Planning is an important part of future-proofing your club. A solid, well researched and well-informed plan can provide security and direction and allow your committee to move forward on key initiatives with guidelines and a clear end goal. You can insert any cliche statement you like here, but they’re usually true. If you fail to plan…
Planning isn’t about locking your club into something, effective planning acts as a roadmap for your club to follow, and just like a roadmap, you adjust the route to your destination to account for the unexpected.
It allows your committee the security of shared direction and should ensure decision-making and task delegation is easier. Planning is essentially the creation of a formal set-term to-do list.
Different Types of Plans
Planning comes in all shapes and sizes. It can be completed internal to the club or externally by an employed organisation.
You can quite literally make a plan for any aspect of club management, operation and expansion.
The main plans that you should consider approaching are
- Strategic Plan (3-5 years)
- Business/Operational Plan (1-2 years)
- Facilities Plan (5+ years)
It is typically intended that your strategic plan guides everything else that you undertake. Your strategic plan sets the direction and your Operational Plan sets that direction into action with specific goals or steps, your Facilities Plan is typically a long-term facilities focused version of your Operational Plan.
However, some of our smaller clubs would see more benefit from beginning with the Business/Operational Plan first. Setting up the foundation of good operation before defining strategic and facilities direction.
I’d recommend that our smaller clubs engage with an external organisation to develop one of these operational plans, they can provide insight and support to ensure that you’re operating in the best way and doing tasks that will lead to growth. Breaking out of the ‘well we’ve always done that’ mindset.
You can create a more specific base of plans, or smaller action plans that feed off the main plan above.
Plans that sit under your Business/Operational or Strategic Plan:
- Recruitment Plan
- Succession Planning (Volunteers)
- Communications Plan
- Fundraising/Revenue Plan
Plans that sit under your Facilities Plan:
- Event Action Plans (Tournament/Carnival Hosting)
- Priority Implementation Plan (PIP)
The Basics of Planning
Don’t overthink – Don’t Underestimate – Always Look Forward
Don’t overthink the easy stuff and don’t underestimate the benefits of the process. Some elements of the planning process may seem silly, but those items may have great strategic and operational benefit later on. Acknowledge what you don’t know and learn, don’t only restrict yourself to the past, look to the world around you, take what works and acknowledge what doesn’t.
Always seek feedback from your members
Whenever you’re planning, you’re not planning for yourself, you’re not planning for the committee, you’re planning for the club, the region, the sport and its members.
Some plans don’t need to be subject to public feedback or consultation but anything substantial, such as strategic direction and facilities planning should involve your members at some point. Whether they’re involved in the first instance as a “What do you want to see at the club” or at the draft stage to give their feedback on what the committee has prepared. There needs to be some level of involvement and incorporation of your members.
Defining Mission and Vision Statements
Your mission and vision statements should outline your guiding principles.
The mission statement is your purpose, the why and what of your club or region. Clear and focused, a statement that can be used to guide decisions and direction.
The vision statement is a summary of your clubs goals and ambitions, it’s supposed to be inspiring.
Together the mission and vision statements should define a shared sense of purpose, direction and identity.
These should be the defining values of your club or region. For example, Baseball Queensland’s values, as shown in our Strategic Plan are “Collaboration, Integrity, Inclusivity, Teamwork, Respect, Success.”
These are then explored with a quick one line statements that define how the value is to be applied to the organisation.
Example is “Inclusivity” with “FOSTER AND SUSTAIN A CULTURE THAT PROMOTES RESPECT, DIVERSITY AND INCLUSION” or “Success” with “INCORPORATING CRITICAL REFLECTION AND EVALUATION TO ENSURE OUR SPORT CONTRIBUTES TO THE HEALTH AND WELL-BEING OF THE QUEENSLAND COMMUNITY.”
SWOT refers to a Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats matrix.
You’ll use this as a basis to identify items that you can capitalise on. A strength may be the high quality coaches or amazing scorers, a weakness may be lack of digital presence, an opportunity may be to build a new website or start a off season Baseball5 or T-Ball competition, a threat may be rising cost of living or strong recent competition from other local sports.
These can be super vague or super detailed, it’s really up to you, but it’s great to get the input of multiple people to get a real idea of where general opinions lie.
SMART goals are goals that are Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, and Time-Bound.
Specific – narrow focus to ensure it’s realistic, not broad.
Measurable – how do you define success and how is reaching the goal quantified.
Relevant – the goal should align with your overall strategy.
Time-Bound – define a realistic time line for achievement.
The Planning Process
- Mission, Vision, and Values
- Brief History and Update on Current Club
- Memberships, competitions, volunteers, etc.
- Game Plan (https://gameplan.ausport.gov.au)
- SWOT Analysis
- Identification of Strategic Pillars
- Your defining goals/objectives
- Actions/Tasks that help achieve the goals of the Strategic Pillars
- Identify who is responsible for the completion of said tasks (Executive Committee vs President vs Secretary vs Fundraising Coordinator, etc.)
Sometimes referred to as a Masterplan or Facility Development Plan.
Facilities Planning is a long-term exercise, you won’t create a plan and action your largest items within 12 months. (Unless you have massive financial backing)
The goal of a facilities plan is to:
- Ensure efficient use of space
- Fit-for-purpose improvements that accommodate growth
- Proper mix of training and competition infrastructure
- Allows for development of a PIP (Priority Implementation Plan) that sets out an order for all facility maintenance, refurbishment, and replacement projects
A succession plan ensures a framework that transfers from committee to committee and allows a smooth and clear pathway with transitions for incoming and outgoing volunteers.
Most clubs lack a clear pathway for potential volunteers and there’s no clear definition of what responsibilities new volunteers would be picking up.
Succession planning sets you up to work with your members to identify positions people would be willing to fill and allows long-time volunteers to train new people to take over, allowing them to wind down or transition to a less intensive role before stepping back completely.
- Assess where the club is currently at with Volunteers (Game Plan:
- Critical roles
- Need but don’t have currently
- Identify the skills required to fill each volunteer role
- Skills needed for the day-to-day tasks
- Identify skill gaps and potential successors
- EOIs, reaching out to potential successors
- Develop and prepare potential successors
- Shadowing existing volunteers
- Easing them into assisting with ongoing projects
- Have someone available to them to ask questions
- Don’t throw them into the deep end and expect them to know everything.
- Evaluate your succession plan
Things to avoid:
- Avoid making the plan too complicated or too administrative, assess, identify and then support those potential volunteers in finding their feet.
- Don’t bury yourselves or your potential volunteers in work.
- Don’t limit yourself to parents and older players.
- Be open and transparent about how you identify successors and open the opportunity for people to express their interest in learning the positions.
- One size does not fit all, don’t assume everyone will pick things up the same way.
- Support and seek feedback from volunteers to understand if the process is working
- Review and adjust the succession plan regularly
A Communications Plan template is available on the Websites, Social and Traditional Media pages of Club Hub.
- Goals and Objectives
- Target Audience and which platforms to find them
- Craft your messaging
- Consistent branding across all communications!
- Create a content calendar
- Develop engaging content
- Tailored to the needs of each platform.
- Engage, Assess, Review
- Identify what works and what doesn’t and improve, if a platform doesn’t work at all, stop creating specific content for it (but don’t abandon it completely)
- Identify your current revenue streams
- Identify opportunities
- Digital Fundraising
- Social Memberships
- Upcoming grants
- Potential sponsorship opportunities
- Create a register of your sellable assets
- Uniforms, Training Gear, Supporters Gear
- Fence space, dugouts, etc.
- Website space
- Social media call-to-action post