There’s a good reason that successful businesses focus so much on building good organisational structures - through people, processes, and technology.
For sports clubs, good structures internally should sit at the top of the priority list.
Until the structure is sorted and adhered to at a sporting club (especially at a committee level) things will fall by the wayside, important items get overlooked, and slowly but surely control will seem to slip away from those running the club.
In the same way that any good coach strategizes about the formation and structure of their team, club committees should map out and have a clear understanding of the structure of their club.
In this article we’ll take a look at how the majority of well-run sports clubs are structured (in terms of people), how planning is crucial to the success of any good club, and how utilising technology can be the final piece in the puzzle for clubs looking to really excel and grow.
The people behind the scenes at all good clubs
At a basic level, most clubs have a president, vice president, registrar, secretary, and treasurer along with a general committee, and these key people will meet a few times throughout the season to ensure the club is running smoothly and kicking goals (on and off the field).
But what happens beyond that at most clubs? Having been on committees in both Australian Rules and Cricket clubs I’ve witnessed firsthand the pressure and expectations that are placed on people rather than good processes and structure and the negative impact this can have on a club.
What often ends up happening is volunteers get overworked, tired, and turned off from contributing. What’s more, with seasons getting longer and longer the expectation to give up time increases with little relief or support.
With the resources at our disposal through technology (and even AI tools like ChatGPT) there really aren’t too many excuses for clubs lacking good structure at a committee level.
We took it upon ourselves to ask ChatGPT ‘What kind of roles make up a local sports club committee?’
What often ends up happening is volunteers get overworked, tired, and turned off from contributing.
In order to guarantee the long-term stability of your club's committee, a succession plan needs to be put into place. This creates a stable structure within your club's hierarchy and maintains it for years to come.
How is a succession plan implemented? Look at all the specific roles within your club's committee, and then look to target people that possess the strengths to succeed in that very role, it is that simple.
Most sporting clubs have the same problem though, and that is finding people that actually want to jump on the committee and be the difference. Many people possess the skills, and have a lot to say, but won’t bring it upon themselves to actually put themselves in a position where their skills can be worthwhile.
Many clubs just go through the motions, and deal with issues as they arise, with no set plan in place. This method does no favours and proves why over 9,000 clubs across our great nation are at risk of going under (Australian Sports Foundation).
For many clubs, it can be difficult to know where to start. This idea of going through the motions translates to an attitude of 'if it's not broke, don't fix it', and can very easily mean a club becomes fixated with what they are doing and how they do it.
Our platform SportsBlock can quickly change this for clubs. We allow the people managing sports clubs to have greater access to tools to manage members, teams, communication, event scheduling and payments - all in one place.
We also bring all the members of the club onto our app - which is a great way to connect everyone on one universal platform.
If you're interested in taking a look at our club management platform, you can download our club management PDF here.
CLUBMAP emphasises that there are 3 types of planning that a club must do in order to be on top of everything, and get to where they need to be, with these forms of planning being short-term, long-term, and revenue planning.
Short-term planning requires focusing on the priority areas for the next 12 months. Things such as setting the right committee structure, and planning out revenue streams and fundraising events before the season starts are what make up the backbone of short-term planning. It is all about ensuring that everything is planned out before the season gets underway, so all club members know what to expect.
Long-term planning is a 3-5 year focus. Identify the pillars to build the club on and set your club's roadmap for the future. The club's focus for the future needs to be direct so all members can buy in.
Revenue planning is also predominantly a 12-month focus. Aim to move away from hard work fundraising. Most clubs currently use a revenue model that is 50 years old. Move on with the times, embrace technology, and move your revenue streams online. Plan 2-3 key fundraisers and do them well.
Many online platforms, such as Xero accounting help thoroughly with keeping tabs on your club's finances. Xero makes the treasurer's job much easier and can be a stepping stone to creating more jobs around your club with the free time gained from this product.
Xero will also provide assistance with creating your club's annual financial plan, which is something all clubs must endorse. Assign responsibility for revenue streams, and complete a budget so all committee members know exactly how much they can spend, and find the most efficient ways to spend that money to make more money.
The biggest issue most clubs face with planning is not knowing the how. You can create all the goals you want, and most clubs are well aware of the direction they want to head down, but no one will elaborate on how to get there.
For any current committee member looking for ways to improve their club's atmosphere and performance, I highly recommend jumping in on CLUBMAP webinars every Monday night (starts at 7pm EST). These webinars are free and cover all topics ranging from planning for the upcoming season, to gaining more membership and sponsorship (CLUBMAP - Free webinars - CLUBMAP).
I hope this information helps you and your club make the necessary changes in order to chase success for the 2023 season and beyond!