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3.1 Planning

3.1.1.    Where to start?

  1. Talk to your regional, state or national body - get a copy of their plan and align to it
  2. Talk to your members – informally or via a survey. Learn what they think – this should shape your planning
  3.  Complete Sport Australia’s Club Health Check

3.1.2.    Basics of a club plan

A club plan should be a simple plain English document which outlines where your club or association wants to go and the necessary steps to get there.

  1. The benefits of a club plan include:
  2. Prioritises your club goals and objectives
  3. Establishes how you are going to measure and evaluate your performance as a club
  4. Assesses progress
  5. Ensures a professional approach
  6. May assist your club in funding and winning sponsorships
  7. Identifies how you will promote and market your sport services
  8. Will help your board or committee of management budget and allocate resources more efficiently
  9. Shows what your club can offer potential new players/members
  10. Helps volunteers and staff better understand the business of running your club
  11. Involves club members in decision-making therefore can enthuse members and improve overall morale.

3.1.3.    Seven essentials of a good plan 

There are seven essentials of a good plan that will help maximise the benefits of the plan for your club:

  1. A vision statement to give your club focus.
  2. A clear statement which encapsulates what your club does and its commitment to its vision to succeed.
  3. Create timelines showing when targets or milestones will be achieved.
  4. Avoid a long list of objectives that will be difficult to achieve.
  5. Reporting metrics that focus on performance and trends that help measure change (e.g. membership numbers or volunteer commitment).
  6. Accounts for the risks your club might face and provide contingencies.
  7. Details any major changes affecting your club (e.g. venues closing).

3.1.4.    Key points 

  • There is no “one-size-fits-all” approach to club planning.  Because of the wide variation in size, purpose, resources, and maturity of each club and the sport itself.
  • The club planning process should be a continual process rather than compiling documents that once finished, remain on the shelf untouched. 
  • Use monthly meetings of the club board/committee of management to report, review and update the plan. 
  • Review the plan annually to ensure the strategic priorities for the club are on track.

3.1.5.    Step by step guide to planning 

Your club planning process should be a simple, uncomplicated process if you take it step by step.

Step 1.    Form a planning committee

  • Your club is made up of all sorts of people that have all sorts of expectations of and from the club. 
  • Try to involve as many people in the planning process as possible as the more people consulted in the development of the plan, the more it will reflect the true direction of your club. 
  • Your members will also feel that the plan belongs to them and they will be more comfortable in assisting with its implementation. 
  • In fact, many of your members may have skills and experience in planning through their workplace or other clubs – make use of these members and involve them. 

Step 2.    Establish current status and broad strategy

  • Consult with your state or national body for your sport’s broader plans
  • Review past outcomes and present position, including mission, vision and values
  • Review past annual reports including financials
  • Review the club’s objects in your constitution
  • Find out trends within the sport, as well as your club.
  • Do a SWOT analysis – strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats
  • Establish realistic and timely performance indicators to measure your success
  • Draft basic action plans and assign responsibilities to key people
  • Analyse current financial status including reconciliation statement, or forecast balance sheet, cash flow and profit and loss statement.

A group of people should be invited to a planning workshop to brainstorm the basics of the plan. This group should be representative of the following groups:

  • Board/committee members
  • Volunteers
  • Sport participants
  • Paid staff
  • Coaches
  • Facilities operators
  • Officials
  • Sponsors
  • Parents
  • Other stakeholders in your club.

Step 3.    Write the plan 

  • Document your plan. If you don’t have a format your state or national body would want you to follow, download and customise to suit your clubs’ size and needs. 

Keep the plan simple! It needs to contain some basic elements: 

  • Mission: A brief statement explaining the purpose of your club and why it exists. An example may be: "to promote tennis as an enjoyable, healthy sport for people of all ages and ability levels in our community".
  • Club goals: Statements that explain the broad directions of your club. For example: "to encourage participation in tennis by all members of the community".
  • Objectives: What specifically does your club want to achieve by the end of the planning period? Make sure your objectives are specific, measurable, achievable, realistic and have a timeframe. An example of an objective may be: "to double the number of registered junior players by the start of competition".
  • Actions (what): What needs to be done to achieve the objectives? An example of an action to achieve the objective of doubling the number of junior players might be: "to produce a promotional brochure for distribution to local schools".
  • Responsibilities (who): Who is responsible for completing the actions?
  • Timeframes (when): When do the actions need to be completed?
  • Resources: How much is it going to cost?

Note: The plan must suit your needs. There is NO plan length which suits every club.

After your planning workshop and the drafting of the plan, it should be circulated as widely as possible to your members to make sure that it reflects their needs.

Step 4.    Implement, monitor and review

To make the whole planning process a valuable and worthwhile activity for your club, you need to:

  • Assign responsibilities for implementation of strategies
  • Create realistic timelines for implementation of action plans
  • Evaluate and update entire plan at least annually, ideally before budget planning
  • Regularly evaluate your plan. Targets should be evaluated quarterly.
  • Financial plans should be evaluated monthly
  • Action plans should be evaluated monthly, weekly and daily.
  • Communicate the results of evaluations to all appropriate stakeholders

3.1.6.    Useful planning terms 

  • Goals are aspirations which the club strives to achieve. While usually difficult to measure and quantify, goals set the direction of the club and support the club’s mission statement.
  • Key performance areas are specific areas of operation which the club or association uses to categorise its desired achievements. 
  • Mission statement and corporate goals are a statement of your club or association’s purpose and what it wants to achieve in the larger environment. These are normally specified in the constitution.
  • Objectives are a set of clear statements of obtainable results or ends within a defined term. They are expressed as SMART - specific, measurable, achievable, realistic, and time bound, and are consistent with the club or association’s goals. A good objective will have its own performance indicators.
  • Outcomes, in the context of a plan, are consequences of the club or association’s goals, objectives and strategies that can be measured. The outcomes must be measurable to indicate the success of implementing the plan.
  • Strategies are activities that are implemented towards the achievement of stated measurable objectives. They describe the actions to be taken by the club or association to achieve each objective.'

More information

Your state or national body is a good first port of call for advice and assistance.

Disclaimer

As with any resource, this does not replace obtaining legal advice on each sport specific requirement and it is recommended you do so. 

The information provided in this resource is for your information only.  The authors and the NSW Office of Sport accept no responsibility for the accuracy of the information or your reliance upon it.