be an “artist” about this either. Here are some examples of photos I posted just in the last week (none will hang in a gallery)…
We added a cheap Amazon Dot to the guard shack. It’s connected to my Prime account so the pool now has nearly unlimited songs to play (btw, I told Alexa to disable songs with explicit lyrics). So I posted this to let members know they can play D.J. now.
One of many similar photos I’ve posted over the years. The back of my family truckster full of pool goodies. And no, that’s NOT glass. This photo I posted on my way down to Opening Day this year. Obviously, it lets members know the fun is about to begin.
This photo speaks for itself. The kegerator is open, with Magic Hat on tap. This is our first summer with a kegerator, and it was completely crowd-funded using the Pool Dues payment portal. We asked for donations with 1 newsletter mailing and 1 post to our Facebook group. The total cost was $468 (with a 4-year parts replacement plan), and we raised over $600. So the first keg was well paid for!
It’s a Marathon, Not a Sprint
Tip 4: Place less emphasis on 1 or 2 big parties, and spread out the fun all summer.
You still need a couple of Adult Nights and 1 Tween/Teen Night, but if you blow all your summer budget on a handful of nights, inevitably 50-60% of your membership misses the party because they are either out of town or couldn’t find a sitter.
Tip 5: Make Friday Nights THE NIGHT.
Saturday nights people make plans, but Friday nights are usually wide open for most families. Plus, a lot of members day-drink at the pool on Saturdays and by dinner time they are wiped out.
So start a Friday thing. Make it start at Happy Hour, and keep the pool open until 10. That’s a solid 4-5 hour block where people can let loose after work. If every Friday night is known to be THE night, people will pack it in. And encourage members to bring friends too. We occasionally waive guest fees to bring in a crowd.
A Social Director’s Tool Chest
Tip 6: Beer, chips, popsicles, margaritas.
Memorize that. That’s your party checklist right there. I’ll go into detail on each below.
Tip 7: Get kegs.
A pony keg of good beer is $70-90. For day-drinking beer (read crappier lighter beer) it’s even less. A Bud Light half-barrel is usually $114. PBR is like $79. So you can either go big with low-alcohol beer or go small with a quality beer for around the same price. And you don’t need a kegerator either. Just a bucket of ice and a tap.
The great thing is that these kegs usually pay for themselves too. Ask members for a Day-Of Donation of about $5 to drink. And instead of filling your pockets with cash, just tell members to go to your Pool Dues portal or the Shop section of the Member Check In app to make a “Day of” Donation.
The big sizes are tough to lift, so lady-directors, you might need to nominate a male member to be the keg-getter.
Tip 8: Chips!!!
Those variety packs of chips are like $7. Get 4 or 5 of them, toss them in a big bucket, and the kids will think you’re a king (even the adults too). Remember, you’re Social Director for the kids too, so throw some goodies at them as well. Literally. You can toss a bag of chips into the pool. Make it a game for those coveted Chili Fritos.
If your pool sells chips at a concession stand, so what?! This will make some occasional free chips even more special.
Tip 9: Popsicles!!!
Get those cheap $3 bags of tube pops (the ones that require either scissors or your teeth to open) and again, you’ll be a hero with the kids.
And here’s a Pro-Tip. If a light storm is forecast, bring out the popsicles then. No parent puts their kid in the car with an open popsicle. They’ll wait out a short storm for their kid to finish off a messy popsicle instead of running back home at the first sight of rain.
Tip 10: Margaritas (or a box of white wine).
Try to bring something for the non-beer drinkers. The ladies aren’t going to be too impressed with Bud Light. So mix up a little specialty drink for them. In the summer, every supermarket sells those containers with a pour spout at the bottom. Those are perfect. Just buy ready-to-drink margarita, or mix in that glass bottle of tequila at home. You don’t want to make a $5,000 mistake by dropping that bottle poolside.
To Be Continued…