Generating ideas for events that cater to your CrossFit community can seem like a breeze. Get everyone together, have some food and a couple drinks, throw in a workout, and it’s a good day for most of your members.
However, trying to hit the population of people that don’t do CrossFit, but still live in your local community, can be a bit more difficult to manage. Hosting events that give back to your community and bring in potential clients can reap endless benefits for your business.
Jamie Bermudez, a co-owner of CrossFit HellBox in Rio Rancho, New Mexico, found by getting out and simply finding where they could be of service to large groups of people was their first step in generating a buzz around community events. While community events may not be as large of a return on investment as hosting a competition, it is a way to give some exposure to this form of fitness.
“I think people focus a lot sometimes on hosting competitions, but that draws in people that already know about CrossFit,” said Bermudez. “If you reach out to your community by finding out a need and doing a fundraiser for it, that’s the best way to reach the community beyond the people that CrossFit. It’s really a lot of networking with your city officials and finding out what events are there for you to get involved in. Trying to network with other non-CrossFit businesses can only benefit you in the long run.”
One way they manage to get out into the community is by participating in health fairs. Because of the good relationship they have built with the local school system, CrossFit HellBox will set up a booth for the employees to check out who they are and what they offer on top of CrossFit for adults and kids.
In the past, the Box mainly used the time at health fairs to tell people about what CrossFit is, but since then they have adapted to showing versus telling. The owner or Coaches who run the booth will bring in various pieces of equipment and challenge inquirers to try out a quick workout as a way to dissuade them from the fear of CrossFit.
“We brought two rowers and set them up at the health fair,” said Bermudez. “We had little contests like who could row the most calories in three minutes. Or, who could row the fastest 500 meters. Then we give them a prize with our name on it, like a shirt or water bottle. Showing people and actually bringing the equipment with you takes that fear away because they actually get to touch it and try it.”
At CrossFit MontCo in East Norriton, Pennsylvania, Coach Dave Ronca shared they host community events in order to give back together as a Box. It’s also a way to get their name shared around the community in hopes potential clients will stop by. “We have a member that does work for the Department of Transportation, and he told us about a program where we would be able to pick up litter on the side of the streets,” said Ronca. “One, this is great because we are making our community a better place. But it is a great indirect way to get marketing out there for us. We have had people come in because they saw us out on the streets or at a fundraiser.”
CrossFit MontCo uses their members’ needs and interests to determine where to get involved. For example, after a Coach’s mom passed away from cancer, the Box hosted a blood drive for the American Red Cross.
“It’s important to engage with your members and staff to see what they are doing, to see how you can help your in-house community in a way that will bring the outside people in as well,” said Ronca. “We also have a core group of members that are very tight with one another. If someone is doing something, they will be there for one another and they will be the ones spreading the word to all the people in our local area, hanging up flyers about events and sharing our posts on social media.”
For CrossFit HellBox, getting out and helping the local community has been one of their core values from the start. While buying new equipment for the gym or hosting an in-house competition might be beneficial for the overall business, Bermudez explained they look more at the lifelong benefits for each individual they reach. “We try to look at what kind of value we are adding for our members — like facility upgrades and things that will obviously benefit them quickly,” said Bermudez. “But we also look at community events because we see reaching our community as an added value even if we don’t see a huge return on investment.”