Strategic planning is a tool that is useful for guiding day-to-day decisions, and for evaluating progress and changing approaches when moving forward. It helps by identifying goals and objectives and developing ways of achieving them.

The purpose of a strategic plan is to eliminate as much uncertainty about the future as possible and allow the club to move forward in the most efficient manner.

It is vital that a club is proactive rather than reactive in achieving its goals and objectives. Without adequate planning, immediate issues tend to take up all available time. A strategic plan is a way to gain consensus – sharing and working towards a vision for the future which can develop cohesion amongst members.

A strategic plan will also ensure the club continues to operate effectively and in a consistent direction despite changes in club committee and is a very important succession planning document.

A strategic plan is not an unrealistic ‘wishlist’ which are beyond the capabilities of the club to achieve in the timeframe.

Club Structure

Before your club can start the planning process to establish a strategic plan, you will need to identify the current club committee structure.

Clubs are typically structured around a committee, which is responsible for the administration, financial management and governance of the club. Although the size and structure of the committee will vary according to the type, size and function of each club, the committee should be organised around the needs of the club and its members.

At the most basic structure, a club committee will include:

  • President (chairperson)
  • Secretary (office barer)
  • Treasurer
  • Registrar

The club committee may include more roles depending on the size and operational requirements of the club.

Planning process and stages

The club committee needs to consider planning for the short and long term. Short-term planning relates to planning for specific events of up to 12 months, whereas long-term planning involves a longer period, between 12 months and five years. A strategic plan is considered a long-term plan.

When creating the strategic plan, consideration must be given to the overall direction of the club in terms of what it wants to achieve and how it will go about getting there. Consider the reasons for establishing the club, together with the nature of the community it will serve, and how it will do so.

The planning process should involve four to five key people within your club and be led by the club president.

Stage One – Snapshot of the club

All clubs should have a clear understanding of where they have come from and where they are now before any forward planning can be completed. A snapshot of the club allows the club to identify its current position to plan effectively for the future. Information to consider includes:

  • Financial data
  • Membership demographics
  • Facilities needs
  • On-field performance
  • Off-field activities
  • Social changes that have an impact on the environment in which the club operates

The SWOT analysis is the first step in determining the club’s priority areas for development. It will allow you to identify the club’s strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats.

Strengths and weaknesses relate to the internal aspects of the club such as facilities, members, coaches and equipment.

Opportunities and threats are those external aspects relating to the club, such as funding, school/club link opportunities and issues relating to weather, other sport codes etc.

Stage Two – Develop a Vison, Mission and Value Statements

A vision statement is a statement that states what the club wants to achieve. A vision statement looks to the future and needs to be clear, concise, inspiring and challenging. You want to be able to achieve your vision within 5-10years.

A mission statement clearly states what your club does and why it exists. The club needs to develop a clear, concise and memorable statement about what it sees as its fundamental purpose. The mission statement should identify the main reason for the club existing and acts as a catalyst for change and development within the club.

Where your Vision is looking towards the future, your Mission is usually more practical, and action orientated.

The mission statement answers the following questions:

  • What is the organisation? (Its nature)
  • What does it do? (Its products/services)
  • Who does it serve? (Its customers)
  • Why does it exist? (Its purpose)

Club values state what your club believes in. Values are the core beliefs that shape the way people behave and make decisions. They provide a framework for how members treat one another and how they treat others such as potential members and other clubs. Your value statements should reflect the culture wanted within your club.

You will need to look at establishing between four and six key values for your club. These can then be used as a base to develop a genuine understanding of what is important to the club and be your guiding principles. Once agreed and shared, these values will help the club attract members, volunteers and leaders to contribute effectively to the shared purpose.

Stage Three – Set Goals, Objectives and Key Performance Indicators (KPI)

Goals, objectives and KPIs are an important part of any successful clubs and help determine how members represent their club and what activities they want to plan. Goals are what the club wants to accomplish, Objectives are the activities to achieve the goals and KPIs are how objectives are measured. When determining goals, objectives and KPIs, consideration needs to be given to responsibilities, timelines and financial resources available.

Consider SMART goal setting principles when setting your goals:

Specific – be clear about what you want to achieve

Measurable – make sure the goal can be measured, and you can recognise if you’ve achieved your goal

Achievable - check that your goal is something you have the time, money and resources to meet

Relevant – ensure your goal is relevant to the direction you want your business to head in, for example, increasing profit, employing more staff, increasing brand awareness

Timely - set a realistic deadline for completing the goal.

Example:

Goal: Increase sponsorship by 10% from 2018 commitments

Objective KPI Responsibility Timeline Resourcing
Identify a group of four people to form the Sponsorship committee Group selected and briefed Club Committee Jan 2019 Time
Establish a list of assets the club can offer to sponsor List created with money value allocated Sponsorship Committee Feb 2019 Time
Develop sponsorship package to present to potential sponsors Sponsorship package developed and approved by club committee Sponsorship Committee March 2019 $500 for deisgn and printing of package
Approach potential sponsorship partners with proposal Sponsors approached, and commitment gained for sponsorship dollars Sponsorship Committee May 2019 Time

 

Stage Four – Write the Plan

The club’s plan can be used for player recruitment, funding applications, sponsorship proposals, succession planning and various other purposes. When writing a club’s strategic plan, consider the following points:

  • It should be clear and well set out
  • An executive summary should be included as an introduction
  • Timelines, responsibilities and financial factors should be clearly identified
  • The review process should be outlined indicating the ongoing monitoring of the plan
  • Financial indicators should be evaluated monthly, whereas the action indicators should be reviewed more regularly, even weekly or daily

Once the plan has been drafted, it should be circulated to other members of the committee to ensure it reflects the club’s needs.

Stage Five – Implement, Monitor and Review the Plan


It’s important to remember the plan is a living document and needs to be continually referred to and evaluated at specific times throughout the year.

The plan should be tabled at each club meeting so that each committee member can report back regarding the progress and identified timelines. Each portfolio area within the club should conduct an end-of-season review, by discussing the strengths and weaknesses of the plan and the outcomes from the season. A report should also be compiled at the end of the season and be presented at the AGM regarding the implementation of the plan.