Planning is the key to the future success and viability of all football clubs no matter their level, activity or size.
- Utilise plans and resources that currently exist by tailoring them to your club's needs. You don’t have to reinvent the wheel with a totally new plan
- Network with other sporting clubs in the area e.g. check to see if the cricket or netball club has a club plan
- Involve your local council in the planning process to gain assistance and build the relationship
Clubs need to plan for their long-term viability in order to sustain what they already have or to grow.
Planning helps to:
- Look at where the club has come from, where it is now, where it wants to go and how it is going to get there
- Identify the club's main objectives
- Encourage members to get involved in club development
- Improve financial performance and use resources effectively
- Adjust to changes in the current environment that impact the club
- Ensure that resources (human, physical and financial) are used effectively
- Evaluate the club
- Bring order into the hectic business of running a football club
Without adequate planning, the committee frequently only deals with immediate problems and fails to consider future needs.
What is a club plan?
A club plan is a document that is designed to give the club direction in the short to medium term (2-4 years).
It takes into account the internal strengths and weaknesses, the external opportunities and threats, and details strategies to address or build on these.
In general a club plan incorporates:
- Vision and/or mission statement
- Core business areas of the organisation
- Goals/objectives related to these business areas for the period of the plan
- Strategies/tasks to be undertaken to achieve the goals/objectives
- Timelines for the completion of those strategies/tasks
- Resource implications, i.e. what will it cost in people and monetary terms?
- Performance indicators i.e. how will you know when the strategy/task is completed in line with expectations?
- Priorities for action i.e. what should be undertaken in year one, what in year two, what in year three, etc?
All the tasks that need to be achieved within the following 12 month period can be separated out of the club plan and placed into a separate document called an operational plan, i.e. those priorities for action over the next 12 months.
Preparing a club plan
Like many things there is no right or wrong way to prepare a club plan. They can vary from a few pages to a fully laid out document with images, charts and diagrams. They will reflect the size and scope of your club.
There are some basics that must be addressed. Ask yourself:
- Does the plan provide a clear basis for the direction of your club?
- If a new board or staff member picked it up could they easily use it to find out where the club is going in the next few years?
- Does the plan provide detail on how the objectives are going to be achieved, i.e. does it prioritise the strategies and tasks, include resource allocation and target setting?
- Has the development of the club plan involved consulting with your stakeholders? Remember your members and affiliates are also stakeholders
- Has your planning involved communicating with these stakeholders to give them some ownership of the club plan so they become willing partners in its implementation
- Has your planning been inclusive? Remember, all people - regardless of their background - should be welcomed at your club
Who should be involved in the planning process?
Try to involve as many people in the planning process as possible. The more people who are consulted in the development of the plan, the more it will reflect the true direction of your club.
If your members also feel the plan belongs to them they will be more comfortable in assisting with its implementation. Invite a group of people to a planning meeting to brainstorm the plan basics. This group should be representative of:
- Board/committee members
- Sport participants
- Paid staff
- Facilities operators
- Other stakeholders in your club/community
After your planning meeting, the draft plan should be circulated as widely as possible to your members for feedback to make sure that it reflects their needs.
When should you plan?
It is important to set aside time for your planning to ensure it receives the attention it requires. It is probably most economical to schedule your planning meeting with one of your sport’s regular gatherings. This could be:
- A general meeting
- A club tournament
- A social occasion
You will need to set aside a specific timeslot in your schedule (perhaps a day or half-day) for your planning meeting. The meeting should be long enough to develop the basic framework of the plan so the duration will depend on the size and complexity of your club.
Remember, the plan should be reviewed regularly to monitor your progress and make any necessary modifications. The planning meeting should be a regular feature of your club’s calendar.
Download club planning resources