Running Community Facilities Like a Business

Strengthening Community Facilities: Running Like a Business for Optimal Impact

In every successful endeavour, it starts with a plan. When it comes to community facility development, the first step is gaining an insightful understanding of the community you aim to serve. Who are the people that will be using this facility? What are their needs, passions, and preferences? What types of activities and events are they yearning to see in their community space?

Once you’ve conducted your research and have an understanding of your community, the process begins. This process can be a learning curve and has different elements such as competitive pricing and maximising available funding specific to your needs. Navigating this process with care paves the way for your facility’s success.

Building a Brand that Echoes the Community

Branding goes beyond your name and logo. It’s about forging an identity for your facility that stands for the community it serves. Your brand should mirror the values, interests, and aspirations of your users and hirers. It should be something that local people can resonate with and feel pride in being associated with.

Remember to consider your branding in all aspects of your facility’s design and operations, which reflect this! Everything from the colours you choose, how your staff come across to the type of events you host should harmonise with your brand.

Now, think of the character/demographic of your community. Is it focused on children’s development? Specific sports? Adult education? How can you refine these areas to create a significant impact? Does your brand mirror these community aspects and engage with them at a deeper level?

Setting Your Pricing Correctly

You need to ensure your pricing is affordable for your community, making the facility as accessible as possible. Conversely, you also need to make sure your pricing supports your facility’s sustainability, allowing you to continue providing high-quality services and operations over the long term. A good way to do this if you are unsure is to search within the local area for facilities similar to yours (not just community centres, think school hire, leisure centres etc too).

A potential way to strike this balance is through tiered pricing, where different levels of service or access are available at varying price points (charity/member rates). This strategy allows you to offer affordable options for members, while also providing premium options for those who can afford to pay more, such as large businesses and chains.

Streamlining the Operations

Smooth and efficient operations are vital to any successful operation. From booking systems to cleaning schedules, every operational aspect should be well planned and executed to ensure your facility runs seamlessly, providing a positive experience for your users.

This also involves setting up transparent and efficient communication channels for your team and your users. Additionally, it’s essential to implement systems for financial management, asset tracking, and maintenance so you aren’t chasing your tail.

Financial awareness and Staff Investment

A hard one. The balance between financial vigilance and strategic staffing. Being aware of your financial situation at all times, planning and budgeting effectively ensures your facility’s long-term viability..

In terms of staffing, it’s vital to hire the right individuals and contractors—those who align with your vision for the community facility and possess the skills, experience, and commitment to help make that vision a reality. This doesn’t always mean the cheapest. Furthermore, investing in staff training to enhance their service significantly improves your facility’s reputation. Do any of your staff have a desire for marketing and social media? Are a handyman in the making?

Engaging the Community

Last but not least, the key to a successful community facility is community engagement. From the planning stages to the day-to-day operations, it’s so important to involve the community wherever you can.

This engagement involves actively seeking feedback and input from community members, hosting events and activities that cater to the community’s needs and interests, something they actually want to attend and be a part of!

Building a successful community facility from the ground up is undoubtedly a big task. However, with thorough planning, research, and a strong focus on community engagement, it’s a goal well within reach, even for those of you going through the hardest times. By aligning operations more with a business approach, you can create a facility that genuinely serves its community and becomes a valuable asset for years to come.

Do you need advice on running your community facilities or rebranding/developing your existing site more like a business for greater impact? Don’t hesitate to reach out –


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