Marketing Plan for the Avon Trail  ( proposed )

Purpose of this marketing plan is to

  1. increase membership numbers
  2.  increase number of hikers interested in hiking
  3.  establish sustainable funding  through memberships, corporate or grant
  4.  increase revenue from donations and benefits, and sponsorships
  5.  increase community awareness of the Avon Trail – Oxford, Perth and Region of Waterloo
  6.  increase interest in Trail activities by the members and community at large
  7.  keeping the trail in good shape
  8. increase in communication amongst the members – landowners

What Training is available:

  1. Hike leadership, First Aid, Wilderness First Aid, First Responder training
  2. Hike Ontario programs
  3. Attend workshops as they come available – such as the Land Information and the Ontario Trail Council workshop or Trail Maintenance Workshops.  Attend Tourist workshops or volunteer marketing workshops.
  4. City of Stratford has community group training for non profit groups

The How to develop a sustainable membership :

Awareness and involvement = commitment = membership for life:

  1. Grants – Trillium grant allowed development of posters and upgraded flyers – TD Environment
    • developing regular communication
    • newsletter – regular hiking schedule – use Community Calendar – Avon Hiker
    • development of the web site – control of the web site
    • hosting events on the trail – Sandra’s hike, Dig and Donate program, Avon Trail day, Arthritis society hikes, tree planting service
  2. Networking with other similar organizations – Conservancy committee -, Harrington Water Meeting, Hwy 7/8corridor study, Heart Health Perth, Stratford Field Naturalists and LOOP, Active Transportation
  3. Trail Development – Conservancy committee – optimal trail meetings – Avon River extension
    • contacting /sending letters to lapsed members along with membership form
    • develop hike leaders – communicate interest in hikes
  4. Increase in sustainable revenue:
    • increase in membership – articles in the papers, Community Events
    • letters to potential sponsors / meetings with sponsors
    • donation bookmarks / web site – placements in Funeral Homes and hand out to members
    • develop Wellness in the Workplace program or corporate sponsors –  for monetary or trail maintenance
  5. Develop Interest in the Trail and interest in Hiking:
    • GPS of the trail
    • Geo-Caching of the trail – large interest with the under 30 age group across North America
    • Conservancy committee – Trail development in the North part of the Trail, and a potential side trail near Fairview, networking with other groups, tree planting.
    • Over-night trips outside the Avon Trail area – Algonquin Park, Pelee Island
    • Wellness in the Workplace – offer companies / office personal the opportunity to hike with fellow workers, with hikes lead by the Avon Trail hike leaders – or do trail maintenance.
    • Tree planting – offer to landowners along our trail, the opportunity of planting trees for them.  Trees acquired by the landowner from UTRCA.  Of through other sources including TD Bank.
    • Heart Health Perth – offer to lead hikes for their family fitness events – Wildwood and Exeter
    • Hike leaders – development, appreciation and hike locations – end to ends
    • Pictures of the trail on the web site – by section
    • Agriculture on the Trail – interpretive signs – such as in the Green Belt – Guelph, Ganaraska and Elora have them on the trails now – drawing a lot of interest.
  6. Keeping the Trail in good shape:
    • Trail Maintenance co-ordinator – having Trail Monitors trained and equipped
    • Trail Monitors – bi/monthly hike and reporting of the trail conditions
      • development of the trail maintenance crew and updating / tracking of the trail tool inventory
      • develop Guide for Avon Trail workers – standard booklet for the trail
      •  development of two forms – for reporting on trail conditions – one for the Trail captains and one for the trail maintenance crew – mandatory to fill out and to file. Waivers to be used on hikes and with crews
      • create template for blazing – purchase tools – bush whackers – string weeders – loppers
      • auditing of trail – develop audit manual, contact Grand or Thames members to do 5 yr audit
  7.  Communication:
    • Newsletter – to be published twice a year – Avon Hiker posted everywhere ( university campus)
    • Hiking schedule – it is to come out 4 times a year – mailed and e mailed and posted on the web
    • Meetings – 4 times a year – with either guest speaker or a slide presentation of a member’s recent trip
    • Board meetings – 4 times a year held before the regular meetings
    • Publish in the newsletter – article and / or Community Calendar events all hikes and all other events
    • hosting a Landowner Xmas – Wine and Cheese or breakfast
    • Members Breakfast gathering – include hike
      • attend Hike Ontario meetings – networking with other hiking groups – Wilmot, Region of Waterloo
      • attending Waterloo Region Land Development Town meetings
      • send out letters inviting membership to particular groups – such as boy scouts and girl guide groups- Bimini