Guide to club development

The most effective way to develop your club is to apply a simple planning process to set your club on the path to a better future. The benefits include:

  • Better use of club resources – people, money and facilities
  • Better chances of receiving funding support
  • Better services for current members and attracting new members
  • Better relationships with the local community

Clubs should not feel obliged to plan – it is more a question of having an informed, objective look at the club’s future, and don’t forget Sport North Tyneside are willing to help you.

How to plan
Before you start planning, remember the groundwork:

  • Consult club/committee members, to create shared ownership of the plan
  • Create a working group, who will be responsible for developing and implementing the plan
  • Decide whether you want to develop a long-term development plan or a short-term action plan or both

The planning process is made up of four parts.

1. The audit – where are we now?
All clubs provide varying sporting opportunities for many different levels and abilities, therefore before you can begin to plan for the future it is important that you consider the club’s current circumstances. By carrying out an audit the club can identify its strengths and weaknesses, as well as look at any possible opportunities or threats for development. This process will provide a clear base for setting some realistic aims and objectives for the club’s future.

Before your club can begin to plan for the future, it is important to consider the club’s particular circumstances and what opportunities it currently provides. The easiest way to do this is to work through a club audit.

The club audit should be used as a guide for a SWOT analysis:

  • Strengths – e.g. lots of volunteer helpers
  • Weaknesses – e.g. few qualified volunteer helpers or coaches
  • Opportunities – e.g. potential links with the local secondary school
  • Threats – e.g. reduction in junior members this season

In addition to your own club audit, you can also explore the local sports provision and identify what support is available from other sports providers or partners in the area. For example, there may be coaches or officials working for North Tyneside Council who may be able to offer your club some additional support.

2. The aims – where do we want to be?
Having undertaken the audit, you will have established your current status and started the process of identifying the club’s main objectives for the future.

Ensure your aims are SMART:

  • Specific to your club
  • Measurable – consider how the club’s progress will be assessed
  • Agreed – it is vital that the club involves all committee staff and coaches in the process
  • Realistic – the aims should be challenging yet achievable
  • Timescales – the club must consider the time needed to achieve the aims

You should now be ready to formulate an action plan to identify how you will achieve these objectives.

3. The plan – how will we get there?
The plan identifies how you will achieve the club’s aims. Therefore, you will need to break down each aim into specific targets for your club to achieve in the first year and some proposed targets for future years.

In order to produce an action plan you will need to go through the following five questions:

  • The target – what do you want to achieve?
  • The action – how can it be achieved?
  • Timescale – when will it be done?
  • Led by – who is going to do it?
  • Cost – what it will cost in terms of money, time, people and facilities

This plan may also be used as a business plan when applying for funding grants.

4. The review – how well did we do?
Once the action plan has been agreed, it is vital that it is reviewed and updated at least annually. Monitoring and reviewing your club’s progress is invaluable for ensuring that the club continues to move forward.