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MAG Response to Nationals 2023 Feedback

We tried to survey each team during Nationals 2023 and ended up surveying a total of 48 teams. If we missed your team, feel free to fill out the survey now at this link! We gathered demographic information to build out our MAG Club Database, tried to get an idea of what pressing needs each team had, and collected some feedback on some of the important issues detailed below.

What attributes should be required for an individual or team to be considered “Collegiate”?

What should we do about rising banquet costs?

  • While the cost of banquet to membership has remained the same for many years, the cost of the banquet for the NAIGC has increased significantly and shows no signs of slowing down. Looking forward, we may need to increase price of banquet to upwards of $70 to offset these costs. Therefore, we asked members if they would prefer to pay that increased price or instead to have a free awards ceremony with no food involved (teams would have time between finals ending and the awards ceremony to go get food as a team). In the end, the majority (64%) of respondents preferred a free awards ceremony, and we’ll take this result into account when we plan Nationals this coming year.

What is the biggest hurdle to growing your MAG team?

The top three responses and some suggestions from our rules team (gathered from personal experience and from all of our 1:1’s with teams over the past year) were:

  • Funding – Gymnastics can be expensive, and the amount of financial support that teams receive from their institution (if any) varies wildly. Here are some of the top ways we’ve seen to raise money to reduce the financial burden on your team members:
    • Beginner Class: Some teams have regular (monthly or weekly, generally less or not at all during competition season) beginner classes taught by team members and open to the rest of their community. They’ve found that people are much more willing to pay $5-10 for a no-commitment class than to join the team outright, even if they’ve been told that no prior experience is necessary to join the team. Depending on how much you charge, attendance per class, and the frequency of classes, this can bring in a lot of money!
    • Charge dues: This doesn’t reduce the financial burden on your members per se, but can help reduce the cost of Nationals by using memberships from members who don’t attend Nationals.
    • Grants from your institution: In addition to the usual funding from your club sports department, there are sometimes other grants that can be utilized to help fund particular activities (eg. grants for general grad student travels/activities if you have grad students)
    • Flip for tips: At large gatherings (mostly sports games), walking around as a team offering to do cool gymnastics in exchange for a donation to the team.
    • Bake sales: Classic fundraising – bake yummy food, sell it.
    • Host meets: Depending on your specific situation, you can often structure competition fees, admission, and concessions to make money when hosting a meet.
    • Alumni: This is more of a long term strategy, especially if your team hasn’t existed for a long time (or has but hasn’t kept track of alumni). Start an alumni database now (with permanent contact info, graduation year, etc.), start sending out an alumni newsletter 1-4 times a year to help them continue to feel connected, and then start fundraising!
  • Getting more people
    • Beginner class: See above, running a beginner class helps get people in the door and gives them a way to try out gymnastics in a low-commitment way before getting hooked! One way to make the transition from class to team more likely is to discount their first membership dues by the total amount they’ve paid towards the classes they’ve attended.
    • Campus activities fair: This is the most common method of advertising the club, but is usually only once a year and therefore has limited impact (especially since every other club is also vying for attention).
    • Postering around campus: Periodically put up posters around campus to make sure people know about the team, especially if you’re offering a beginner class!
    • Word of mouth discount: Word of mouth is always a great recruitment tool (tell your members to bring their dormmates, lab partners, and friends!), and giving people a discount on membership dues for each person they get to join can help incentivize this behavior.
  • Coaching
    • WAG coaches: WAG coaches are generally easier to find, and they can be helpful for MAG even outside of Floor and Vault! You’d be surprised how quickly they can pick up the basics, and even on day 1 can offer quick advice and insights on the other four events based on their general gymnastics knowledge.
    • Local gyms: Reach out to local gyms to ask if they would be comfortable putting you in contact with their coaches regarding a side gig doing part time coaching for your club.

General Rules Options

  • We’re always looking to see if our rules are meeting the needs of the membership, and this year we asked people which of the following rules sets they’d prefer for our highest level, in terms of minimum number of skills, dismount requirements, extra skills, etc. This year we asked people which of the following rules sets they’d prefer, and got the results shown below.