Shared Services Solutions Membership & Merchandise Management

SSS employs unique fundraising methods through its programs: Membership, Merchandise and Growth Funding with outstanding results both in Australia and internationally

Merchandise is possibly the easiest income generator for any organisation to develop
Institute of Public Affairs
John Roskam
Executive Director

The Institute of Public Affairs is a free market think tank based in Melbourne. As a not-for-profit, we are entirely reliant on the financial support of our members and donors to fund our work. Membership is central to our long-term financial security.

David Friend came on board in March 2012. At the time we had only just started to really prioritise membership and we had 1,426 paying members. As of today, just over one year later, the IPA now has 3,355 members, an increase of more than 100%. We comfortably exceeded the stretch targets that we set for ourselves.

This membership growth did not occur because of discounting or other gimmicks. It is the result of a structured, strategic and holistic membership program devised by David in conjunction with our own staff. Although David has extensive experience working with sporting clubs, he was easily able to adapt his strategies to suit our unique needs.

The most important point that David has helped us realise is that membership is a whole of organisation activity – it can’t just be one or two people. Everyone at the IPA now understands that it is their responsibility to help grow the membership, not just those staff who work in the membership team. David played an important advisory role in setting up our membership team and ensuring we had the processes in place to recruit and retain members.

David has also been an important source of motivation and direction for us. Although we had for years talked about doing a proper membership brochure, it was David that drove us to get it done. David’s regular contact with IPA staff helps keep us focused on our goals and working towards them. David has been tremendous for the IPA. We could not have achieved such membership growth without his support and encouragement.


Nillumbik Business Network
Emma Jane Wallace

Speaking engagement presentation -Bridges Restaurant Hurstbridge

You were really most impressive at Bridges. You are a very inspiring man and a wonderful/rare combination of professional and approachable. I only wish more people had been smart/lucky enough to have heard you speak.


Warriors FC - NRL
Corporate Sales & Membership Manager

I believe we have achieved some really positive growth over the past year both in numbers but also in Membership awareness. One example is the Members March. Last season when we were going into the Grand Final I struggled to get 100 members on board as they didn’t want to do it (march). This season I had 500 members register on a day where if we lost we would come 14th (on the ladder). I asked them why they were so keen to be involved and got this response: “We don’t care about winning or losing, we are Members regardless and love the Club. We are here no matter what!” Mission accomplished boys!

Hawthorn Football Club
Ian Dicker
President 1996 - 2005

David Friend started as a volunteer at the Hawthorn Football Club and in that role he was a part of out 1997 membership development group.

From that volunteer role he became the Membership and Merchandise Manager and the work he did for Hawthorn has significantly changed the face of all AFL clubs. At that time, Hawthorn had between 11,000 and 12,000 members, but a year later it was 27,000 under David's leadership. In 1997 and 1998, Hawthorn membership exceeded Essendon and Collingwood, the powerhouses, and that stimulated them where today they have very big memberships. You can see a number of clubs this year have over 40,000 members and this has really all risen from David's work.

In 1996, Hawthorn sold $60,000 worth of Merchandise and now it is a multi million dollar business for all clubs. David went to the United States for Hawthorn and visited the Bulls, Eagles and the Green Bay Packers, looked at merchandise and came back with many ideas that are retained today in all clubs and have now spread into other codes.

David's ability to try new things and quickly get rid of them if they fail or build on them rapidly if they succeed is the key to his success.

Go Hawks!

Melbourne Victory FC
Adrian Lloyd
Commercial Operations Manager

To Whom It May Concern,

David Friend and his team at Shared Services Solutions managed our Membership and Merchandise program from our inaugural year from 2005

David developed and managed the sales and marketing strategies that saw Melbourne Victory have the highest membership of 5600 members in the first year in the A-League and again in year 2 of 11,200 members. Melbourne Victory is still the No1 club in Membership in the A-League in 2008.

David and his team also developed the sales and marketing strategies and managed the merchandise program for Melbourne Victory and we have extended their contract for the fourth consecutive year.

Merchandise sales for Melbourne Victory has been the highest turnover of all A-League clubs since day one and still is today in 2008.

David and his teams vast experience in AFL has ensured Melbourne Victory sales got off to a good start in our inaugural year and has seen the club continue to be the leader in these sales for the A-League.

I would like to recommend any organization to engage David Friend and Shared Services Solutions team if they wish to develop a successful Membership and /or Merchandise program.

St Kilda Football Club
Grant Thomas
Former AFL Coach of St Kilda

David Friend joined St Kilda Football Club when it had no money, no credibility, zero respect and an unproductive culture. In essence it was a basket case. The prospects of creating revenue streams were remote and this drove self esteem through the floor.

St Kilda had the indignity of being every football supporters second favourite team – no doubt a reflection of the pity felt for its underperforming and tragic history.

It had the lowest membership in the competition at 17,500 and this number had stagnated. Complementing this underachieving number was its poultry merchandise revenue of a meagre $180K which was considered embarrassing and pathetic in AFL circles.

Enter David Friend with all his concepts and plans, all his radical ways and fervent belief in delivering “reach for the stars” results. He was met with cynicism and negativity – people willed him to fail.

He marched through it all, never lost his temper, stayed amazingly focussed and determined, built a tremendous spirit of connection and achievement within his team and defied all and sundry around him.

Interestingly his performance was admonished to the point where even senior executives and Board were looking for ways to challenge his results as a “furphy” and unsustainable. It did not seem possible.

I witnessed it first hand and all through the criticisms and challenges he held his nerve and kept his cool, supported his team and most importantly continued to deliver results. That’s what David does; he implements, he delivers what he says is achievable which is usually way above what others anticipate or expect.

St Kilda’s membership went from 17,500 to 32,500. That’s an increase of 15,000 members in 3 years which was unprecedented.

During that period merchandise revenue rose from $180K to $1.4million and was the largest turnover of the 10 Victorian Clubs – an incredible result.

David is a sponge for information and a pioneer in his business model. I have enormous respect for his ability to cope with pressure, focus on the task and deliver results – what more can a person want from someone.

Sydney Kings
Stephen Dunn

David was contracted to develop the Sydney Kings Membership Program for Season 2011/12.

David completed a Membership review & from that review developed a detailed sales and marketing strategy document based on all his invaluable experience

David’s role was to then coach the club & Membership team through implementation of the strategy.

The Kings followed David’s advice & was instrumental in helping the club achieve a 70% increase on last year’s sales.

David’s style is he builds relationships with his clients supporting and working closely with Membership department including being involved with hands on approach where required.

I would highly recommend the engagement of David’s services at Shared Services Solutions to develop and grow your Membership program.

Vodafone Warriors
Don Mann
General Manager

After a disappointing on field performance in 2009, our 2010 Membership numbers plummeted. This was a direct result of not having a solid membership programme or culture and also not being in a position to negate poor performance as we had previously relied on success on field. On the advice of the National Rugby League, we engaged the services of David Friend from Shared Services.

David has developed and documented our membership strategy over the last 2 years and coached us through implementation.

David has been influential in realigning our club focus on Membership and the improvement of our Membership Programme. Our Internal Membership Culture has had a complete overhaul, with the external perception of Membership also experiencing positive changes. As a result, we have now returned to the level we were prior to 2009 season, have set a solid platform and are now in a position which will provide us with the ability to reach new heights in membership growth moving forward.

Particular areas where we have improved significantly are our Membership communication and Membership retention. Our Membership churn in 2010 reached 37%, one of the worst in the NRL. As a result of our Membership strategy plan and implementation, we have now reduced this to 12% and remain one of the best performers in the NRL.

David is very professional and a pleasure to work with and has fit into our Club as another member of staff with ease. I would have no hesitation in encouraging you to engage David to develop your Membership programme and I believe he would prove a valuable asset to your business to help grow your membership.

Melbourne Heart FC
Scott Munn
Chief Executive Officer

Dear David

Re: Shared Service Solutions

Melbourne Heart FC engaged Shared Service Solutions in 2010 to help guide the Club through its first ever membership campaign.

With previous experience in the Hyundai A-League, in addition to the AFL and NRL, David Friend and his team provided us with the guidance and knowledge necessary to establish a sound platform for the future.

Shared Service Solutions enabled us to establish ourselves within the Melbourne sporting marketplace, establishing a comprehensive membership program as placed the necessary structures in place to help us achieve our goals.

Shared Service Solutions is also acutely aware that membership is the lifeblood of any sporting club, and as such, has assisted us in building a relationship with our supporters which is undeniably unique.

Through our relationship with Shared Service Solutions, we were able to draw upon David Friend’s significant expertise, which during our foundation year as a football club was to prove invaluable.

This enabled us achieve a membership total placing us in the upper echelon of Hyundai ALeague clubs, a strong achievement given the Club’s relative infancy.

We highly recommend Shared Service Solutions to any organisation seeking to establish or take their membership operations to the next step.

Penrith Panthers NRL
Shannon Donato
Marketing Manager

What David and SSS have helped our club achieve in membership has been nothing short of amazing.

In our first season working with David and SSS our membership revenue grew by 73% and we are well on track to achieving our budgeted membership sales for 2011 that (once achieved) will see us grow our membership sales by over 220% in two years; with an even higher percentage growth in net profits.

Just as significant is the shift in our clubs culture and attitude towards membership. Before working with David our club treated membership as a secondary consideration (behind sponsorship and other more lucrative business units). In only 18 months of working with David and SSS our business now sees membership as the core focus of our commercial business; and all our other business units have benefited as a result.

In effecting this change and through the intrinsic up-skilling of our staff, David has ensured that our focus on great membership sales and service will continue indefinitely and that this growth will be sustainable and on-going.

I would emphatically endorse David and SSS services to any organisation serious about improving their membership operations.


Dalai Lama 2007 Australian Tour
Maryann Cain
National Marketing Manager

Dear David,

Please accept my sincere thanks for the significant role Shared Services Solutions played in the remarkable and unprecedented success of the Dalai Lama 2007 Australia Tour.

As the Official Tour Merchandise & Membership supplier, Shared Services Solutions (SSS) played a key role in planning, developing and executing strategies that achieved record breaking sales.

As a result, Dalai Lama In Australia Ltd (DLIAL) was able to fund the $3.8m 2007 Tour allowing in excess of 100,000 people to attend events around Australia to hear His Holiness, the 14th Dalai Lama speak at what was his 5th and largest tour of Australia.

Thanks to your brilliant strategic planning, valuable professional networks and strong negotiating skills, SSS facilitated the building of a tour website for DLIAL with no upfront fees and secured a merchandise supplier who agreed to defer payment until after the merchandise was actually sold. This meant that funds from merchandise and membership sales could be used to ensure that this extremely worthwhile tour was successfully advertised across five states.

Congratulations on a strong and highly effective Merchandise & Membership sales campaign supported by your extremely efficient and dedicated Customer Service / Sales Team. The commitment, energy and enthusiasm of the entire SSS team were instrumental in developing strong customer relationships with our members which translated into crucial merchandise and membership sales.

This was a highly sensitive project because of its perceived religious and political significance, however the campaign was communicated and delivered by SSS with reverence and warmth winning the hearts and minds of the Australian community who embraced and supported it.

I take this opportunity to congratulate you and your staff on the incredible event merchandise sales record and commend SSS on its critical planning across five states where events were held.

Particular accolades and thanks to the stalwart crew who maintained a determined vigil in the merchandise stalls at the two day open-air Sydney event which saw unprecedented rainfall and flooding of the area. When other stallholders deserted their post, the SSS staff stood ankle deep in soaking rain-water to serve the diehard supporters who despite the rain, turned up in their thousands to support the event.

SSS is greatly esteemed and valued for its contribution to the success of the 2007 Tour and the organising body, Dalai Lama in Australia Ltd, is greatly indebted to SSS for its generosity and support above and beyond the terms of its brief.

I sincerely trust we will have the opportunity to work on projects together again in the future.

Sydney Kings
David Wolf
Former General Manager

David Friend helped to completely restructure our membership offerings, and we benefited greatly from his insights and experience across many sports.

While his strategic thinking will be crucial to the Kings' long term membership growth, David and his team backed this up with significant hands-on support and tactical ideas. The result - a 70% increase in membership and a new awareness of the importance of membership across all areas of the business.

North Melbourne Football Club
Rob Ewart
Chief Financial Officer

18 June 2009

To whom it may concern

Dear Sir


I confirm that the North Melbourne Football Club Ltd contracted the services of Shared Services Solutions to manage the club’s merchandising operations during the 2007 and 2008 years.

In my capacity as Chief Financial Officer I completed a review of the club’s merchandising operations and decided to outsource the management of this activity. Shared Services Solutions were selected as the club’s partner and were engaged to undertake full management responsibilities for merchandise operations.

The firm’s experience in the sporting industry proved to be invaluable in addressing and improving the club’s profile and trading performance. The Shared Services Solutions team were initially confronted with a tough assignment as the club’s merchandising arm was in poor shape and to their credit they were able to play a significant role in improving the performance of this business unit. A few of the key areas addressed were:

-Introduction of merchandise business plan

-Provision of experienced retail professionals

-Access to networks within the sporting retail industry

-Innovative sales strategies to clear excess and obsolete stock without damaging sales from the club’s existing customer base

-Well defined, tighter product offerings and the introduction of new products

-Total revamping of shop layout and operations

-Presented a new, fresh sales approach to advertising and promotional campaigns

-Revitalised all sales outlets from the retail store, game day sales outlets, function/event sales, website and direct mail material.

The team at Shared Services Solutions certainly demonstrated their capabilities at the North Melbourne Football Club and their reputation around the professional sporting club scene is very well regarded.

I am happy to respond to any queries or expand upon what is presented above and can be contacted on 0411 754 550 or email

Yours sincerely

St Kilda Football Club No.2
Jim Watts
Former - Chief Executive Officer

To whom it may concern

It is my pleasure to recommend David Friend.

David commenced working for St Kilda Football Club as General Manager, Membership and Merchandise in 2002.

At the time of commencement St Kilda FC had the lowest membership base in the AFL with 17,500 members and the third lowest merchandise turnover at $180K.

David’s strength is in building sales and marketing strategies followed by a detailed implementation plan. Under his leadership, membership of the club rose to 23,522 in the first year, to 30,900 in 2004 and to 32,500 members in 2005, all club records. David grew merchandise turn over to $1.4 million within three years (which was the highest merchandise turnover for a Victorian AFL club that year) using his creative sales strategies.

David developed a contract manufacturing program with the AFL that added an additional $400K net profit to the St Kilda football club.

I am very confident that David will develop a very successful strategy and implementation plans for membership and/or merchandise for any organisation that wishes to contract his services.

In addition, David has excellent people & management skills and will work well with his own staff or his clients’ staff to ensure harmony and a team approach to achieving desired outcomes. David also has the ability to train and develop employees and to that end he will leave a legacy with your organisation should his services be contracted to assist you in the areas described above.

During the period 2000 to 2007, I held the roles of Director, Vice President, or Chief Executive Officer with the St Kilda Football Club. I am very happy to answer further questions regarding David and can be contacted on 0413 889 936.

Central Coast Mariners
Lyall Gorman
Executive Chairman

To Whom It May Concern,

The Central Coast Mariners Football Club engaged David Friend and his company, Shared Services Solutions in 2007 to help develop our membership sales and marketing strategy for the 2007/08 Hyundai A-League football season. The SSS team worked closely with Mariners staff through the planning and implementation stages and as a result of this partnership we were able to increase our membership base by over 100% which was an outstanding result for the Club.

I would have no hesitation in recommending any Club wishing to increase their sales in membership to consider engaging David’s services. David’s vast experience in membership with AFL, NRL and A League clubs should ensure that you will achieve improved results in membership sales and the key learning’s from Shared Services Solutions strategies can be used by Clubs for ongoing membership programs.

About Us

SSS is a unique organisation. To our knowledge we are the only organisation in Australia, or internationally, that provides the same comprehensive range of services in Membership, Merchandise, Public Relations, Social Media, Creative Development and Events, backed up by such consistently outstanding results for our clients.

SSS is able to fully manage both or either of the Membership and Merchandise programs for your organisation. Alternatively we can act as mentors/coaches to develop both Membership and Merchandise strategies with your existing management team.

Membership Management Services

Membership Acquisition & Retention Services

Shared Services Solutions are experienced in all facets of membership acquisition & retention services. Our team is highly skilled, innovative and a knowledgeable group of professionals who develop & implement strategic membership growth and retention programs. Using principle developed over 15 years in this highly specialised field we do not use conventional processes in operation or communication. Our track record answers the question of whether or not these principles work – Refer to our Testimonials.

Promotional products development

Promotional Products

Shared Services Solutions design and supply direct from our manufacturer a large range of promotional products. more...

These Include:

  • caps, key rings, backpacks, satchels, mugs, scarves
  • stickers, stubbies holders - endless accessories by request
  • t/shirts, polo’s - more clothing by request.

Merchandise Events

Shared Services Solutions can fully manage the selling at your Events nationwide using trained team leaders in conjunction with your staff and volunteers. We can design, develop and supply your merchandise or manage your supplied stock. more...

More affordable