A club development plan will help to identify where the club is now and what steps need to be taken to facilitate its growth and development. The following reasons also outline the importance of drawing up a club development plan:
- When applying for funding, including a club development plan will greatly enhance any application, as it will demonstrate that a club is organised and that any funding received is part of a long term and sustainable scheme
- It will help clubs to decide what they need funding for.
- It will help a club to become stronger as it will help to identify weak areas in the club and give rise to thought on how to improve them
- It will help the club to work towards the same goals rather than everyone working in different directions
Drawing up this plan does not need to be a long or complicated process. It does involve getting as many people as possible involved in the club to give their views.
Remember – it’s the clubs plan and the clubs future – it therefore needs to involve the whole club.
The following pages contain a step by step guide for creating your Club Development Plan. To ensure it’s success, clubs need to appoint a number of ‘drivers’ within the club who will implement, review and evaluate the development plan.
A Club Development Plan template can be downloaded clicking here.
Step 1 - Who should be involved in developing the plan?
Before you start the planning process an important thing to consider is ‘who needs to be involved in developing the plan?’
Although it may be quicker for one person to write the plan, the key success depends on a handful of people with the right skills and knowledge shaping the plan.
A small group of people should therefore be identified as ‘drivers’ in developing the plan and they should all be on board at the start of the process.
Your club may decide to therefore form a planning committee of just three or four people, for example:
- Local Sports Development Officer
- Volunteer Coordinator
Although the process will be led by this committee, it is important that club members and other partners are consulted and involved in the process as much as possible.
For example, the planning committee may wish to consult:
- Club members
- Lapsed members
- Volunteers and Coaches
- Your Local Sports Partnership
- School Sports Coordinator
- Your NGB Development Officer
Step 2 - Where are you now?
Once you have set up your planning committee, the next stage is to identify where you currently are as a club. Think about areas such as your offer to members and participants, the health of your club membership, your volunteers or workforce, your facilities, the state of your finances and who you work in partnership with. Add in other relevant areas for your club.
The easiest way to identify your starting point is to work through a SWOT Analysis. A SWOT Analysis consists of four main sections:
Strengths: Characteristics of your club that give you an advantage
Weaknesses: The limitations of your club or areas where you could improve or
Opportunities: External opportunities available to your club that could help you expand or develop
Threats: External factors that could create problems or barriers for your club
Once you have completed the SWOT Analysis it is important to discuss the findings and implications. You may decide to do this in one or more of the following ways:
- Agenda item at the next Committee Meeting
- Agenda item at your next Annual General Meeting
- Arrange a club meeting for all committee members, coaches and volunteers, members and parents
- Questionnaire to members, coaches and volunteers
- Informal discussions/forum with all club members and personnel
Step 3 - Where do you want to be?
Every sports club needs a clear vision and your Development Plan will be based on the vision for your club so it is important that everyone shares this.
It is therefore important at this stage that you identify
- a clear vision for your club
- Key goals for the next 3-5 years
- Some Longer term goals
Step 4 - How will you get there? Identifying your objectives
This stage focuses on how your club is going to achieve its vision and can be broken down into Objectives.
Club Development Planning works best when the overall club vision is broken down into smaller, more manageable objectives that are realistic and achievable. You should ensure that these objectives are spread across all the main areas required to run your club.
We recommend that you follow the SMART principle when setting your objectives:
- Specific: Identify what the club wants to achieve
- Measurable: Is the club able to measure whether it is meeting the objectives or not?
- Achievable: Are the objectives achievable and attainable?
- Realistic: Can the objectives realistically be achieved the objectives with the resources it has?
- Timed: When does the club want to achieve the set objectives?
Step 5 - Writing your Club Development Plan
The next and final step in the planning process is to write-up the plan using the information produced from Steps 1 – 4.
Ideally, your Club Development Plan should:
- Be linked to the overall ‘Vision’ for the club
- Review the current position and health of the club
- Highlight key short, medium and longer term goals
- Highlight projected action’s, resources, finances and timescales to achieve these goals
- Allow for a review of progress and outcomes throughout the year
Your plan should be easy to use, review and amend.
Step 6 - How are you getting on?
Regular review of your Club Development Plan, at least annually, is essential to ensure you are on your way to achieving your aims and overall vision. It is very common for clubs to spend time and effort preparing a good action plan and then putting it in a filing cabinet to collect dust.
Your planning committee and club members have invested time and effort into developing the plan so use it.
Furthermore, your Club Development Plan is an excellent tool to update local sports networks and funding agencies of your clubs intentions and aspirations and regular review can help to keep a club moving forward.
Provided that the targets set in the plan are measurable, the process should be simple and not too time consuming.