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.