The demands on our time are never-ending. In our local club, school sports or representative team, these demands can be a distraction from the main goal: ensuring the players have fun and improve. Sufficient funding to achieve desired outcomes is rarely available. Defining clear priorities and carrying others with you is a key challenge for sports leaders, to ensure the best experience for our players, coaches and volunteers. To make progress and establish a clear course for decision making, you need a strategy.
In our community we have Regional Sport organisations, such as Northern Football or Harbour Rugby, which oversee the operation of their code in the region. They have an overall plan normally focused on how to increase participation, improve the number and quality of coaches, manage competitions effectively, provide a quality representative programme and support clubs and schools to deliver their sport well. Our role at Harbour Sport is to help them to support these initiatives by providing support, best practice and expertise when needed.
Harbour Sport is currently working in partnership with Northern Football guiding six football clubs through a strategic plan process for their club. The clubs identified a need to develop and update their own plans. The strategic planning process is a critical starting point for any organisation looking to plan for the future or just improve their day-to-day activities. Ultimately the plan will only be useful if it resonates with the people that it engages.
The process allows the membership and stakeholders to voice their views, while the committee or board determine the vision and mission. The feedback gained from the community gives valuable insight on the direction needed while also engaging them in the clubs future priority areas of development.
The process normally is as follows: The purpose, mission and vision are outlined by the committee and staff. A stakeholder survey identifying community needs is performed. Results are reported back, discussed in depth and prioritised. The board or committee then draft a final strategic plan and forwards it to the community for final feedback. This is a good way to engage stakeholders, sponsors and funding agencies.
The Hibiscus Coast AFC is one club currently undergoing this process. It has just completed the stakeholder consultation, with hundreds of people completing the online survey. This strategy will promote key initiatives for further development of the club as well as having a positive impact on football in your community.