Attracting Participants, Advertising and Keeping Them

 This page is dedicated to providing material dedicated to assisting ideas in the areas:

  • attracting participants to an orienteering event
  • advertising the event, and just as importantly
  • keeping them coming back.

As part of this page, included are ideas from Orienteering Australia, State Associations and its clubs (any information that may add to this content - contact Director Development). Thanks to the kind offers of British Orienteering, we are also able to share ideas that have worked in the United Kingdom. Not all of them may work of course. If you want to read more about British Orienteering and its development than is here, you should browse the British Orienteering webpages, specifically their Good Practice section.

We thank British Orienteering for their support.

Information on protocols to look after newcomers and their follow-up can be found on the Newcomers section.

Attracting participants to an Orienteering Event

The public will particpate in activities if:

  • it sounds interesting
  • its not too expensive
  • it is conventient (time, distance), and
  • they know about it

Orienteering: Interesting?

Orienteering won't interest everyone, and at times we suffer from misunderstandings about the sport. There are however no doubt thousands that would enjoy the sport that don't already. Orienteers do tend to have similarities, and I can identify at least five areas in which we should use to 'sell' the sport or attract intersest groups.

The five groups are:

  • As a health promotion (mental distraction)/complete mind-body sport
  • As a family/social/for all ages sport
  • Environmental/travel sport
  • School/learning/team-work sport
  • As an elite/cross-training sport

Targeting interest groups makes sense. In the UK, orienteering clubs have organised 'events' to attract members of running clubs. More information about their successful program can be read by viewing the PDF (below)

UK Club MDOC - Organising orienteering events for runners 

UK Club SLOW - Tips on organising orienteering events for runners

Putting on alternative styles of orienteering may also add to the appeal of the sport, but given a good area, good courses and good competition, the sport promotes itself. There are also important aspects to running an event that will assist newcomers - more on this can be found in the Newcomers section.

Orienteering: Expensive?

Orienteering is a comparatively cheap sport to compete in (see table of comparative adult prices in similar sports) mainly without the high equipment costs of many sports. The sport can be become expensive for those that travel extensively in th sport. Other sports may be more attractive at times through better use of their entry fees and those fortunate enough to attract sponsors through the addition of barrel draws, give-aways and similar concepts.





Mountain Biking

Adventure Sport

Yearly Membership

Uringa + OANSW  includes magazine $53

Glenhuntly + Athletics VIC $185

Cycling Australia $132


Minor event

Sydney summer series $8

Glenhuntly event $10

CORC event $10 + $15 day membership VIC State series $25

AROC: $240 (team 3)


Major event


Nationals $38

City to Surf $30

MTBA Nationals $70 

Geoquest $395 per person


Sydney Marathon $143

Mont 24h $400 (team of 4)


Orienteering: Convenient?

Orienteering events are generally organised in the evening during weeknights and during the weekends. This appears a convenient time both for competitors and organisers. Orienteering in Australia is largely conducted away from major centres however, and travels is perhaps orienteerings largest enemy in its fight to attract particpants and members. While to a degree the travel issue cannot be avoided, more effort should be dedicated to holding events closer to major centres, and holding these events with greater prestige (map quality, event prestige, etc).


A number of means can be used to ensure potential participants know of orienteering events. These include:

  • through sponsors
  • leaflet drops
  • event guides
  • media coverage
  • school programs
  • posters
  • through other organisations 
  • partnerships with target groups (organisations or workplaces), and of course

This section predominantly addresses advertising efforts but may in the future include more information on these other means.

Advertising through organisational websites

Websites like coolrunning and sleepmonsters, for the running and adventure racing commmunities respectively, often host event schedules free of charge. These resources have worked well advertising events in Western Australia and Victoria at least. Follow the links to find out how to advertise through these sites.

Newspaper Advertisements in SA

In 2005/6, OASA used a number of advertisments in mid-week papers to attract walkers to Friday night summer series events held later that week. Perliminary reports are that these were quite effective in attracting increased particpants. The advertisments run in Adelaide's Advertiser are below.

 OASA Newspaper Advertisement 

 Another OASA Newspaper Advertisement  

 Free passes to Melbourne Street Series

In Melbourne, the highly successful street series is additionally promoted through the use of a free pass incentive program (as depcited below.


UK Strategy Targetting Children and their Families

The UK Club HOC ran a project termed MADO. The project included events, newcomer support and advertising through posters targetting school children and their families. You can read more about their successful membership increase here. Examples of their posters are below.