RSA clubs plan rebrand to boost membership

Returned Services' Association (RSA) clubrooms around the country will be rebranding their clubs after Anzac Day in an attempt to attract more club members.

Few clubs are making a profit and member numbers are dropping off sharply as they age.

New Lynn RSA club assistant secretary Dale Mays said the club was only breaking even at the moment, even though it was one of the larger clubs with 2200 members.

The club could only afford to replace the logo on its stationery.

Browns Bay RSA said it would introduce the rebranding gradually, with plans to upgrade the bar and modernise the club in a bid to attract new members.

Club president Geoffrey Ockleston said RSAs needed to update their image and that while they were originally created as a way to take care of veterans and their families, this was no longer needed.

"RSAs need to move with the times, pick up on the fashions and trends of today,'' he said.

Mr Ockleston said the Browns Bay club's small profit - largely generated by gambling and alcohol sales - would be able to cover the cost of renovations.

Mt Albert RSA club president Horace Cadd said the club's membership and profits had decreased over the last 15 years and most of the 880 members of the club were older, original members.

Mr Cadd said the club was also breaking even and could not afford to carry out the renovations and modernisation it needed to bring in more members.

The club's welfare officer, Kay Ingley, said the club needed to update its image.

"We have cheaper alcohol, and a van to drive people home after they have been drinking,'' Ingley said. "In the old days you never had to advertise because you couldn't move, because it was so full of people.''

The Hastings RSA said it planned to change the club's sign and become more integrated in the community.

It was making a profit, and had 3100 members. Club president Craig Williams said it had increased by 1000 over the last decade and he attributed the success to the club's high profile in the community.

"Something is basically happening everyday to make you stand out from others head office see this as the future for RSAs,'' Mr Williams said.

The Titirangi RSA is advertising within the clubrooms, printing shirts with the RSA's new logo on them, and building a new club deck to attract more members.

President Mike Logan said 1400 people usually came to the club on Anzac Day, two thirds of whom were young people.

Mr Logan said RSA clubs could not afford not to rebrand, and RSAs needed to be creative in order to survive.

"Clubs are struggling because they aren't looking outside the box. We are surviving because we understand how to do this. People need to understand how to run an RSA successfully,'' Logan said.

The Christchurch RSA was destroyed during the 2011 earthquake. Members are hoping to attract members once the clubrooms have been rebuilt, with membership decreasing from 1800 to 1400 after the earthquake.

- By Siobhan Leathley for

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