Volunteers in Sport

Volunteer Induction

With many clubs having recently held or about to hold their Annual General Meeting, what processes does your club have in place to welcome new volunteers to your club?

Putting your hand up to help out at a club as a volunteer is a big commitment for people, but is vital for the long term sustainability of your club. The question to ask of your club is: "what do we as a club do to welcome new volunteers and ensure they feel confident in undertaking the role they put their hand up for".

These "newbies" to your club can include new committee members, coaches, team managers and canteen coordinators. Your clubs ability to retain this limited volunteer resource for the future will be dependent on the experiences that this volunteer has during their time in the role and at the club.

This can be a situation where we again forget the skills, knowledge and best practice that we acquire from our occupations and forget to translate these skills as a volunteer at your club. Most people when starting a new job or employment will undergo a period of induction to learn the ropes and get to know the workplace and people they will be working with. Why then do we not see a need to utilise these processes and procedures at our own clubs?

Here is a list of a couple of key items in relation to volunteer induction and items that clubs should consider as part of a volunteer induction manual:

Welcome and introduce the volunteer to other staff and volunteers

Provide a copy of the position description outlining the requirements and expectations of the role

Provide a current copy of the constitution or advise where it can easily be found

Provide an up to date copy of the clubs strategic plan, and highlight key areas

Include a chart showing the organisational structure of the club that outlines the positions within the club and the names of people in these roles

Take the volunteer on a tour of the entire facility to familiarise them with their surroundings and all safety aspects such as emergency exits and assembly areas

Explain and discuss the expectations that the club has of all its staff and volunteers, include as an example: Club Code of Conduct

These are just some of the items that you may consider including in your volunteer induction process. For further information refer to the Volunteering Queensland Website or the Victorian Volunteer Portal continue to keep going

Recruiting and Retaining Volunteers – Does your club do enough?

Take a minute to think about how you engage your volunteers at your club; does your club go above and beyond expectations? Do your volunteers look forward to next season? Do your volunteers feel they are valued and heard?

What can you do to improve your club's volunteer engagement? Some areas to consider implementing in your club as common practice:

- Engage a Volunteer Coordinator as part of the Committee

- Advertise for candidates

- Implement an informal "screening process" to determine "the right fit" for the volunteer and your club

- Position Description for each volunteer/position

- Induction/orientation process (WHS requirements, admin, supervisor, about the club, complaint handling process etc.)

- Continue upskilling and training volunteers

- Evaluations post season

- Implement a volunteer rewards program

Sounds well and good in theory but how do you get started with this? Listed below are numerous resources and links to help you implement a new strategy in your club, for further assistance please contact your local Ipswich Sports House Sport and Recreation Officer.

Fact sheets:

http://volunteeringqld.org.au/Management Resources.pdf

http://volunteeringqld.org.au/Volunteer-Program-Rolling.pdf

http://www.volunteeringaustralia.org/research-and-advocacy/the-latest-picture-of-volunteering-in-australia/

https://secure.ausport.gov.au/__data/assets/pdf_file/0010/185239/Vol_GoodPrac.pdf

https://secure.ausport.gov.au/__data/assets/pdf_file/0010/185248/Vols_VolCoord.pdf

https://secure.ausport.gov.au/__data/assets/pdf_file/0003/185241/Vols_Recruiting.pdf

http://www.ourcommunity.com.au/management/view_help_sheet.do?articleid=738

Toolkits/resource centres/on line training:

http://www.playbytherules.net.au/toolkits

http://www.volunteeringaustralia.org/volunteering-resources/volunteers/

http://www.playbytherules.net.au/interactive-scenarios/free-online-training

http://www.volunteeringaustralia.org/wp-content/uploads/Volunteering_Australia_Volunteer_Roles_Toolkit+1-1.pdf

http://www.clubhelp.org.au/volunteers

Resources to Make Volunteering Easier

Without doubt, volunteers are the lifeblood of our local sport and recreation organisations. Without people like you, our club activities would almost grind to a halt. There would be massive increases in membership fees, we'd have a reduced circle of friends and maybe worst of all, there would be no sausage sizzles out the front of our hardware or grocery stores!

You are not alone if you were not sure what you were in for when you or your best buddy put your hand up for a role within your club.

The value of a volunteer has been recognised for a long time and as a result there are tons and tons of resources that have been produced for the vast majority of volunteer roles within an organisation. And as usual, in the information age, a lot of this information is found online. Try the following websites as a starting point:

Your club's State Sporting Organisation website. Try looking for resources under club development, club support or other similar terms. AFLQ have a number of resources to support clubs on their website as do Netball Queensland. Your own club or association website may have some information for you.

Department of National Parks, Recreation, Sport and Racing website contains a number of resources and links to resources on other websites, all designed to support volunteers in their roles.

Volunteering Queensland is a peak organisation established to provide support services and resources to the volunteering sector. They have considerable list of resources designed specifically to support you in your volunteering pursuits.

Australian Sports Commission has collected a library of information relating to sport and recreation clubs and associations across a number of areas including, but not limited to administration, managing volunteers, risk management and work, health and safety reforms.

Training Courses

Ipswich City Council has engaged a professional trainer to provide Skills Development Workshops to support committed individuals in enhancing their skills for the benefit of their organisation's goals. These workshops are ideally suited for members of NGO's, non-profit and community organisations, who are active in the areas of environment, youth, sport and recreation, cultural or community development. It is also hoped that participation in the workshops will assist in strengthening local community networks.

Ipswich Sports House provides a list of upcoming workshops, information sessions and seminars all designed for volunteers. Keep checking our website for new additions to the training calendar.

The Department of National Parks, Recreation, Sport and Racing also produce a list of upcoming education and training activities being conducted throughout Queensland.

This material has been produced as a starting point only to enable you to find some information to help in your role as a volunteer. As you will find, there really is a whole world of resources designed to support volunteers.

Recognition of club achievers as important as achievements

The QT-City of Ipswich Sports Awards celebrate and recognise people's contribution to sport – whether as an athlete, coach, administrator, volunteer or community sponsor.

Find out more about the 2012/13 QT-City of Ipswich Sports Awards > 

While the awards recognise the city's best talents across these fields, recognition to those same group of people within your club is extremely important.

All clubs and teams trumpet their on-field successes and achievements, however recognising those behind the scenes can sometimes be overlooked.

Within your organisation you will have certain people that should be recognised for what they do. It might be a long serving volunteer, a high-quality coach, or even a valuable sponsor.

Have a think about your club's presentation night. You porbably have a long list of awards for your players and athletes. But do you have any awards or gifts for hard working volunteers?

Coaches and team managers put a lot of work in over a long season. Is your club thanking them? And could your club proivde access to training and accreditation resources to award a hard working coach and help them get to the next level?

Your organisation most likely has the support of businesses and groups in the community. How are you recognising and thanking those businesses for their support?

Finally, keep in mind the annual Ipswich Sports Awards! There are most likely plenty of candidates from your club that could be recognised on Ipswich sport's night of nights.

Volunteer Position Description

No, you are not at work, but your volunteers can spend a lot of time at your club. To make things easier for them, why not make sure they know and understand the roles that they have to undertake so the club operates more efficiently?

Volunteer position descriptions (or task lists) can help volunteers in their roles by providing guidance on their tasks or even attract new volunteers to your club. Some potential volunteers are unsure of what is required or feel they don't have the skills so having a task list for them can make them feel at ease and more comfortable in putting their hand up to help. Make sure a position description is included in your volunteer induction or hand over process and if you don't have a hand over process make sure you have one by the next AGM.

Clarify the responsibilities and support in place for volunteers and empower them to achieve. Your State Sporting Organisation may have existing templates for your sport which you can use. Otherwise, some good websites with templates include:

Australian Sports Commission

Volunteering Queensland

Volunteering Australia Toolkit

Our Community Induction Process

Designing roles and position descriptions for volunteers can be a simple process with significant outcomes. Volunteers with job descriptions are more likely to report feeling supported in their work, adequately trained and have opportunities to participate in decisions that affect them and their work resulting in the club achieving goals and higher retention of volunteers to keep helping.

Financial Management

Not-for-profits making profits!

It's something that confuses so many people! Can our not-for-profit sporting clubs actually make profits??? Even though the not-for-profit title suggests they can't make a profit, in actual fact, they can! But any profit made must be reinvested back into the organisation meeting the purpose of the club's objectives. No personal gains or other benefit to particular people is allowable.

A club is able to retain profits instead of applying it towards their purpose if there is a valid reason. In sporting clubs this could be; investing cash into a term deposit to pay for future apparel or equipment needs; retaining funds to pay for new infrastructure projects or even long term investments to support the future running of the club – long term sustainability should always be an area a club plans for.

If a club is to be dissolved, there should be a clause within the constitution stating the distribution of the surplus assets to another entity. The Model Rules state: (Taken directly from Model Rules)

(1) This rule applies if the association -
(a) is wound-up under part 10 of the Act; and
(b) has surplus assets.
(2) The surplus assets must not be distributed among the members of the association.
(3) The surplus assets must be given to another entity -
(a) having objects similar to the association's objects; and
(b) the rules of which projibit the distribution of the entity's income and assets to its members.
(4) In this rule - surplus assets see section 92 (3) of the Act...

For more information refer to the Australian Charities and Not-for-profits Commission webiste or Office of Fair Trading Website 

Take Control of Cash

Responsible management of financial resources is perhaps the most common factor that separates sport and recreation organisations that are successful from those that are either less successful or those that no longer exist. Included in this financial management is managing cash.

Some clubs may receive large amounts of cash through membership fees, canteens, sales and more. Having a process to deal with this cash is important to reduce the risk of this cash going missing.

For canteens, have 2 people count the float and final takings and sign off after each canteen. Have a safe to place large amounts of cash in or bank the cash within 48 hours.

When dealing with cash:

Keep up-to-date records as well as an audit trail for all transactions

Ensure safe custody of money and prompt banking

Review all internal processes and reporting methods at least annually

Protect the club against fraud and theft by banking money within set timeframes. This will reduce the risk of cash being stolen from the clubhouse or volunteer's house or the temptation to use the cash and "repay" it.

Other financial tips include

Have a minimum of 2 signatories to sign cheques with at least 1 being an office bearer

Set a budget annually to keep track of finances and show the cash flow of the club

Keep up to date records and an audit trail

Be aware of tax obligations if applicable

Use receipts to account for cash received

The Treasurer plays a vital role in the financial control of the club: however, the processes and risks should be reviewed by the executive.

Grant Application Tips

Our ISH Officers have been able to assist with many grant applications over the past 3 years and we would like to see Ipswich sport and recreation clubs continue to have successful grant applications. Applying for grants should be a planned process in regards to timing and types of projects to increase your chances of success. Anyone can assist with writing grants with some helpful information and tips!

Firstly, each funding program will focus on different outcomes so make sure you match your required project to the grant. There is no point applying for equipment when the grant focus is on improving governance!

Know where to find grants! State, Federal, private companies and community organisations offer grants so know where to look and approximate timing of recurring programs. Do a regular search on grant search sites and keep a look out in the media for announcements.

Read guidelines carefully. They will often impact on what project you submit, how you will implement the program and spending and acquitting details. If the grant requires the money to be spent within a year and your project will go for two years, you won't be eligible.

When writing your submission, include research that your club or others have done and provide statistics and other data that shows a community need.

Include details about what you want to achieve through your project. Do you want to get more people playing sport in the community, increase memberships or purchase equipment for the club to continue general operations? Focus on the benefits that will be attained and how you will measure your success.

Don't have the view of "we need money". Instead portray your desire to undertake the program to benefit the community. Focus on the solutions and what will be achieved rather than the club just wanting money to do something.

If your club is not eligible from the outset, don't waste your time applying "just in case". Applications won't be considered at all if the club or project doesn't fit the guidelines.

Keep your application short and to the point. Answers should be concise and don't use jargon so it stands out. Assessors appreciate reading these types of applications!

Use active sentences – "we will deliver the program" not "the program will be delivered"

First impressions count – have a catchy name for your project which still describes what you intend to do. Grant foundations will want to promote the projects so a memorable name and theme will help.

Don't be afraid to ask questions or contact the grant foundation. Programs should have contact details and you will save time by asking questions up front rather than after submitting an application that is not eligible.

Look at the list of previous successful applicants. You will get a good idea of what projects will be funded and can contact those organisations for a copy of their grant application to assist you in writing yours.

Partnering with other community organisations, businesses or entities will help you deliver the project and also show that you are truly working with the community to achieve positive outcomes.

Show that your organisation and project is sustainable and that after the grant, your club will continue to provide community benefits as a result of the grant funding.

Many grant programs will require a budget to be submitted. Show all of the contributions for your project including fundraising, own contributions and in kind support. Having multiple sources of funding demonstrates evidence of planning and sustainability.

And last but not least, don't give up! Even if you aren't successful for the first (or second or third grant) applying for grants increases your grant writing skills and knowledge. Take on board feedback so you can fine tune your application for future submissions.

There are a number of websites that provide advice on writing grants or you can use the services of a professional grant writer. Further information can be obtained from a number of organisations.

Our Community – http://www.fundingcentre.com.au/video/top-10-grants

Department of National Parks, Recreation, Sport & Racing who host regular grant writing information sessions - http://www.nprsr.qld.gov.au/community-programs/education-training/regional-workshops/index.html

Sports Community - http://sportscommunity.com.au/resources/sports-clubs-and-grants/

Club Help - http://www.clubhelp.org.au/fundraising/getting-grants

Answer the Our Community Grant Quiz questions for each grant application to see if you should apply:

Who are you? Yes – proceed to next question No – do some more thinking

What do you want to do? Yes – proceed to next question No – do some more thinking

Why do you want to do it? Yes – proceed to next question No – do some more thinking

What do you expect to achieve? Yes – proceed to next question No – do some more thinking

How much will it cost? Yes – proceed to next question No – do some more thinking

How much do you want from whom? Yes – proceed to next question No – do some more thinking

How much (and what) will you contribute yourself? Yes – proceed to next question No – do some more thinking

How long will it take and when will you need to start? Yes – APPLY No – do some more thinking

Player & Membership Registration Fees

With a number of sports coming to the end of their season, preparation for the next season is now underway. Before you embark on your well-deserved off season break, no matter how short it might be, it is a good idea to determine and advertise the fees that your club will charge members for next season.

The determination and agreement of registration fees will assist the club in its budgeting and planning for next season. This can have implications for cash flow projections based on the timing of sign on days and the impact of any payment plans offered by the club. However, this is not the only benefit of being proactive in regard to registration fees, your members and potential members can also benefit.

By determining these costs early and informing your current members, you will assist them in budgeting for sign on even though it may be a number of months away. This will avoid "sign on shock" and assist members and parents prepare for the upcoming expense. This should be a particular focus for winter sports, as sign ons generally occur in the weeks following the festive season and coincide with back to school expenses.

There are many factors and costs involved when determining and setting your club fees for an upcoming season, some of these may include:

Governing Body Affiliation Fees

National, State and Regional

Insurance Costs

Day to Day Operating Costs

water, electricity

club administration costs

Field / Ground / Facility Costs

hire, maintenance, lighting

Equipment

Playing Uniforms

Coaches

Sports Club Membership

determined by club structure and setup

While this is not an exhaustive list, these are the type of fixed costs that need to be covered as part of the clubs registration fees, otherwise the club may not be able to remain financially viable in the long term. These "fixed costs" are components of the registration fee that must be paid for by the club for every player and member.

Some of these costs may vary slightly from year to year, but this would be reflected through the clubs budgeting and financial forecasts in regard to purchases that will be required for items such as uniforms and equipment.

The next consideration when determining your registration fees are items that are considered to be extra components or benefits that are built into the upfront cost.

These may include:

Presentation Days / Nights

Team Photos

Trophies

Facility / Building Fund

Upskilling coaches to a higher level

Referees / Umpire / Official fees

Match Fees

Training Uniforms

There are a large number of items that could be included on this list. These types of items are generally determined by the club if they are an essential component or an optional purchase for their members. Any exclusions or inclusions of this type will have a direct impact on the total cost of the registration fee payable.

It is also advisable to inform players and parents up front if there will be extra weekly payments or match payments required to supplement the registration fee. Providing people with all of the information will allow them to make an informed decision and can alleviate any potential issues moving forward.

The key to all of this is to ensure that there is transparency involved with regard to the registration fees for your club. It is best practice to provide a breakdown of the fees for players, parents and potential members that account for every dollar. This will mean that their decision to play or sign on can be made based on the perceived value for money and whether they are willing to pay the amount advertised.

Are Late Payments Crippling Your Club?

Not for Profit Sporting Organisations rely on timely payment of fees to ensure club operations and activities are successful and secure. Late fee payments can hurt a clubs cash flow, and cripple activities, events and the future of the club. Many payment delays can be avoided, however, by developing an effective collections plan.

Use these steps to create yours:

Step 1: Bill correctly

Some late payments can be directly tied to confusing or inaccurate invoices. All bills should clearly display the amount due and a description of the items or project delivered; payment due dates and terms; an invoice, vendor and purchase order number (if applicable); the name and address of the customer; and your business name, address and tax ID number. Include the name, phone and email address of the person to contact should questions arise. Also, make sure you're billing the right person – an incorrectly routed invoice can push payment out 30 or more days.

Step 2: Check customer satisfaction

Dissatisfied customers are more likely to pay late. A friendly call a week or two before payment is due lets you ask about your performance to make sure you met your customer's needs. End these calls by asking if your bill was received and reinforcing its due date. Where applicable, try to offer a small discount for paying a few weeks early - the possiblity of "saving" some money by paying promptly can sometimes be a great motivator!

Step 3: Send overdue notices

Be diligent in tracking overdue accounts. If payment has not been received a week after the due date has passed, send a pleasant reminder. You are assuming that the client has forgotten, neglected or lost the bill and will pay with gentle prodding. If, two weeks later, payment has still not been sent, send a second, friendly reminder with a duplicate invoice attached. 

Step 4: Begin collection calls and letters

When a bill is 30 to 45 days past due, it's time to get serious. Many businesses encourage payment through a series of letters and phone calls that start out courteous and become progressively more insistent as payments become more overdue. When you're making collection calls, be prepared to handle excuses. For instance, if the debtor said a check was sent, ask when it was mailed and where it was sent.

Step 5: Suspend or Cancel Membership rights

Depending on your club Constitution, By-Laws and Finance Policy, you may be able to suspend or cancel the individuals membership and rights to participate in club activities. Often child members are the ones that suffer here, but it is a necessary action to take to avoid further fee payment breaches.

Step 6: Mail final collection letter

At 90 days past due, you need to be serious and demanding.Your final collection letter should confirm any payment terms you previously negotiated and state that if payment is not received by a certain date, the account will be turned over to a collection agency, which may adversely affect the client's credit rating. 

Step 7: Hire a collection agency

An account over 90 days in arrears may require professional help. Receiving a letter from a collection agency often motivates a debtor to pay. Be aware, though, that their fees can be steep – agencies typically take from a quarter to a half of what they collect - obviously this is an extreme measure, and hopefully your club will never experience this, however in extreme circumstances sometimes it may be required.

Insurance – A Necessity for All Clubs

A good insurance program is important for any well-managed club. The idea behind insurance is very simple. You pay a fixed amount of money to avoid the chance of paying out a large amount of money in the future. Insurance also allows your club to budget for costs and eliminates the need to keep large reserves on hand just in case someone is injured.

You'll often hear the phrase 'risk management' used in insurance circles. Insurance experts recommend that your insurance program is based on a risk management analysis. This means you need to review your risks for liability or loss, reduce them where possible and insure for the risks that you don't feel you can easily reduce.

Risk Management Programmes (Insurance Coverage) usually consists of the following types of cover:

Public Liability - Public liability insurance is a very important form of insurance for a club as it protects the employees and members of the organisation. This insurance aims at providing indemnity to the club against legal liability to pay damages arising from accidental injury (including death) and accidental damage to property. This covers claims arising from negligence of the club or one of its employees, and claims based upon the condition of the premises. It also provides for payment and legal costs related to such claims. The policy must be written specifically for the organisation which it is meant to indemnify. The insured must be defined as 'all the committee and members of the club', and should be extended to provide cover for any goods sold or supplied to customers.

Professional Indemnity -Clubs take out a professional indemnity insurance to cover their coaches and trainers or any other persons giving professional advice or imparting skills. This type of policy protects such persons for claims made against them for negligent acts, advice, instructions or omissions during their work. For instance, a trainer could be liable for failing to treat an injury correctly or for advising a player to continue in a match situation after receiving a serious injury. In some cases, coaches who are accredited under the National Coaching Accreditation Scheme (NCAS) may be covered by a policy taken out by their state or national association.

Liability of Officials (Directors and Officers Liability) - An incorporated association may insure its directors and officers against liability to a third person, provided the liability is not for negligent acts or breach of duty.

Personal Accident - This insurance is useful to protect an individual against any disabling injuries. As premiums are often very high for sportspeople, it is worthwhile to find out if a less expensive policy can be arranged through the organisation by insuring a large group of individuals, such as through a state or national body.

Property - Covers you for loss or damage to your organisation's building and contents. This may include loss or damage caused by events such as fire, flood, storms, burglary and earthquake.

For more information and helpful tips, check out the following links:

Insurance Checklist

iea-sport-guide-to-insurance

Insurance - Organisations involving volunteers

Sporting Event Sponsorship

Ipswich City Council provides the Sporting Event Sponsorship program to assist eligible organisations to host local, district, regional, state, national and international sporting events within the boundaries of the city. The objectives of the program are:

To increase physical activity for community benefit.

Assist in building the capacity of sport and recreation organisations to host events and for the events to become sustainable.

Create partnerships with local, state and national sporting organisations.

Activate spaces and facilities.

Organisations eligible to apply, can submit applications to Council at any time throughout the year as long as the application is submitted eight weeks prior to the scheduled event. All applications are assessed and support, either monetary or in-kind, may be offered to the organisation to support the event and achieve the objectives outlined above.

From the 1 July 2014, the program has undertaken some changes with Council implementing the Smarty Grants program for grant applications. Organisations wanting to apply for the Sporting Event Sponsorship, will now need to complete the online application. This process will enable ease of application and efficient processing of applications to ensure your organisation receives the best service possible.

It is recognised that sport and recreation clubs can host a range of events and hosting these events in Ipswich is a significant benefit to the city.

Visit Council's website for further information and the application process.

Get Grant Ready, Get Going and Get Playing

With the announcement of a new round of Get Going and Get Playing grants from the Department of National Parks, Recreation, Sport and Racing for sport and recreation clubs to be released within weeks, now is the time to ensure that your organisation is Grant Ready to submit a strong business case for funds and stand out from the rest of applications from this very competitive program. Below are some essential steps to prepare now:

Contact the Office of Fair Trading (Ph. 13 74 68) and ask to check that your organisation is up to date with OFT compliance matters OFT. You will need to be a committee member to access this information over the phone. Don't assume it is all ok because you submitted last year's return on time. There may be outstanding returns from some years ago and any outstanding items with the OFT may exclude your organisation from being eligible for receiving funds, despite a lodgeing a very strong funding application.

Contact the Department of National Parks, Recreation, Sport and Racing (South West Qld Regional Office Ph 07 4615 3600) and check to see if your club/organisation has any outstanding items from any past successful grant approvals. Again you should be a committee member to access this information and whilst you may not have applied last time, there may still be an outstanding acquittal or report from a previous application. Talk to the Department staff about what it is your are considering applying for as they can provide valuable insight into the compilation of your application.

Click the funding program links above and read a copy of the guidelines from the previous round. Whilst these guidelines may change for the round opening on 1 July, it will give you a guide as to what your club needs to consider.

Read through the list of previously approved applicants under Get Going and Get Playing to get and idea of what projects have been funded in the last round. Even give a couple of those clubs a call if they have a project similar to what you are looking for.

Finalise your Club Strategic/Development Plan that clearly supports the need for your project. These planning documents demonstrate the need for your project and shows it has been identified and planned into your operations. This adds significant weight to your case and may contain some of the justification you need to detail in your application. If you don't have a plan or need to update an existing one, contact your Ipswich Sports House Officer now!

Contact Ipswich City Council (07 3810 6666) if you plan on applying, particularly if you intend to apply for infrastructure projects and find out about approvals, permission etc. Some of these approvals may take some time to be obtained and may require their own application that conforms with planning and building codes.

Collate information that will support your business case. Information like membership and participation numbers over the past 3-5 years, details on your facilities, support from your regional or state sporting organisation.

Contact your stakeholders that would support your local organisation - of course Ipswich Sports House should be at the top of your list but include local councillors, state and federal members, state sporting organisation, other clubs within your region, local schools etc.

Ensure you know exactly what is involved in your project. It is essential that you totally understand all possible costs, fully scope out all works for your project if it is for an infrastructure purpose. If you start construction and you find there is a shortfall, you will need to fund this yourself with no possibility of requesting for more funds from the funding program.

Prior planning prevents poor performance.

Is Your Club Ready for Paid Employees

Firstly you will need to decide whether you need to employ someone. Most clubs exist with a kind of "static equilibrium" - changing one thing effects and changes other things in the club. Be aware of the potential influence a paid employee will have on your club and the impact it will have on volunteering.

For example there could be conflict between volunteers - because it affects their powerbase and so they may unload everything onto the new employee. Clearly outline the roles and responsibilities of the volunteer or employee to avoid any such problems.

Do You Need and Employee Checklist:

Firstly consider the basic goals of your club

What do you hope to achieve?

Can we run on volunteers?

Do we need to employ a staff member?

Are we simply taking the easy way? That is from recruiting, training, and retaining volunteers?

Has our club become too big and demanding for volunteers?

Will the benefits outweigh the costs?

List the programs you will undertake over the next 2 years, with a breakdown of the work involved

Work out a rough budget for each project or program

Determine which tasks volunteers can perform?

This will show up where gaps exist. This gap is what your employees will fill or where more volunteers can help (Tip: This exercise will give a clear idea of the position description for your new staff! It may show that you need a clerical officer, publicity officer or a development officer).

After having considered all the tasks to do and projects for the next 2 years, you feel your volunteer base will not be enough, you may decide to employ a staff member.

Those you might like to employ are the following:

A Venue Manager

Office Administrator

Head Coach(es)

How to Employ

The process of employing a staff member itself is quite simple. However, as an employer, you will need to shoulder certain responsibilities that are placed upon you. In addition to the responsibilities you will need a step by step guide and an understanding of the pitfalls to avoid.

Sometimes too, it just does not work out, so you will need helpful advice on this as well. All of this information can be found in this section. However the most important thing to start with is a position description.

The Position Description

The Position Description should include:

Position title

Purpose

Duties & Responsibilities

Accountabilities (Who they report to)

Qualifications & Competencies Required

Essential or Desired Qualifications.

Here is an action plan to help you take this process further.

An Employment Action Plan

Prepare a table with times and responsibilities for completing the following sequence:

Go through the 'Do You Need an Employee?' check-list

Write a position description

Prepare a personal profile of your ideal employee

Prepare an advertisement

Select your interview panel

Set interview dates

Collect, collate, and shortlist names of applicants

Develop a coordinated interview strategy

Conduct interviews

Allow time to check with referees

Prepare the employment contract

Introduce your new employee to key people

Make your choice known to all members, confirming his or her duties and line of responsibility (newsletter, noticeboard)

Arrange taxation/Superannuation etc.

File personal records

Induct new employee into the organisation

Set out a detailed work program for the first two weeks.

Some of the expenses of employing include: salaries, vehicle, travel, holiday pay loading, superannuation, workers' compensation, office rent, cleaning, furniture, equipment, support staff, and possible loss of investment income.

Set a realistic salary for the position remembering that offering a competitive salary is essential for retaining staff. You can compare salaries for similar positions from other clubs, private enterprise, salary surveys, or puruse job advertisements regularly. Check with Fair Work Australia if a wage award applies, especially for clerical positions.

Tip: Be aware of the hidden costs of employing as well as the obvious costs.

More information and Resources

Grant Acquittal and Reporting

If your club has been successful in securing funding through a grants program the final piece of the puzzle is the successful acquittal of the money received. Organisations may actually be unsuccessful in receiving grants if they have an outstanding acquittal from a previously successful application for funding.

Acquitting is the process where your organisation accurately reports on funded activities undertaken as part of the specific grants guidelines. Ultimately you are required to explain and prove how any money received was spent and that it was expended in line with the original application that was submitted for assistance and subsequently approved.

If your club has previously been or is successful in receiving grant funding, please ensure that you are aware of all of the reporting requirements your club will need to supply to be able to fully and accurately acquit monies received.

More often than not a successful club will enter into a Grant Agreement with the grant provider and this will detail the acquittal and reporting requirements. It is vital that your club understands from the start what they are required to do as part of this reporting and acquittal process. Some grants will require a final report while other grant programs will require updates or progress reports as part of the agreement.

Grant acquittal and reporting requirements will be different from grant to grant and in some cases can even vary between funding rounds of the same grant program such as the Community Gambling Benefit Fund.

Grant reporting can form part of the acquittal process, many grant programs will have a template report that you will be required to fill in and submit by a certain date as a condition of the grant agreement. This will provide the grant provider with key information they require to fulfil any reporting requirement that they may have. It also highlights how an organisation is tracking in relation to key milestones and achievements against the grant programs goals and objectives.

The majority of grant programs will require your organisation to provide documentation of how monies received was expended. This will most likely involve the submission of receipts and invoices.

Check you grant agreement but these receipts will general have to include the following information:

Business name

Transaction date

Supplier ABN

Supplier details

Products individually itemised

It is recommended that your organisation keep their own copies and records of these receipts for a period of at least 7 years. This is in case the club is required to undergo an audit in relation to the funded project in the future.

Your club may also be required to submit information or a separate report on the outcomes and/or performance of the programs that were undertaken as a result of the successful grant application and the grant agreement. The club will be responsible for collecting information and statistics to be able to document the outcomes of the program. This may include but is not limited to the following:

Participant numbers

New memberships acquired

Benefits to the club

New or potential sponsorship opportunities

Promotional activities

Equipment purchased

Here is a checklist for your club to consider should you be successful in securing grant funding:

Appoint a person or committee to manage the project including the acquittal and reporting requirements

Understand the requirements of the Grant Agreement

Keep in constant communication with the grant provider

Ask for permission if you wish to alter/change any part of the grant agreement; examples

Quantity equipment to be ordered

Date of the proposed activity or event

Ensure receipts have required information

Maintain a record of required information eg. Receipts

Keep a record of any changes to the approved project

Capture program details

Participants

Statistics

Feedback

Meet reporting deadlines

Submit acquittal forms by required date

Remember if you breach or do not complete the approved funded program as per your grant agreement your organisation may be required to return any monies received under the grant program, acquittal is the process to check and balance that this has occurred.

What to do after your AGM???

The season has finished, the AGM has been held and new committee has been voted in for 2014 – so what's next?

If you're a new committee the first stages of running the club can be an intimidating experience, if you're an existing committee then it doesn't hurt to recap the requirements for the season ahead.

Listed below are some of the essential areas that clubs should action prior to commencing the 2014 season:

Office of Fair Trading
Every incorporated club needs to submit an Annual Return (Form 12a) along with all the required documentation depending on your incorporation level (level requirements can be found here).Office of Fair Trading will send out the Annual Return approximately 6 weeks after your club's financial trading year, which is due 6 months after your end of financial year. If you did not receive or require another copy you will need to contact the registration services branch their contact details are located here.

Update committee contact details
You'll need to ensure that all relevant internal and external stakeholders have the new contact details to your committee (full name, phone number and email address) as well as updated club details (website, social media and PO Box). Some example stakeholders could be:

Your club members,

local sporting association and/or State Sporting Body,

local council - for clubs in the Ipswich City Council region this can be sent through via email to sportrecreation@ipswich.qld.gov.au,

your Ipswich Sports House club development officer – email can be sent through to info@ipswichsportshouse.com.au,

Your club sponsors, and

Your club patron.

Booking your venue
Ensure you have a playing and training venue booked prior to pre-season training commencing. Regardless of the facility owner you will need to complete a user agreement with supporting documentation such as: proof of insurance (certificate of currency), booking period (days and times), club contacts and signed declaration.Ipswich City Council facility users can book online, this can be completed via the online application form. The prescribed fee in accordance with Council's Fees and Charges will be required when submitting an application (if applicable). Please refer to Council's Fees and Charges if you require further assistance call phone 07 3810 6666.

Complete any bank account changes
Usually club's bank accounts require two to sign and these signatories are usually the executive committee. Each bank will have their own requirements and it would be best to contact your local branch to clarify the requirements, however, some expectations would be:

Two of the current signatories present to sign over accounts;

Meeting minutes stating the signatories to add to the account(s). If more than one account, ensure to list each account to be added to, as well as confirming access level (eg. View only, internet access, full signatory);

Identification of the new signatories (100 points), and;

Use of your Club's Common Seal stamp (you can order a club common seal here on minutes and signed off by committee members.

2014 insurance requirements
Each year you'll be required to submit seasonal application for insurance. There will be different levels of insurance available to purchase, these can include: Public Liability (requirement!), Club Management Liability (desirable), Property (optional), Personal Accident or Workers Compensation (if applicable). In most cases the State Sporting Body will advise of the best insurance provider to cater for your particular sport.

Plan for the year ahead
Preparation is one of the most overlooked areas in new and old committees. It starts from the moment you are voted in - with the handover from the previous member and creating an action plan for the year ahead (learn from the club's previous successes and failures).There are numerous templates and tools available to use, many of which can be provided by your ISH Club Development Officer. Some of the items to consider adopting would be:- Annual Calendar
- Annual Budget
- Strategic Plan (with future planning actions)
- Policies and Procedures

Taking care of your cash

Sporting clubs and associations have certain legal obligations in relation to financial management. A key component of this is having sound cash handling policies and processes.

Many clubs over their history have stories of having cash stolen and often in large amounts. Don't let your Club be another victim!

A cash management policy and good procedures for handling cash should be in place to protect both the Club's cash, and the club volunteers responsible.

Some features of good cash handling policies include:

Ensure all cheques and payments require at least two signatures

Minimise cash held at your Club premises and never leave cash unattended

Ensure all cash is held in a cash drawer or tin and not left visible at the point of sale

Ensure all funds received by the Club are receipted accurately - regardless of whether this is a manual cash book, spread sheet or accounting system

Where possible, use a cash register and balance it

Ensure that funds from separate activities are counted separately prior to being pooled with other club funds (e.g. match day entrance fees, raffles, bar takings and canteen takings should all be counted separately prior to calculating a total match day takings)

During game and event activities, cash should be continually cleared from the cash registers and those taking cash and stored in a secure location

Cash should always be counted with two people present and amounts collected recorded

Cash should be banked immediately

Only payments which have been approved by the Club committee should be paid

All payments must be supported by evidence (tax invoice or payment slip)

Club Budgeting

We have all been told at some point in time that we need to save for a rainy day, but is your club prepared for this proverbial downpour?

Sound financial budgeting is a critical component to the success of sporting associations and clubs.

All sporting organisations should have budgets prepared, followed by the committee and that are reviewed regularly. Budgets are crucial in ensuring that cash flow can be managed and that the club remains liquid at all times.

A budget broken down into months outlines the following:

When revenues are expected to be received

When expenses will need to be paid for

Highlights key financial periods and milestones 

Most sporting clubs will receive the majority of their yearly revenue before the season even kicks off through registration fees and sponsorship.

So preparing, adhering and reviewing of budgets helps to report not only when the weather is all sunshine but can help forecast when the clouds are forming and the rains are on the way.

Sponsorship: What is your main focus?

THE majority of clubs and organisations are reliant on sponsorship dollars and it's usually a high percentage of their annual income. But do you focus on recruiting more sponsors or keeping your current sponsors happy? Take the time to ask yourself what does your club do to keep your sponsors each year? Do you deliver what you promise? Here are some tips to maintain a successful partnership:

Communicate. Sponsors like to feel acknowledged, and not forgotten.

Promote. Sponsorship is another form of advertisement for their business, show the value of the sponsorship agreement.

Personal invites. Show your appreciation so they feel wanted and a part of your club.

Relationships. Develop personal relationships, and regularly meet with them.

Ask for feedback. Never assume that you provide the perfect partnership. Always ask for feedback and learn from past problems.

Club Management

Club Constitutions: What is it? How do you use it? Do you have a copy? Does your club need to review it?

What is a Club Constitution (also known as the Club Rules)? Well to put it simply, it's the Rules of an incorporated sporting association that forms the structure which a sporting club operates.

The Rules set out:

- How the association operates,

- The rights available to members,

- How the management committee works, and

- How meetings will run.

The Club Constitution is the bible for the running of the club. Majority of the decision making processes are set out in the constitution, including: how committee members are elected and appointed, terms of office, quorum, procedures at committee meeting etc. Therefore, it's quite important that each year the incoming committee has the most up-to-date Club Rules.

So what can a club do if they no longer have a copy of their Club Constitution? If you have exhausted all of your internal club contacts (past executives, life members or local association) the next point of contact is Office of Fair Trading Queensland, phone 13 74 68, and ask for a copy of the rules – there is a fee of $3.10 per page (as at October 2014), as long as you are a current executive member of the club and provide the club's details you will be able to proceed with the process of issuing you the latest version of the Club Rules.

When should you review? This depends on your club and changes that have occurred, as a general rule it is suggested that every club should assess their constitution every 2 to 3 years and make the relevant changes by passing a special resolution at a general meeting. Within 3 months of passing the resolution, the secretary must complete and lodge a rule amendment form (available on the Office of Fair Trading website) and pay the $18.20 (as at October 2014) fee.

Club Meetings that don't last to midnight

Every sport and recreation organisation needs to hold meetings to run their activities. Unless there are clear procedures, these meetings can be ineffective, drag on for hours and or not provide an opportunity for balanced discussion.

To ensure your meetings are effective, here are some tips you can follow:

Prepare an agenda and circulate to members 1 week prior to the meeting;

Include in the agenda, copies of previous minutes and copies of written reports or updates for members to read prior to attending;

Read the material distributed prior to the attending the meeting;

Turn up 5-10 minutes early to allow the meeting to start on time. Formal meetings need a quorum before they can start;

Keep the meeting on track. Every meeting needs a chairperson – someone who is a good listener, allows reasonable debate and keeps to the agenda.

Ensure there are clear actions in minutes stating who will do what, by when or a clear decision recorded.

Send out a copy of the minutes of the meeting within 1 week of the meeting date and the date for the next meeting.

What are the rules at your club?

Do you know the different types of memberships at your club? How club meetings are to be run? Or how to put your hand up and nominate to be get voted onto the club committee?

The answers to these questions can be found in a document called a constitution. If your sporting club or organisation is an Incorporated Association, it must have a Constitution in place. The constitution is a document that contains the rules that your club is governed by day to day and must be run in accordance with.

A club's constitution should outline the following:

Club details

The purpose, aim and objectives of the club

Member types

Member rights and responsibilities

Meeting frequency and protocols such as Quorums

AGM meeting agendas

Committee requirements and election procedures

Voting rights and voting process including proxy votes

Financial matters including End of Financial Year

All clubs should have a copy of their constitution handy, either in hard copy or on their website for members to be able to access should they have questions or queries in regard to the rules of the club.

In a lot of cases many clubs are still operating under the original constitution that was lodged at the time the club lodged an application for incorporation. There are two options when it comes to constitutions, you can either use the template Model Rules or you can choose to adopt your "own rules"

Please note that the Model Rules are not the same in each State or Territory please refer to the relevant legislation in your State or Territory. For Queensland this information can be obtained from the Office of Fair Trading.

Under the Model Rules in Queensland, you are only allowed to change the following details in relation to the Incorporated Association:

Name

Objectives

Membership Classes

End of Financial Year

If your club chose to submit their "Own Rules" as part of its application for incorporation, then it would have met a certain number of mandatory criteria as outlined as part of the application process. These requirements are set out on the application form to incorporate and on the application form to amend rules.

If your club has misplaced their constitution or are not sure of the most current version, the club can contact the Office of Fair Trading and request a copy on the constitution to be provided, there is usually a small cost involved for this. The constitution that is held by the Office of Fair Trading is the only set of rules that the club is to governed by, please ensure that your club is currently utilising the correct version of it constitution.

It is a good idea for clubs to regularly review their constitution to ensure that it is current and meets the needs and operational requirements for the club in the present day. Many clubs are still operating under the constitution that they submitted to the Office of Fair Trading as part of their original application to become and Incorporated association.

The rules in your constitution should relate to the administration of the club. They should not relate to the conduct of the activities of the club. Additional non-administrative rules should appear in regulations and by-laws.

Where possible rules empowering the committee to change, implement or remove by-laws or regulations should appear in the clubs constitution.

Planning Your AGM

So the siren has sounded, the spectators have left and now all you have left to do is hold your Annual General Meeting (AGM). So what is it?

Your Association's AGM is an important event for every organisation and a legal requirement for incorporated associations.

The AGM gives members, the general public and the committee a broad overview of the organisation's current directions, financial health and results, and confirms the organisation's purpose. It also gives members a chance to ask questions before voting on the business items of the agenda.

It is the time to revitalise the organisation through the official engagement of members into key elected positions. Most importantly, try to make the AGM a positive experience, ensuring that people go away firmly committed to the organisation and its goals.

The rules around when your AGM should be held, how much notice you need to provide your members of an AGM, advertising the AGM, who should attend and can vote at the AGM and other information can be found in your Association's Constitution (or model rules).

Preparation
The AGM is usually organised by the Secretary, with assistance from the rest of the organisation, but this can be altered if someone else volunteers. It is important, though, that everybody in the organisation knows who is responsible.

Date
The date of the AGM may be set by legislation – within three months of the end of the financial year, for example. This will be detailed in your Association's constitution or model rules.

Venue As an organisation you need to think about where your Annual General Meeting will take place. Obviously your venue is dependent on the amount of money you have and how many people will be attending. Some of the things you will need to think about are access issues, refreshments and the time of meeting.

Who can attend? The constitution will usually state who can attend your meeting and who has voting rights. It is important for the organisation to keep an up to date record of its members so they can be involved in the AGM. Some organisations invite groups, volunteers, interested bodies, and people with professional skills (such as an accountant or solicitor). Unless these people are members of the organisation they will not be able to vote.
Advertisement
If you are an incorporated association, the legislation in most Australian states requires that you advertise your AGM two weeks or a month beforehand in a newspaper circulating in your area.

Even where an advertisement is not required by law, placing a small classifieds advertisement is a cheap and effective manner of encouraging public involvement and creating an inclusive atmosphere. Remember to include the name of your group and the place, date and time of the meeting.

Board Members and Office Bearers Confirm which of your current members and office bearers (Chair, Deputy Chair, Secretary, Treasurer) will be re-nominating for the coming year and who will be retiring. Check your constitution to see if anybody is ineligible to stand.

If there are vacancies, make sure that you have approached people who are willing to fill them and remember that there may be people who come forward at the meeting itself. Most importantly, try to ensure that you have enough good nominations to fill the available positions.

If people are to be nominated in their absence, have them sign a document saying that they are willing to stand.

Auditor
If you are required or decide to present an audit of your accounts at the AGM, leave enough time for the auditor to go through your books and prepare your accounts. Make an appointment well in advance and ensure that the auditor knows the exact date of the AGM.

Have a nomination ready for the position of next year's auditor from somebody who you have approached and who is willing to act.

Meeting Papers 

Prepare the following documents and post them out to all members and office bearers in advance of the meeting:

A set of accounts (balance sheet and financial statement) in the required format.

The Annual Report, containing:

The accounts

a summary of the year's activities

a record of the year's achievements

a preview of what is planned for the next year

a re-statement of the organisation's vision.

An Agenda consisting of:

Welcome by chairperson

Apologies

Confirmation of minutes of the previous AGM

Business arising from the minutes

Chairperson's report

Treasurer's report and presentation of audited financial statement

Election of Office Bearers

General business

Guest speaker (if any)

Date of next meeting (if known)

Close

Minutes (the relevant minutes are the minutes from the previous AGM, not the previous Board meeting)

Meeting procedure The procedures at the AGM are basically the same as those at an ordinary committee meeting.

Motions
Motions must be moved:

to accept the minutes of the last AGM

to approve the Chair's report (the Annual Report)

to approve the Treasurer's report (the Financial Statement)

Motions must be seconded, and a vote (generally a show of hands) taken.

Nominations
Nominations for Board members and office bearers must be called for from the floor. If more than one person nominates for any office, or if there are more nominations than there are places on the Board, there must be an election. An election can take place through a show of hands or by secret ballot.

After the AGM

Documentation
Make sure that the minutes are written up shortly after the meeting. If (as sometimes happens) they are left to the evening before the mail-out for the new meeting, the Secretary may have difficulty finding last year's notes.

Ensure that you send any necessary documentation, for example the audited statement and change of public officer, to the appropriate state/territory government department.

Handover
Retiring office bearers must hand over the operations to the new person, together with all documents, rubber stamps, bank details, etc. Retiring officers should also give their successors briefings describing key processes and current priorities and challenges.

Banking
If any of the people who are retiring from the Board are signatories to the organisation's bank account, try to have the necessary forms on hand so that the new signatories can be authorised after the meeting.

Click the link to download an example AGM Agenda.

Laws and Your Club

How long since your club has reviewed its legal obligations? As we all know legislation does change and it is vital for clubs to be up to date with these changes to avoid the consequences.

There are a number of relevant laws for clubs which govern:

Incorporation

Trade

Children

Food service

Liquor and Licensing

And more!

Any person elected or appointed to a position on the committee is considered a company director but don't fear, you won't lose your house but you will have some obligations. Be aware of these obligations and act in good faith.

Some of the laws impacting on clubs are:

Corporations Law

Associations Incorporations Act

Trade Practices Act

Civil Liability Act

Liquor & Alcohol Service

Food Service

Gambling or Gaming

Employees / Volunteers (PAYE, Superannuation, Discrimination, WH&S)

Taxation

Children

May be others depending on services offered

Tools to help keep your committee safe include:

Having a Code of Conduct

Having a Conflict of Interest Policy

Insurance for officers and the club

Provide inductions for new committee members

Having procedures in place to manage information and compliance

Some of the common everyday practices you complete at your club are impacted by legislation. Ensure you are abiding by the relevant laws and regulations and look at some reminders below.

Incorporation - Associations Incorporations Act

Common Seal - Every incorporated association needs to have a common seal (a rubber stamp used to legally identify the incorporated association)

Committee Changes - You must notify the Office of Fair Trading of any changes to the positions of President, Secretary and Treasurer within one month of the vacancy occurring. Complete the Associations Incorporation Form 10a - Change of details relating to an incorporated association.

Annual Return - Within 1 month of your AGM, complete and lodge Associations Incorporation form 12 - Annual return of association

Committee – Requires a minimum of 3 positions and the President cannot be Treasurer

Committee Members Must Be

Members

Living

18 years or older

Reside in Queensland if Secretary (65kms of border)

Not be insolvent or a bankrupt

Not be convicted of an indictable offence (In last ten years)

Not be a mental patient within the legal meaning (Mental Health Act)

Incorporated Association Level and auditing requirements

GST – Goods and Services Tax

Non-profit organisations need to register for GST if they have a turnover of $150,000 or more

Meetings - Associations Incorporations Act

Quorum – Check your constitution for the number required to attend a meeting/General meeting/AGM

Committee

New model rules say half elected at AGM + 1

May be a percentage of those entitled to vote

AGM

New model rules say those elected at AGM plus one (natural justice)

Refers to members entitled to vote

AGM Notification – AGM's have to be advertised prior to the meeting date. Check your constitution for timeframes

AGM Nominations - Nominations for the Board are to be received in writing at least 14 days prior to the AGM. Check your constitution.

Sale of Liquor - Liquor Act 1992

You must have a liquor licence to sell or supply liquor on a permanent basis in Queensland. Ensure you are in accordance with your licence:

location

hours of operation

staff and employees

responsible service of alcohol

From 1 July 2013, non-profit community organisations will no longer need a Community Liquor Permit to sell alcohol at a one-off fundraising event or function if:

the profit is used to benefit the community

liquor is sold in a period of 8 hours or less, between 7am and midnight; and

the sale of liquor is ancillary to the event

Competitions and Raffles - regulated by the Charitable and Non-Profit Gaming Act 1999

Includes art unions, raffles, bingo, lucky envelopes, calcutta sweeps and promotional games.

Licence – required for clubs conducting raffles over $2 000 or $20 000 for eligible associations.

Permit number on raffle tickets - A licence number must be printed on all games where the ticket sales are estimated to exceed $20,000.

Raffle Prize limits - The total value of prizes in any raffle must be at least 20% of the estimated gross proceeds (total ticket sales). In simple terms if the prize is valued at $20.00, the maximum permissible ticket sales is $100.00.

Ticket sales – Can be 3 x $2 tickets for $5 if the prize limits are according to above.

Sponsors – various 

Liability - When recommending sponsors be careful in what you recommend. Say "proudly sponsored by" rather than "use XYZ Company for your XYZ needs". For example, if someone drowns in a pool after your club has recommended using a certain pool installation company, your club may be liable and sued.

Club Culture

Successful Clubs Through Healthy Culture

Creating a healthy and comfortable environment for all members of the club will boost club morale, increase community profiles and enable a club to increase its success through retention of and increase members.

It is important to allow members greater opportunity to be involved in the club as a player/volunteer to help shape the development of club activities and initiatives.

Success or failure is directly related to the operations and culture of a club and those clubs that shape their culture will have the greatest chance of success.

Culture impacts on all members of the club and the community. For Example; when staff, players and members walk out of the club gates their responsibilities and representations of the club don't necessarily end.

The club, players, members, coaches, officials and volunteers will always be under scrutiny, especially in social settings.

With the right people and culture at your club, you too will have success both on and off the field.

Festive Ideas for Members

With only a couple of weeks to Christmas, winter season clubs may be taking a well earned break and summer season sports are mid-season potentially taking a break over Christmas.

Christmas could be an ideal time to focus on member servicing ideas with little work. Providing great service and participation opportunities to your members will help your club to grow and increase member interaction. For clubs in either season, the little things over Christmas could help you in the New Year and beyond.

Why not have a Christmas function for your members. Benefits include:

Members get another opportunity to interact in a social setting

The club has the opportunity to service sponsors with the chance to attend a club function

Celebrate the year that was – thank all of your volunteers for their hard work and support and keep them keen to come back next year

For junior clubs, at your last event/competition for the year, why not bring Santa along to celebrate. Rather than a normal competition night children get to see Santa, interact socially and maybe receive a small gift…Great for retention of members.

It is a great time to re-register your players for the next season which reduces the risk of them leaving for another club.

New sponsors may also be in the festive spirit and open to new sponsorships so don't be afraid to contact them at this time.

Ever thought of a shopping tour….many people love shopping for Christmas present bargains and it could be a fundraiser for the club.

Other ideas include:

Annual garage sale where members can bring along their items

Movie/concert/theatre night

Dance – it could be a theme, formal or hip hop lessons

A trip to a major sporting event such as the Ashes test

Coaching clinic with an esteemed presenter not available all during the season

Christmas raffle

Trivia night/bingo

Past players event – keep your past players involved in the club and up to date with current activities

Day at the races/dogs/golf

These activities can also be used as fundraising events to create extra revenue for the club.

Social activities provide an avenue to open communication channels within a club and to contribute to the overall culture and success of the club. Social interaction helps people to create friendships, share issues and interact at a different level other than the normal operations of the club. It also develops club spirit, improves club morale among members and attract new members as a result of this positive sense of morale being portrayed to the community.

Doing What You Say Can Go a Long Way – Integrity in Sport

Is your organisation spending a lot of time dealing with integrity issues such as discrimination or inappropriate behaviour?

Do you have on and off-field issues with players, angry parents or bullying coaches?

Don't know how to make your club or sport inclusive for people with disability, those with cultural or religious differences or those from the GLBTI community?

If you answered 'yes' to any of these questions then your club will need to review its policies and procedures to improve its integrity.

Education on what constitutes good behaviour and an understanding of your rights and responsibilities under the relevant child safety and discrimination laws will go a long way to mitigating the possibility of these issues occurring. Also, having policies and processing in place to deal with any issues before they get out of hand will save you and your sport a lot of time, resources and energy.

Integrity is the integration of outward actions and inner values. A person with integrity does what they say they will do in accordance with their values, beliefs and principles. A person of integrity can be trusted because he or she never veers from inner values, even when it might be expeditious to do so. A key to integrity, therefore, is consistency of actions that are viewed as honest and truthful to inner values.

A sport that displays integrity can often be recognised as honest and genuine in its dealings, championing good sportsmanship, providing safe, fair and inclusive environments for all involved. It will be also expected to 'play by the rules' that are defined by its code.

A sport that generally displays integrity has a level of community confidence, trust and support behind them. The impact of this on their business cannot be underestimated.

Integrity in Sport can lead to:

increased participation - loyalty of members and the attraction of new members

financially viable - through membership, attraction of sponsors and funding grants

on field success - attraction of players who want to be associated with a healthy, successful brand.

The following files will help your club to get started to improve its integrity with members, officials and the wider community: PBTR-Member Protection Policy; PBTR-Working With Children; PBTR-Team Selection ; PBTR-Spectator Behaviour; PBTR-Drop Off Pick Up of Juniors; PBTR-Disability Policy ; PBTR-Communication Technology; PBTR-Code of Behaviour; PBTR-Alcohol Policy

For more information on Integrity in Sport for your club visit: Play By The Rules or Australian Sports CommissionUnder Club Planning

What can you do in the off season to make a simpler 2015

Winter sports are now ending for 2014, presentations are upon us, what's next? Other than some much needed rest! Why don't you use this time to compile information for your club's future? Implement a club plan, strategic plan or 5 year plan will give your club a head start in working toward future goals.

What is a Strategic Plan? It is a management tool that provides a pathway for the club to follow covering key topics relevant to your organisation some of these can include:

Memberships: Growth, capacity, marketing.

Finances: Income strategies, expense reduction, grants, sponsorships.

Facilities: Future development, upgrades, improvements, relocation.

Volunteers: Recruit, retain, develop, reward.

Assessing your club can be simply achieved through by tailoring a club SWOT Analysis (Strengths, Weakness, Opportunities and Threats) and Action Plan listing the future goals of the club, how you are able to achieve them and when you would like to achieve them by.

Most importantly once the plan has been drafted and reviewed by club members the next critical step is to review! As time goes by key priorities of the club change, it is important to review your club's goals and ensure they are in line with the future direction – a lot can change in 12 months!

If you are interested in reviewing or completing a Club Strategic Plan contact your Ipswich Sports House Officer assist with the process we have a range of tools, tips and templates to help! We can even tailor sessions to suit whole of sport workshops.

Strategic planning vital for club's success

Does your club have a Strategic Plan?

Simply put, a strategic plan is the formalized road map that describes how your club executes the chosen strategy. A plan spells out where a club is going over the next year or more and how it's going to get there.

FREE one-on-one strategic planning sessions >

A strategic plan is a management tool that serves the purpose of helping a club do a better job, because a plan focuses the energy, resources, and time of everyone in the club in the same direction.

If you're thinking, "Hey, I've got this great book on business plans, so I'll just use that to form my strategic plan," be aware that strategic plans and business plans aren't the same concepts.

A strategic plan is a management tool that Club Executives need to master and is for established clubs and Club Executives who are serious about growth. It also does the following:

* Helps build your competitive advantage

* Communicates your strategy to staff

* Prioritizes your financial needs

* Provides focus and direction to move from plan to action

A business plan, on the other hand, is a planning tool for new clubs or projects.

* Helps define the purpose of your business

* Helps plan human resources and operational needs

* Is critical if you're seeking funding

* Assesses business opportunities

* Provides structure to ideas

Your season is over – or is it? 

Finals are here and winter season is drawing to a close – so what's next?

Your first thought might be to relax and forget about everything – it has been a long season!

However, committee members know there is more work to be done, including end-of-season reporting, financials, AGMs and more.

This is where an Action Plan can help. It's an easy way to list everything that you need to complete by AGM and action each task to a committee member or volunteer -remember many hands make light work.

Download Ipswich Sports House's end-of-season action plan template >

The purpose of this template is to dot point the tasks that need to be completed, you don't need an essay of each task.

Keep in mind - each sport has different requirements and if it's your first year on the committee the process might be somewhat challenging.

Once the plan is drafted ask past committee members or regional sports bodies to review it to ensure that nothing is left off – that extra 10 minutes of effort could save you a lot of rushing around at the last minute.

Succession Planning

Last week we thanked our Volunteers for all their hard work as part of National Volunteer Week. How many of our clubs have one or two people who do the majority of the work? Our club's literally would not function without them. These volunteers are there at every training session, game day, committee meeting and know all the club's intimate details and history.

What would happen if these volunteers were no longer involved in the club?

That is why it is imperative that every club have a succession plan. This plan can regulate how long a management position can be held, detail management apprenticeships or pathways and ensure past management maintain advisory roles to safeguard the transfer of information. 

Part of this plan can also include attracting new volunteers to active roles within the club. New people are often reluctant to replace existing members due to the perceived workload, but can be enticed by smaller, well defined or time limited roles.

Under Marketing and Promotions

Local Media Coverage is Important for your Club

You may think that other clubs seem to be in the local news constantly, while your club never seems to get any coverage. Don't give up as attracting local media coverage is beneficial and can include newspapers as well as radio stations. What benefits can you get from media exposure?

Members love to see their name and/or photo in the paper or on the radio. Not only does it make them proud but it shows what individuals, teams and the club have achieved.

It provides an avenue for people not constantly connected with the club to follow the club. They can still keep up to date on the club and its achievements.

It can be a communication method to reach those in the community that aren't with the club currently. It can also promote the club to those that didn't know of the clubs existence.

Show your clubs culture and connect with like-minded players, families and competitors. It will also attract those to your club over another club.

When the club has something to offer for the whole community, the general public feel more welcome when the promotions is more main stream rather than just club mediums.

You can reach more people for fundraising events. This means that club members aren't the only ones always supporting events but you can get other income from non-members.

Stories motivate people - whether it be players or rewarding your volunteers.

Recruiting members is much easier when the club is in the media compared to those clubs that don't use media coverage.

Getting your story to the media involves establishing relationships with local media personnel and inviting them to your event while also inviting Councillors as they relish the chance to be involved. Create a media contact list and keep it up to date, this makes it easier to send media releases and stories. Another major focus is keeping the news local, tell people about your local member who has done well and also include any club news that has benefited the community – it doesn't have to be sport related. And most importantly don't give up - send media releases continually even if they don't all get in and include a story, quote and/or photo as well as results. A reporter will often choose a a complete story of community interest written for them rather than a story they will have to chase.

Ipswich has a wide range of advertising mediums so check them all out. Ourcommunity.com.au has a list of various media contacts which you can use as a great starting base.

Member Recruitment and Retention

Member Recruitment

Attracting people to your club should begin with a strong focus from your strategic plan. Actions such as marketing and promotion, non-member 'come and try' days and social activities open to the public are all great initiatives to play around with and see what works best for your club.

Targeting your local school is also a great avenue to look at, these kids are already participating in some form of physical activity within their school curriculum and a partnership with your club could be all it takes to get them to take the next step in that sport.

Here are some tips to attempt recruiting members from your local schools:

Identify all local schools in the surrounding area.

Establish contact with the principal and/or physical education teacher at each school.

Gain the school's approval to promote the club through the school newsletter.

Place club posters in strategic positions such as school notice boards, canteens and classrooms.

Distribute club flyers to school children and their parents, ensuring the correct contact details and registration information is displayed.

Hold a club information night and invite interested children, parents and teachers.

Place information about the club at sign-in desks at after-school care programs and holiday programs.

Keeping club details up to date on the 'Club Directory' database on the Ipswich Sports House website is a great place to start.

Member Retention

Member Retention should be a major priority of any sport & recreation club. A strong, constant membership base is a great resource for teaching and mentoring younger and newer members. The stronger the relationship ties are within a club, the easier member retention will be.

All sporting bodies identify member retention as a key strategic priority and place as much importance in keeping their members as attracting new members. Families develop an attachment to sports clubs for reasons such as keeping fit and healthy, personal improvement and friendship bases. The community feel for children and parents is a major factor for retention. You can strengthen the bonds within your community by encouraging family members or key people within the community (not already engaged with your club) to become coaches, officials, canteen convenor, fundraising officer etc.

Some tips on how to acheive this include:

Establishing a "Welcoming Committee" who have the responsibility of approaching new members and talking to them, providing information on all aspects of the club and generally creating a friendly and happy environment.

Getting to know each member personally by providing a number of social opportunities for members – BBQs, trivia nights, pre/post match get togethers.

Providing members with the opportunity of using their skills.

Try a "budy system" or "adopt a member/sponsor" program where current members look after and show around a particular new member, introducing them to every club member, coach, administrator, trainee and local interest group.

Talking to new members and asking them why they came to your club and what they want to get our of it.

Creating an atmosphere that generates a sense of belonging and a feeling of being connected to all people within the club/community.

Remember the people in your club and be receptive to their needs. Find out why athletes wish to leave, try to use the experience as a learning opportunity. Get them to complete an annonymous exit survey, you just may learn something about your club that needs to be attended to.

Perhaps there is a market for your club to introduce other programs that members may find more enjoyable. For example, starting a parents fitness class utilising other club facilities. Parents will socialise with each other which helps create a family atmosphere and loyalty, making it that little bit more difficult for your members to leave. This will also help with the number of people around the club regularly and hopefully lead to an increase in volunteer numbers at your club.

Useful Resources http://www.ausport.gov.au/supporting/clubs/resource_library/people_management/attracting_members 

FREE App can make your club smart

With new technology, most people own a smartphone, iPad or the like and use it frequently! Why not get your club or team ahead of the game and create a specialised smartphone App that encourages your members and the community to interact more with your club.

The process can be quick, easy and customised to your team or club through Team App, and best of all, it's free!

Team App can help a club manage communication and the flow of information and create commercial opportunities and revenue for the club. Some of the benefits include

improved communication

improved cash-flow

better interaction of members

potential to create more networks within the community.

Keeping members and the community informed of your club and services is vital to keeping a club on track and to increase members.

Having another method of interaction via an App can assist with:

News - general news and information about your team or club

Events - contact your members with key dates such as fixture dates, presentations and social gatherings

Fixture schedules - links to your website or PDF displaying the teams schedule

Results/ladders - links to your website or PDF displaying results, team ladders

No matter what size your club is Team App can help you manage a number of players in a team or the entire club.

For more information visit Team App at www.teamapp.com 

Preparing for Winter Season Sign Ons

Late January, early February traditionally the time of year that Winter Sports commence their membership drives and sign on days. With this in mind what should you as a club do to ensure a smooth process for your up-coming sign on day?

Ipswich Sports House has created a club checklist to help with the preparations:

Promote and market -> your sign on days need to be promoted to existing members as well as potential new members. Some ideas to consider school newsletters, local paper, Facebook, websites, shopping centre notice boards, local businesses, bus shelters.
PLEASE NOTE: Local Law requires that all advertising signage be limited to only the road frontage of your venue – failing to do so can result in fines to your club further information can be found here

Clearly defined sign on procedures -> ensure that you have a step by step guide for the administration volunteers and incorporate a Q & A Factsheet should there be any different/difficult processes - areas to consider would be transfers, ineligible players, documentation needed to sign on.

Organisation -> If your sport requires online registrations ensure you have computers, printers and internet connection; if you have paper documentation ensure you have pens, several copies of sign on books, tables and photocopier access for identification: Prepack player/parent membership pack.

Book Venue -> If you are in a multi-sport venue ensure that you have booked the venue so there's no double booking issues on the day.

Get Started Grants – Have the factsheets and details for round 3 Get in the Game funding – Get Started, which will entitle some of your junior members a voucher of $150 for their registration expenses. Further information can be found here

Bank & EFTPOS Procedures/Cash handling process - > Make sure that all volunteers are aware of the cash handling process, and follow a banking procedure guideline so that the club isn't left with too much money on the premise.

Your Club in the Community

Any sporting club cannot exist or operate in isolation to its local community. In order for clubs to flourish and grow, they must make good use of the local resources available to them and share in the ownership of community events. It is very important for all sport and recreation clubs to realise that the community starts within their very own organisation - all clubs are only as good as it's own community & culture.

The local community in which a sporting club operates is an extremely important resource, which if utilised correctly, can assist your club in many areas of operations. Apart from providing your club with members, venue and facilities, the local community is a thriving resource which contains many organisations, businesses, support groups, education centres and other groups whose services and products can be of vital importance to the proper functioning of your club.

The following is a list of groups within the local community that may be able to assist your club by formalising a relationship with:

Local Business - The relationship established between your club and the local business must have benefits for both parties in order for the relationship to be successful. It is important for clubs and the business to be upfront with one another and work out the best ways in which to formalise a relationship

Local Newspaper Distributor - Clubs must remember that local newspapers are all about spreading local news, so anything your club wishes to feature in the newspaper must lean towards some topic of human interest. Also, finding a contact person and providing them with the relevant information is very important if your news is to fall into the hands of the right person and ever receive a chance of going to print.

Medical Services - A number of local medical services may be able to provide club coaching staff and other members of the club with an informal workshop dealing with issues such as: handling soft tissue injuries, making splints and slings, administering First Aid & CPR, and any other medical/health related conditions that may come up during the normal operations of your club

Local Government - your local government is instrumental in deciding how community rates and taxes will be spent in the community, as well as deciding what sporting facilities will be built and where. Club management should have a basic understanding of how the local council operates and if possible know or have regular contact with at least one local councillor. For more information on Ipswich City Council Sporting Facilities and bookings please refer to the ICC Sport & Recreation User's Manual by clicking here.

Other Sporting Clubs - It is important for all sporting clubs to make sure they keep in touch with each other operating in their local community. Other sporting clubs should not be viewed as enemies or rivals with whom you compete for members. Sporting clubs in general should see themselves not as separate entities, but as agencies for the development of skills in local community members.

Marketing Your Club

Marketing your Club

While you may have a great communication strategy and are able to get important information to your members in a timely and effective manner, what message are you trying to send to the community about your club?

The role of the majority of sporting clubs is to provide the community with a product and service, in your organisations case this is your chosen sport or recreation activity. Marketing your club is about communicating the activities and the facilities that you have to offer along with the history, culture and opportunities that your club can provide. In essence you are selling not just the sport or activity, but you are selling your club and its members.

For sport and recreation organisations to be able to not only survive but grow in a highly competitive marketplace, they need to be able to retain current members and be able to attract new members. One way to achieve this is through a marketing strategy that identifies what sets your club apart from others, your "point of difference" or "Unique Selling Point".

The process of developing your Marketing Plan may also assist your club by providing some of the following benefits:

Sustainability

Growth opportunities

Identify your club offerings

Improved reputation

Increase your community presence

Greater awareness

Create opportunities with

Local community

Local businesses

Sponsorship opportunities

Community engagements

New volunteers

So how do you go about your marketing your club? Who should be involved?

While it can be difficult to get volunteers at the best of times, if your club is able to appoint a Marketing Officer dedicated to developing and implementing your clubs marketing plan that would be a great benefit to the club. You might be able to find a parent that has a marketing background or a university student who participates at your club that is currently studying a course that has an element of marketing involved.

Although, it should also be noted that everyone in your organisation is responsible for some form of marketing. This is generally considered to be informal marketing and is usually word of mouth information that members provide to family and friends about the club.

These days sport and recreation organisation are seen as much more than just clubs, they are businesses, and as a result are much more accountable than may have been the case in the past. A Marketing Plan plays a key role in helping stakeholders know what you are doing and why you are doing it, these groups include:

Club committee

Club members

State sporting bodies

Local sport administration

Local council

Government departments

Funding bodies

Current sponsors

Potential sponsors

Your Marketing Plan should be tied into and complement your clubs other plans which may include:

Strategic

Business

Operational

Sponsorship

By integrating all of your clubs documents and plans you will continue to provide a common and consistent theme in everything that your club undertakes. In particular it helps to ensure that the Vision, Mission, Values and Objectives of the club remain the focus and the reason why you are doing what you are doing.

When going through the process of putting together your marketing plan it is vital that you do background market research to ensure that you understand not only what your current market position is and your target market demographics, but it is also important to recognise you're your competitor's position is.

The key areas to focus on when developing the marketing strategy for your club are the Marketing Mix Principles:

Product

Price

Place

People

Promotion

These areas will cover what products and services you have to offer and whether they meet the needs of your current and potential members, along with the communication of this information to the community.

The next step to consider is how you go about marketing your club and at the same time your sport.

Areas to consider when looking at marketing your club and sports include:

Understanding people's needs and wants

Identifying social and fun aspects of your club

Use of simple marketing tools

Make your product relatable

Technology is your friend

So what are some of the Marketing Tools that your club can use to promote itself?

Flyers

Advertisements

Direct mail

Club Newsletters

Electronic mediums

Email

Social media

Internet

Local media

Newspapers

Radio

Community noticeboards

Press Releases

Signage

Events

Functions

Open Days

A vital piece of the puzzle when pulling together your marketing plan is the budget you have available. This will assist in helping to develop the type of marketing tools you will use in promoting the club. There are some mediums which are very cost effective such as social media and other electronic opportunities such as e-newsletters.

While it can be expensive to purchase signage and billboards or print and distribute flyers, these are decision that will need to be thought out as part of the overall plan and the perceived value and return on this investment. Events can be a great way to attract people to your venue and offer an opportunity to sell your club to potential new members and customers.

Another important tool in marketing your club is your website, this can been viewed as your electronic shop front and the impression of your website can play a big role in people's perception of your club. It is important that you keep your website up to date and provide a reason for people to visit your site and interact with the club while there.

As part of the Marketing Plan there should be time and resources allowed for regular review and updates as situations change and develop. It is also a good idea to ensure you find ways to track the success of marketing campaigns and which mediums provided the club the best results.

One thing to keep in the back of your mind at all times is that you will need to manage the relationship with your current members. This will go a long way to assisting in your retention of members and create customer loyalty to your business and products.

If you club would like further information or assistance in developing a Marketing Plan for your club please contact Sport Ipswich.

How Do You Communicate?

Sport and recreation clubs need to communicate regularly with members, supporters, volunteers, governing bodies, sponsors, media and the wider community. Effective communication is the best way to inform, persuade, remind, raise your club profile, influence perceptions and influence the actions of your members and other stakeholders.

But how do you communicate? What is the best way? The answer is that there is no one best way to communicate with your stakeholders. Different people prefer to receive information in different ways, therefore it is important that you communicate using a variety of methods, depending both on the message you need to get out and the audience you are targeting.

Some ways of communicating your messages include:

WEBSITE

In these modern times, your website is a crucial communication tool for a number of reasons. Your website is often the first place people will go to find our information before joining your club; it is also a powerful marketing tool. Your website is a great way for people to get to know your club and feel comfortable with you -the more people know about your club, the greater the chance they will want to join.

Your website is also a great place to put updated information and articles for current members and supporters; this can include photographs, event reports, information on club or individual successes and coming events or deadlines. You should also acknowledge your sponsors and supporters on your website.

Copies of your constitution, strategic plan, policies and procedures should also be made available on your website. This will ensure that people can find this information when they are looking for it and don't need to ask you to send it to them.

You should have regularly updated content on your website to ensure people keep coming back to visit.

Visit here for more tips on Making Your Club Stand Out Online

Newsletter

Most sport and recreation clubs have an online newsletter instead of a paper version in this day and age. A newsletter is an excellent way to keep stakeholders updated on the most recent and current goings on in your club. Depending on your club and how much activity is going on, you may choose to distribute newsletters each quarter, each month or more regularly if you have enough content. A newsletter is a great way to keep in touch with all stakeholders but particularly those who may not visit your website very often. A platform like Mail Chimp makes e-newsletter design and distribution quick and simple.

Social Media

Social Media is a great tool to promote your club, reach new audiences and communicate with stakeholders. It is a great way to get feedback from stakeholders as well. There are different social media platforms that can be used in different ways. But with all social media platforms you will need to have usage guidelines in place for proper usage in order to protect your club's image. And don't forget to keep using it during your off-season.

Facebook

Facebook is still the world's most popular social media platform, allowing clubs to connect with a variety of people and providing a platform to involve members, supporters and other stakeholder groups in social conversation. You should set your Facebook presence up as a page rather than a person, as this will ensure anyone can like you without you having to approve them to view your page. It is a great way to promote your club, keep members up to date with club information (including fixtures and training details) and to build a wider social network. The top 5 tips for using Facebook are:

Post Pictures and Video – they grab people's attention amongst all the text only status updates in their timelines

Ask Questions to involve people in a conversation

Plan ahead for posting frequency – updates should be regular but not over-whelming

Change it Up – use a variety of content: polls, how-tos, trivia, links to relevant third party content etc

Share the load – don't leave it up to just one person in the club to provide content, if you are going to have more than one administrator who actually does the posting, be sure to work on a roster system so you don't all post different things at the same time

Twitter

Twitter is a great real-time social media platform that allows you get out information immediately and also a fairly instant reaction. It is also great for expanding your club's networks through followers replying to and re-tweeting your tweets. Top tips for Twitter:

Follow people or organisations with similar interests or with whom you already have connections

Get involved with twitter conversations, interaction is the key to twitter success

Don't Spam

Tweet regular Updates

Ask your follower to live tweet from your events / programs

Use hashtags, which will allow more people to see your tweets

Integrate other social media platforms – tweet links to your facebook posts, website content, related news articles etc

Like Facebook – share the load

You Tube

You Tube being a video sharing platform may not be right for your club. However if you have regular events or want the wider community to get to know your club and members better it can be a great tool to get your message out there. You can add videos of your teams/athletes at training or in competitions; videos of How To Demonstrations; Get To Know You Interviews with club members.

For more tips on Social Media Best Practices, visit Clubs Online

Email

Email is one of the most common forms of communication today. It is quick and easy and enables sending the same message directly to a number of people at the same time. Email can be an excellent communication tool for clubs to use, however be mindful that not everyone has access to their email 24/7; therefore it is probably not the right medium for communicating messages that need to be conveyed instantly or require an immediate response. Also be mindful of your message, it is easy to fall into being too informal with emails. There is no need to be overly formal but still ensure you use basic common courtesies.

Text Messaging

Text messaging is probably the easiest and quickest way to get out an instant message, like changes to training or fixture details, information about field closures, or reminders for events / meetings.

Noticeboards

Do you have a noticeboard up at your club? Noticeboards can be a great place to put messages that you want everyone to see, including flyers for upcoming events, a call to arms for a project or volunteers, latest match results, copies of media articles, member or volunteer profiles. You could also allow members to post their own notices here – such as any old equipment or uniforms they might be selling.

And don't forget about the good old fashioned communication methods of face to face conversations, phone calls and letters – they still have a place in today's world.

This has provided information on how to use different types of communication methods, you can find more tips on Effective Communication here.

Good communication is a vital part of a successful club culture, so make sure you do it right and use the right methods to suit your audience.

Digital Storage of Club Information

"Congratulations on your new role in our club. Here is the all the club information you need", says the outgoing committee member to you as they had over a large cardboard box full of paperwork.

Is this common in your club? Storage of information for clubs is essential, due to the regular turnover of people in various committee roles. With the digital age we live in, this situation can be avoided by adopting some modern practices:

Create an internet based document storage account with a reputable provider to store copies of documents. Provide key people in your organisation with permission to access the documents (through the creation of a log in)

Purchase a printer that has a scanner and electronically scan copies of all paperwork and save them into the club online storage account, sorting them into various folders or categories

Get club documents off each committee members' personal computers and store them into the online storage account.

Use an internet based accounting system that gathers information on the club accounts automatically (and streamline the Treasurer's role)

Some useful resources include Google Drive and Dropbox which offer free plans that might best suit your club.

Making your club standout online

Ipswich Sports House has recently undergone a website re-development, and aims to provide a one-stop-shop online for all Ipswich sport and recreation news, events, courses and information.

We want to provide the community with the opportunity to post their sporting news & events on our website, as well as provide the community with the latest news and information regarding government grants, legislation changes, and any other updates relevant to the sport and recreation sector.

When people think of sport and recreation in Ipswich, no matter what pursuit, we want them to think Ipswich Sports House. And now, given the day and age we are in, people use the internet to search and purchase more than any other platform.

That is why it is extremely important your club or association does not undervalue their presence on the World Wide Web.

With "googling" an everyday part of life now, your website presence can be the difference e between a potential member or player signing up with you or going to another club. It really is becoming that cut throat.

Searching or finding a sports club to join is becoming just like everything else these days - a search on the web. How do you ensure your club is found? Below are some useful tips to get your started.

Ensure your website is user-friendly. When someone arrives at your website, how are they greeted? Too much 'noise' or clutter will simply force them to leave. Having a nice clean and clear site, with a homepage that provides quick and easy access to the details they're looking for is what is needed.

Ensure you have relevant details online. Just ask yourself the question, "If I didn't know this club, what information do I want and how do I find it?" Websites are a great tool for keeping current members informed, but don't forget about new members!

Ensure contact details are provided, as there is nothing worse than not being able to talk, call, or e-mail someone. Try not to hide behind your website.

Create interesting and relevant content. Search engines like Google love content! Use your site as a "latest news" blog and provide updates on your club's happenings. That not only gets more people coming to your website, but also create more data that can be searchable by Google and other search engines.

Think of the key words people would be searching for and ensure they are on your website. This is a hugely important factor. If you were a cricket club, for example, a likely search might be "junior cricket club to join Ipswich". If you are that club, then on your home page and throughout your website you obviously want to ensure you mention "junior", "cricket", "Ipswich" regularly.

These points don't provide everything that is needed for an effective website - but it's a bloody good start! What's best is that your club nominates someone to look after the website and social media such as Facebook and Twitter. While volunteers are sometimes hard to come by, there's usually more often than not someone a bit computer literate within every club that could help out!

If you haven't already, check out our Club Directory on our website and see if your club is listed. Ipswich Sports House is building this directory up to eventually include all sport and recreation organisations in Ipswich, as well as implement advanced search features so people can use our website to find your club, what you do and what activities you provide.

Communication

Communication is common to many elements in a club and effective communication can mean success or failure!

Simple tips to remember when you communicate include:

Add "please" when you are asking anybody to do anything.

Use "thank you" and create a positive tone. 

Start your email/letter with "Thank you for ……..". For eg. "Thank you for coming to our meeting." Or even "Thank you for your email".

Use Salutation – do you like it when you receive an email/letter without "Dear" or "Hi"?

Little things count – if you know who you are communicating with you are more forgiving of mistakes: however, if you are not familiar with them, you are not as forgiving.

Every interaction is either a positive or a negative deposit or withdrawal in a metaphorical 'emotional bank account'. Make sure you make more deposits than withdrawals! 

If you don't communicate well, you will waste time on damage control because someone became upset by a lack of communication or a common abrupt tone that made them feel unappreciated. Over time, the cumulative effect of good communication can mean big things.

Event Management

End of Season Awards

With many sporting seasons drawing to a close in the coming weeks, the time to reflect on the achievements and performances over the past season is fast approaching.

Clubs and sports generally have the usual award suspects under control, with many focussed on the exploits of their players on the field. These types of awards may include:

Team of the Year

Coach of the Year

Most Improved Player

Most Valuable Player

Players Player Award

Most Consistent

Most Points / Golden Boot

Many of the awards listed above focus on the on field performance of those participating, but why not consider a few other potential awards that reward actions or attitude:

Best Team Player

Sportsmanship Award

Training Performance of the Year

Best Clubperson

Sporting club presentation nights are also a fantastic opportunity to publically recognise the behind the scenes work that many volunteers and other contributors provide to your organisation. The club can potentially look at awards such as:

Volunteer of the Year

Clubperson of the Year

Long Service Awards

President's Award – recognising something a little different that may have gone unnoticed

Lifetime Achievement Award

Keep in mind that the club does not have to present an award for each category every year. The club needs to determine that there is recipient worthy of the award and not just hand one out for the sake of it as this may diminish the award, however many perpetual club trophies / awards should be awarded on a yearly basis.

One other factor to consider is that the end of season presentation is an opportunity to celebrate the past season's hard work, by the players, coaches, volunteers, club committee and others who make the club a success on and off the field. It is an opportunity to have a fun and social event and you do not want to spend more time than necessary on the formal part of the evening as people want to enjoy themselves and socialise.

There are also many other opportunities and forums to ensure that those people who deserve recognition are duly rewarded. This can be through your sport's governing body or community events such as the 2014 Ipswich Sports Awards.

Many sporting organisations hold their own awards to recognise the achievement of those who participate in their competitions, these include:

National Sporting Organisations

State Sporting Organisations

Local / Regional Competitions Administrators

Local Governments

Player Associations

State Sporting Service Providers

Organisational Bodies

Volunteer Groups

Community Groups

Ipswich City Council hold the Annual Ipswich Sports Awards where sporting participants and club members across the region can be nominated and receive a number of awards reflective of their contribution to their club, sport and the city. Nominations for the 2014 Ipswich Sports Awards are currently open, so why not nominate someone you think deserves to be awarded.

For further information and to lodge a nomination please click on the link below.

2014 Ipswich Sports Awards – Information and Nominations

If your club would like assistance with nominations for the 2014 Ipswich Sports Awards or your own end of season presentations, please contact Ipswich Sports House on 07 3810 6620 or email us at info@ipswichsportshouse.com.au 

Capitalise on International Sporting Events Locally

For sport lovers, the past couple of months have been a very busy time for international sporting events. With the Commonwealth Games underway in Glasgow, Tour De France just completed, FIFA World Club, Wimbledon…the list goes on and on with insomnia setting in.

Studies have shown that people get interested in a particular sport following success or significant events on the world stage. People pick up tennis racquets during the Australian Open, kids want to be the next Sally Pearson after the Olympics or Commonwealth Games etc. These events inspire us to get involved. This creates an opportunity for clubs to capitalise on and get more participants.

Here is a small list of options to get you started this:

Contact your State Sporting Organisation for support or ideas on what you could do. They should be able to provide some advice toward the development of this idea, if any images from the event could be used. They may also have some promotional materials you could use or hand out;

Conduct a number of public campaigns through media (print, radio, online etc). Contact the media and provide them with some stories that help to tie in events on the television to your club activities. Draw on stories of competitors from your club or region; provide the public with contact details or how they could get involved. Maybe your club can create their own version of a particular moment that occurred during the event that captured the world's attention, take some photos and promote it (e.g. #timcahilling, replicate a players fashion sense, but preferably not the Suarez biting incident at the World Cup). Ensure you know what you want to get out of the media exposure. It may be worth investing some money to purchase advertising space in the paper, radio or through online mediums and social networking sites;

Hold an event at your club or a central venue to watch the relevant sporting event aligned to your club to generate some atmosphere. This could be to watch the final of the hockey at the Commonwealth Games, opening matches to the English football season, watching the V8's race at Queensland Raceway on the big screen at your clubhouse. If you're a swimming club, maybe you can encourage the public to buy a seat in your Group booking to watch the Pan Pacs. Have information/flyers/posters on hand about how newcomers could start playing your sport;

Design or develop an event to attract the wider public to your sport or venue. This includes inviting them to participate in an entry level event (this is important – an entry level focus). This could be a series of introductory coaching sessions to newcomers, a new 6 week competition or be as simple as a BBQ to get to know what the club does;

Decorate your venue in flags, bunting, posters etc. promoting the international event and to create some additional atmosphere. Take some photos, send them to the local paper, put them on the club facebook page and ask your members to share the images.

Maybe there is an opportunity to introduce the local suppliers of sponsors to the international event/sport to your club. Do some research into what the sponsors are or might be promoting at these events and approach the local business if they would like to promote this to your club's membership, participants and spectators. This should be approached like any business transaction and presented to the sponsor with what the return on their investment would/could be.

For more information or ideas on how your club could capitalise on large events aligned with your sport, contact an Ipswich Sports House staff member on 07 3810 6620.

Policy and Procedures

Does your club have a Risk Management Plan?

Risk Management is a process in which your club works to identify and address possible problems to reduce their occurrence and prevent them before they occur. Good use of risk management principles will lead to your club taking a proactive role in the safety and wellbeing of your members and all who engage with your club.

Potential benefits of risk management include:

Best practise in club governance and operations

High compliance with required legislation and regulations

Improved safety for members, players, volunteer, officials and spectators

Assist with strategic planning

Limit unexpected and expensive surprises

Allows for resources to be managed efficiently and effectively

No club can afford to underestimate the importance of ensuring that they have put measures in place to manage the risks that they may encounter, as some risks may have the potential to threaten a clubs future if it happens.

There is no single risk management plan or model to suit all sporting clubs and organisations; this will differ based on a number of factors that may include:

Type of activity or sport undertaken

Organisational structure

Governance policy and procedures

Venue and location of activity

To have an effective risk management plan you will need to tailor your strategies to suit your own organisation's individual requirements, this can be done by applying the risk management process.

Risk Management Process

Identifying Risks

The club needs to recognise and identify all the potential risks that might come from the conduct, operations and activities undertaken by the club. This can be broken down into three steps:

Identify the sources of risk

Identify what could be affected

Define the risk

Evaluate the Risks

Evaluations of the risks you have identified include:

Likelihood

Consequence

The club will need to ask itself;

How often is it likely to happen?

What will the severity of the consequence be?

This can be done through the use of Risk Priority Matrix which will enable a rating to be assigned to each of the identified risks; there are a number of templates for Risk Priority Matrixes in the links to further information and resources located below.

Treat the Risks

After identifying and prioritising your risks, they then need to be managed or treated based on what determined. Here is a list of common ways to that you may choose to manage your risks;

Avoid

Reduce

Transfer

Accept

When looking at managing risks the club will need to determine;

How the risk will be managed

What resources will be required

Responsibility for managing the risk

Completion of the task

Review of the risk management plan

Risk management is an ongoing process that should be looked at as a whole across your organisation not just one area or event specific.

Sources for the above information include:

http://www.dsr.wa.gov.au/can-you-risk-it

http://www.ausport.gov.au/supporting/clubs/governance/risk_management

http://www.vicsport.asn.au/Assets/Files/Sport%20and%20Recreation%20Organisations%20Guide%20to%20Developing%20Risk%20Management%20Plans.pdf

http://fulltext.ausport.gov.au/fulltext/1999/tas/riskman1.pdf

http://www.nprsr.qld.gov.au/industry-information/clubs/business-practices/risk.html

If your club would like assistance with Risk Management, please contact Ipswich Sports House on 07 3810 6620 or email us at info@ipswichsportshouse.com.au 

Does your club have a Child and Youth Risk Strategy

Does your club comply with the QLD Government and their Child Protection Legislation?

Each club is required to have a child and youth risk management strategy. Does your club? If it does, when was the last time it was reviewed?

Below are the requirements for your risk management strategy.

To comply with the requirements that are set out in the Commission's legislation, a child and youth risk management strategy must include:

A statement of commitment 

A statement of commitment outlines your organisation's commitment to maintaining the safety and wellbeing of children and young people.

A code of conduct

A code of conduct outlines your organisation's values and provides clear expectations for all stakeholders.

Policies for recruiting, selecting, training and managing employees (including volunteers)

Your organisation must have in place effective policies and procedures for recruiting, selecting, training and managing paid employees and volunteers.

Procedures for handling disclosures and suspicions of harm

Your organisation must have policies and procedures for handling disclosures and suspicions of harm to ensure staff respond as quickly as possibly to a disclosure, allegation or suspicion of harm.

A plan for managing breaches of your child and youth risk management strategy

A plan for managing breaches needs to outline the consequences for stakeholders if your policies and procedures are not followed.

Policies and procedures for compliance with Chapter 8 (screening requirements)

A suggested employee register template is available to assist in keeping track of all blue card or exemption card holders in your organisation.

Your child and youth risk management strategy should contain clear procedures for complying with Chapter 8 of the Commission's Act, which includes maintaining a register of the blue card status of your staff and reviewing, at least, annually your child and youth risk management strategy.

A risk management plan for high risk activities and special events

An example risk management plan template is available.

When undertaking a high risk activity or special event you are required to identify potential risks and to develop and implement an effective risk management plan to remove or minimise the risk of harm to children and young people.

Strategies for communication and support

Your organisation will need to consider strategies for communication and support so that all stakeholders will be made aware of the child and youth risk management strategy.

Has your club been behaving?

Rugby league players Mitchell Pearce and Konrad Hurrell are just a couple of recent high-level athletes finding themselves in the news for the wrong reasons.

Given the profile some sports have in our country, it is very hard for even just a minor indiscretion, such as Queensland coach Mal Meninga jumping behind a bar last year, to be missed by the media and public eye.

Sure, our local sports stars and participants may not be at the national level nor have the constant media coverage and scrutiny our country's popular sports do. But it is still important that your club or association has appropriate policies in place and makes all players, members and supporters aware of these expectations.

Setting high standards of your club in the public eye can lead to a positive reputation and club image, and potentially attract more people to your club.

Here are some things your club or association can put in place to set the standards of behaviour and improve your club's image in the community:

If you're club hasn't already got one, implement a Code of Behaviour. Ensure all players agree to this document upon sign-on. Your state or national association might have a template already, otherwise you can download one here.

Implement a Spectator Behaviour Policy , and as part of that add signage to your ground outlining what isn't tolerated by spectators. This is a great help to your duty officials, as it is in place to protect them should they need to intervene with an unruly spectator. Download a template > 

Implement an Alcohol Policy and have all members of your club acknowledge your rules around alcohol consumption at club premise and associated events. Download a template >

Set up a Social Media Policy/ Communications Policy to make all members and players are aware of what is and isn't acceptable when commenting "publicly". This is especially important for social media platforms like Facebook and Twitter, as a simple post or comment is a public statement that can be seen by a high number of people. Download a template >

A Healthier Club

It's the time of year when many of us reflect on the changes we want or need to make, and set resolutions for the year ahead.

It's also a great time of year to review your Club's position on key health issues like smoking and alcohol, and if you don't have one consider putting in place a "Healthy Club" policy.

A Healthy Club policy will reinforce your club's commitment to promotion of health and healthy behaviours, sets guidelines for your club members regarding what to expect from the club and outlines what your club considers unacceptable behaviour.

A Healthy Club policy should address the following areas:

smoking;

alcohol and other drugs;

sun protection;

injury prevention;

healthy eating.

Simple initiatives you can undertake towards a healthier club include: purchasing shade structures; first aid equipment; water bottles; changing your training schedules to allow for extreme weather; encouraging members to wear sunscreen and hats; or arranging a training course for existing or new members on first aid, injury prevention, coaching and umpiring and responsible service of alcohol.

The benefits of implementing healthy initiatives for your club include:

recognition for promoting health and healthy initiatives in your community;

satisfied members and increased membership;

well-educated members;

reassured parents;

fewer and less severe injuries;

lower insurance premiums;

safety as a positive marketing tool for the club, and

responsible and coordinated approach to sport safety.

There are a number of resources which can support you in creating a healthier club:

Good Sports has developed a range of policies and advice http://goodsports.com.au/

The Ipswich Hospital Foundation http://www.ihfoundation.org.au/ provides sunscreen and lends shade structures to community organisations

The Cancer Council Queensland http://www.cancerqld.org.au/ has a range of information and advice in implementing sun smart policies

Queensland Health's sun safety website http://www.sunsafety.qld.gov.au/

Sports First Aid Course providers include:

https://www.facebook.com/FirstAidTrainingAndProvision

https://www.facebook.com/#!/sportsmedicineaustralia

http://www.firstaidaction.com.au/

Download our Sample_HealthyClub_Checklist to help you get started!

How does your club manage their child protection obligations?

Everyone who works with children in Queensland knows that they are required to have a Blue Card. Not many people know of the other obligations they are required to undertake under the Act. Is your club complying?

Safe environments don't just happen; they require ongoing planning, commitment and maintenance.

Organisations falling within the scope of the blue card system are required to implement child and youth risk management strategies which address eight minimum requirements (see the eight requirements in the download below).

The purpose of these strategies is to ensure that organisations have appropriate policies and procedures in place to identify and minimise the risk of harm to children and young people in regulated service environments.

To assist organisations to develop and implement appropriate child and youth risk management strategies, the Commission for Children and Young People and Child Guardian has developed a toolkit to provide information and guidance on the eight minimum requirements.

This toolkit will help you to provide a solid foundation for the creation and maintenance of a safe service environment for children and young people.

Download the Commission for Children and Young People Child Protection Tool Kit

Club Culture

Let's create a positive experience at our junior games!

We all want our kids to strive to perform at their best in any sport and we do everything possible to support them! Unfortunately this common goal of ours can sometimes lead to increasing problematic participant and spectator behaviour, otherwise known as "Ugly Parent Syndrome".

Many clubs have adopted a number of different initiatives to reduce the conflicting behaviour at junior fixtures and to ensure this positive message stays alive we have listed some of the key areas to consider regardless of whether you are a participant, official, spectator or club volunteer:

Encourage and support all ages and abilities: Players and officials

Establish/Follow/Enforce/Promote the club's Code of Conduct: Most State and National Sporting Organisations have a Code of Conduct, if not you can download a template by following this link

Report inappropriate behaviour: Most hosting clubs will have either duty official or club delegates which you can report any inappropriate behaviour. A member protection policy is a useful resource to support this, template can be found on the Play by the Rules website

Respect the process, outcomes and policies of the Sport and Club: Many sports will have a disciplinary process for all complaints/incidences. Click here for further information on Complaints Management

Most importantly… Always remember to HAVE FUN!

For additional information, resources, tools and free online training go to Play by the Rules website (www.playbytherules.net.au), where you will find: posters, post cards, policy and procedure templates, guidelines, tips and best practices as well the free online training for volunteers. You can even sign up to the bi-monthly interactive magazine and be kept up to date on how to make sport inclusive, safe and fair.

Coaching

What Qualifications do your Coaches have?

It's the start of the season, you have all of your available teams full, but there is one glaring omission – no coaches! So the recruitment begins, you try to target specific parents that will take good care of the participants and do a great job.

Start by asking yourself the following questions:

Do you require them to be qualified?

Have they coached before?

Are they aware of the time commitment required upfront?

Does your club Public Liability cover coaches that aren't qualified?

They accept and step up to the challenge, what next?? The best place to start is with a qualification or accreditation. Often it is difficult to line up a Level 1 course with these last minute "saviours", however there are a number of simple online coaching resources that can get your new recruits started and on their way to becoming a great coach!

The Australian Sports Commission as part of their NCAS program has a Beginner Coach General Principles online course that will equip your coaches with the general knowledge of coaching and managing a team. Check out the resources here

Also, the Play By The Rules website is another useful resource with coaches' toolkits, downloadable resources and online courses. Check out their resources at the following links:

Online courses

Downloadable resources

Toolkits

Always remember, if in doubt give your State or National governing body a call to check exactly where you stand and what you should be doing to provide the best quality coaches and services to your members.

Marketing and Promotions

Marketing and Sponsorship

The recent free marketing and sponsorship session provided some great information on marketing and sponsorship for clubs.

Marketing and sponsorship plays a major part of the success of a club and doesn't have to be "too hard" with small steps achieving results.

The best place to start is looking at where your club is now and what your current marketing initiatives are. The majority of clubs may want to increase members and are trying to achieve this by using Facebook more, writing weekly/monthly media releases, paying for advertising, surveying current members or having a stall at a community event. Think about the initiatives you currently undertake and align them with your clubs vision and mission – where do you want to be and what does your club want to achieve.

Next, look at your club's brand – a very important asset of your club. Your name and logo are only one aspect and keep in mind if you aim to be a competitive club, social club or have another reputation amongst the community.

Looking at your brand and where you want to be, you can then focus on your target market. Do you look at social media to attract junior players, do you focus on attracting elite athletes or do you want to attract families to your club through community and social promotions? Do you want to concentrate on attracting new sponsors or creating a unique culture?

Undertaking a SWOT analysis is also a component of creating a marketing plan. Look at your:

S - Strengths
W - Weaknesses
O - Opportunities
T - Threats

That may impact on growing your club.

The next step is to look at the 4 P's and ensure your actions are focussed on attracting your target market.

Product - what product/service does your club offer and does it suit the market. Competitive/social/health/fitness/leisure/ entertainment or a combination?
Price - what do you charge for your product/service, is it comparable, is your price more for a higher end product?
Promotion - how are you promoting your club?
Place - where are you located, can people access your club easily, do they know about your club?

Generating media coverage is also part of marketing and sponsorship. Use this to promote your club, attract new members, get your brand in the community and reward sponsors. Media releases are one way of achieving this and should contain:

A catchy title

Date for release

Content that is of human interest and will appeal to readers

Well formatted to be read easily and not to long

Your contact details for a follow up story/further information

Photos if appropriate

Not all media releases will be printed but keep sending them in and try and establish a relationship with your local media staff.

Everyone is aware of Social Media now even if not all of us use it. Social media is a great form of reach to certain target markets and is free. It is also a great avenue to promote activities and events that your club holds to attract the wider community - not everyone reads the paper daily.

When seeking sponsorship, it is not just about sending a letter to your current contact list of sponsors that you have had year in and year out. These are important groups and you should approach them for continued support but make sure you are offering them something in return.

By marketing to the community, you can also market to new sponsors. It is not just about asking a company to give money to your club or event. Think about what they can get in return, think outside the square and put a proposal to them:

reach over X number of members of your club

logo on your website/Facebook

recognition over loudspeaker at events

signage at grounds

opportunity to be part of presentation night and present awards

Also, remember that in-kind sponsorship may be as beneficial as money. Think about your current suppliers and what they may be able to provide free of charge in return for promotion through the club and at events.

Start something new today or fine tune your current marketing and sponsorship initiatives and you will see success.

Some digital tips to save you time and even bring in some $!

If you're like most typical not-for-profit sports clubs or organisations you've probably got a website and maybe a Facebook page.

You're probably already sending out an email from your personal or club address every week or so informing members and supporters of the happenings inside your club.

And I'll bet that you're emailing files between committee members or sharing USB drives at meetings in order to get those important documents, flyers or pictures distributed around those who need them.

If this sounds like you, then here are some helpful tips that will not only reduce your time and that of your fellow volunteers, but might also bring you some additional cash – and who doesn't love that?!

Track your website statistics
Knowing how many people visit your website is a great selling point for sponsors. The more effective your website the more people will be visiting, and that's great for you because you can be selling advertising space to your sponsors when you're negotiating that sponsorship deal.Ask your web provider if they are tracking your statistics - which most should be. If not, you can always setup Google Analytics on your website - it's free and very comprehensive.

Know what people want from your website
Knowing your website statistics can help you improve your offering. You could identify the most popular item or information that people are visiting. You might find that you could add an item to your website, such as the weekly fixture or team lists, that can boost traffic. Remember – the more traffic hitting your website the better!

Make sure your email is read You're probably sending out a weekly or monthly newsletter to keep everyone around your club updated. You're putting time into writing what you think people are reading, but there's every chance you could be wasting your time!Using an e-mail marketing program like MailChimp can track your message and see how many people are actually opening your mail as well as who is clicking links through to your website. MailChimp can also make your emails a lot more appealing with images and text formatting, and has an easy-to-use 'drag and drop' style editor.

Store it in the cloud!
Wouldn't it be great if all of your committee members had access the files they need and could work autonomously without emailing each time someone makes a change? Well in this day and age, it's possible!There are some great free tools such as Google Drive and Dropbox that can be used for numerous people to share and work on files. Best of all – your files are then stored in the 'cloud' – meaning they're always safe from home computer crashes and all stored for whenever a new person/s step in on the committee.

If you've got a tech-savvy person in your club why not mention these ideas to them and get them to do some investigation. There really are some simple, easy and best of all FREE tools you can make use of in order to save time not just day-to-day but also when also considering succession planning.

Club Planning

Club Performance – is it in the eye of the beholder?

How do you think your club is currently performing?

There can be many different answers and points of view depending on who you ask, or what your involvement is within the club.

In most cases, sporting clubs provide a service or product to a number of different stakeholders. Stakeholders are individuals or organisations whose involvement with your club will have an impact on how successful your club is. Generally stakeholders can be placed into two distinct groups:

Internal Stakeholders

External Stakeholders

Does your club know who might be considered one of their stakeholders? Have you as a club undertaken a stakeholder analysis to identify your potential stakeholders?

Examples of Internal Stakeholders may include:

Club members

Board and committee members

Volunteers

Players

Coaches

Sponsors

External Stakeholders may include some of the following groups:

Local Council

State Government

Local / Regional association

State Sporting Organisation

National Sporting Organisation

Other user groups of a share facility

Visiting teams, players and officials

Local schools

Local Businesses

Suppliers

Affiliated charities

Each of the stakeholders that your club is engaged with will have a different expectation of the level of service or the product that you provide. It is important that your club is able to assess each of its identified stakeholders by the relative importance and influence, as this will impact the way in which your club will engage and communicate with them.

For a club to know how they are travelling in relation to the expectations that these stakeholders have, they need to know how to get feedback or extract this information from them.

There are many different ways to retrieve this valuable information, but no one way is considered the best as different stakeholders will utilise different mediums to report their feedback.

Examples of ways to secure feedback include:

Electronic surveys

Feedback forms

Interviews

Club forums

Informal chats

Sponsors review

This feedback will provide the club with information on areas that may need improving before they become an issue, or alternatively, provide vindication for a change or decision that has been made.

Another great outcome of being able to source and obtain this feedback from stakeholders is the opportunity for the club to set benchmarks to aim and work towards.

Many will be able to list requirements from their governing body and/or competition administrator in regard to financial and operational obligations. However many of these benchmarks do not take into account or only have a small consideration for the majority of the stakeholder groups that are involved with the club.

Through having information and feedback supplied by your clubs stakeholders, you will be able to set targets and benchmarks to ensure that you are working towards meeting or exceeding their expectations.

By understanding your stakeholder groups, their needs and expectations, your club will be able to best position themselves to be successful and capitalise on the handwork currently being undertaken.

Club Data Health Check

After enjoying some Easter eggs you may be considering a health check…while you are at it why not do a data health check at your club.

Every season, clubs conduct sign ons or promotions to attract new players with the hope to increase members, but what do you do with the information? There is a definite link between club success and having well-organised and maintained data.

Many clubs comment on the challenges to spread the word, contact members easily, gain sponsors, hold successful fundraisers or collect payments. Having an effective and up-to-date database will ease these challenges and is most likely a requirement of your clubs constitution as well.

You can include members, subscription lists, social players, sponsors and so on and back up the data. What would happen if you lose the computer that stores the information!

While it is good that volunteers approach members, they can also spend a lot of time trying to speak with every member about attending the next sausage sizzle! Having an easy method of contacting all members (including parents and past members) will enable these volunteers to better utilise their time for the club.

Start your data health check now:

Are you able to find out in the click of a few buttons how many players have yet to pay their membership? How many fully paid-up members you have at your club?

Can you produce a contact list for sponsors of the club?

Do you have a breakdown of the ages of your club's members, their gender and their occupation and any emergency health issues they may have?

Do you have a skills database at your club? That is, do you know how many of your members are doctors, dentists, tradies, and so on?

Do you have a spreadsheet of past players and members of the club?

Do you have a repository of photos and images?

Do you have a database of suppliers to the club? Caterers, equipment providers, etc.?

Can you name the local government members and contacts in the local government departments that deal with local sports clubs?

You may wonder why it is so important to keep this information. Below are some of the ways your club can take advantage of well maintained information:

Keep all members and potential members informed of club events

Attract sponsors

Keep membership details and payments up to date

Hold successful fundraisers

Work with councils, media and government bodies successfully

Apply for grants

Work with your club's governing body

Benefit your marketing and promotion activities through accuracy of the information

Below are some databases that is best practice for clubs to maintain:

Player details

Payment details

Past players contact

Non playing members and supporters contact

Volunteer skills register

Sponsors

Suppliers, contractors

Media contacts

Council and state, federal government contacts

Association or sport governing body contacts

Emergency contacts

Images and competition records

Enhance your communications through your club. A current database will help you generate information quickly through:

email (individual, group, club)

e-newsletters

reports (financial, membership, club)

calendar of events (club, state, national, international)

meetings (dates, distribution of agendas and minutes)

surveys and questionnaires

coaching clinics, official's clinics, selection clinics

competition results (club, state, national)

release of policies, such as selection policies, member protection policies, constitutional, policies

alerts to any special offers, deals and opportunities on offer to your members

Keeping databases doesn't need to be difficult. You can keep some of the information in the one database and filter depending on what you require and while specific database programs may be beneficial, excel databases can be suitable. Your State Sporting organisation may also have a program that can be used for information, such as a competitions program.

Get to know your members and identify any changes or trends in your membership. A database can track if your male, female or junior members declined (or inclined) and then your club can respond accordingly before it is too late.

It can also help you identify gaps in memberships so that you can target specific ages or categories of members.

Once databases are set up, the benefits that they will bring to the club will far out way the set up and maintenance time and may even reduce the time required for certain ongoing tasks. It also allows for an easy handover process with new volunteers – they have the information on hand and can get started straight away!

Event Management

Document How You Run Your Events

Imagine you've put your hand up to help coordinate your club's upcoming weekend carnival. This event attracts entrants from across South East Queensland. Tammy, one of the club's long serving volunteers, has always organised this event is grateful for the support.

Eight weeks out from the event, Tammy tells you and the committee that her family has to move for work reasons. Everyone now looks at you to take over the coordination of the carnival. What happens next?

The loss of a key volunteer can throw club activities into chaos very quickly, with a lot of experience, knowledge leaving the club. This situation can be minimised by documenting as much as possible of your club's processes or procedures so that it will help the club to continue and maintain "business as usual".

This is particularly important with regards to events as due to the short duration of the activity, involvement of many people and logistical arrangements to bring in equipment and other organisations involved in how operations are conducted.

You can start by recording details about the event in an Event Plan including:

What the event is and what you are trying to achieve through the event

Record your thoughts on what you want it to look like or how it will run

The jobs or tasks that need to be done

Details of who should do them – assign this by names and roles where possible

Key dates for each task – when the task should start and when it needs to be completed by

Is there a cost to each task? – record that so you can keep track of a budget

Keep a list of equipment needed and where you can get it from

Develop a list of the numbers of people you need to make the event work

Any information you can record about the event is better than nothing and it is a starting point so that this can be improved over time.

Once again, a quick google search can provide you with many tools to help with documenting your events with tools such as event management plans, budgets, risk assessments, sponsorship proposals etc all being available. For copies of some of these documents click the links below:

Planning and Running Events

Planning Template

Event Management Handbook

Event Management Guide

Event Budget Template

Risk Management

Writing Sponsorship Proposals

Facilities

New Season – have you booked your facility?

New Season – New Facility Booking? Working with your Local Council

It's March already, signalling the start of the new season for many sports and the end of the season for others.

It is a time when there can be multiple requests to use Council owned facilities, and sometimes there are conflicts between summer and winter sports.

It's important to remember that Council owned facilities belong to the community and Council has an obligation to meet a broad range of community needs from all of its facilities. To ensure fair access and use to Council owned facilities, Ipswich City Council takes seasonal bookings for a many of its parks and sporting facilities where:

Winter Season is from the last Saturday in March to the first Saturday in September

Summer Season is from the third Saturday in September to the last Saturday in March

Ipswich City Council has an online Parks Search which can provide you with information on Council's parks, and the equipment and facilities that are available within these parks. Council has also developed a Sport and Recreation User's Manual to help facility users to manage, maintain and operate Council owned sport and recreation facilities.

An Application Form and supporting documentation must be submitted to Ipswich City Council to use a Council-owned facility and Clubs are required to apply for their booking before the start of their season. Fees and charges may be applicable and are outlined in Council's Fees and Charges .

For more information about booking an Ipswich park or sporting facility please visit www.ipswich.qld.gov.au or call (07) 3810 6666.

For more tips on working with your local council please visit www.ipswichsportshouse.com.au 

Keep Your Facilities Safe This Holiday Season

The Christmas / New Year period is a time when we come together to celebrate the festive season, but often a time when our club facilities are "closed" for a period.

Unfortunately, incidents and accidents do happen and will happen – often when you're not there. Opportunistic burglars, summer storms and power/electricity surges or outages can all affect your Club.

Below is a checklist to help with preparations:

Get a few club mates to help with this. As they say, many hands make light work

Pull the plug – unplug appliances that can be turned off to protect them from power surges (and to save power)

Use surge-protect power boards to protect appliances (and products!) that must remain turned on

Take a stocktake of items that are in the clubhouse including canteen stock, equipment. Consider even taking some photo of items stored as proof of storage

Securely store portable equipment or materials that may go walkabout, could be used to damage your facilities or blown away during a storm. This includes tools, sports equipment, building materials, etc.

Remove keys to any vehicles, mowers, tractors stored onsite and store them away from the club facilities

Where possible, use timers to turn on outside lighting around facilities at night time

Turn off the water to the premises if possible to prevent taps being "accidentally" turned on and left running

Mow the grass around the clubhouse to keep it from looking overgrown – this will make the maintenance easier when the club comes back as well!

Give the changerooms, canteen, eating areas, first aid rooms etc. a thorough clean. Empty all bins, remove any tape, old cloths, towels, smelly boots, remove the oil from the deep fryer, clean off the BBQ, clean up the food crumbs from the last function, sweep/vacuum floors etc.

Remove any outside debris and ensure all outside rubbish bins are emptied

Fence off any works under construction or safety issues

Don't openly display valuable items visible from the street or through windows. Remove any valuables from the venue where possible or store them in secured, lockable cabinets. If you are removing any valuables from the club facilities, have at least 2 club officials "sign them out" as part of normal procedure and 2 club officials 'sign them back in' when they are returned

Ensure windows and doors are secured, use deadbolts where possible

Arrange for someone staying home over the Christmas period to periodically drive past or call in to check your club

Ask neighbours to keep an eye out for the facilities and advise of any power blackouts. Leave them with contact details of 2 or 3 club members during the shutdown period

With some preparation for periods of inactivity, hopefully you'll be able to restart your activities incident free in the New Year.

Club Committees

Changing Personnel – A Smooth Transition

Changes in club personnel can happen at any time of the year, although there are some times of the year when it is more likely than others. Be it changes in paid staff, coaching staff for new season, change in committee members following AGMs or due to other unforseen circumstances, change in volunteers for a variety of reasons; you want to make sure the process is smooth and efficient for everyone involved and for the organisation as a whole.

Whether you are dealing with paid or volunteer staff, there are a range of things that can be done to ensure the process is as hassle-free as possible for the departing person/s and also to enable the incoming person/s to 'hit the ground running' and also protect the organisation throughout the process.

Departing Personnel

EXIT INTERVIEW

You should always do some type of exit interview with any departing personnel, it can be either formal or a quick informal chat. The key to this is to give you the opportunity to find out the reasons for them stepping away and if there are any things the organisation can change in the way you operate and or manage personnel that will help ensure people stay.

RETURN OF ORGANISATION'S PROPERTY

If the departing person has any club property including phones, keys, laptops, documents, computer files, cheque books, playing/training equipment, first aid kits, uniforms etc; these will need to be returned as soon as possible. If the person also has knowledge of any alarm codes, social media passwords etc you should ensure that these are changed also.

COMMUNICATION TO KEY STAKEHOLDERS

As soon as practicable let key stakeholders know of any changes to personnel and if necessary changes to contact details. These stakeholders will differ depending on the position held by the person leaving, but largely it will be anyone who that person has contact with in their role. These could include: members, council, state government, sponsors, bank (if the position is a signatory to the accounts), state association.

UPDATE ON PROJECTS OR WORKLOAD

This will not be relevant for every position, but for key positions it is important to get an update on where key projects or work outcomes are at, in order that work can continue to progress and key deadlines are not missed. If the incoming person to the position is already in place, this can be done directly with them; however in most cases this won't be possible so handover will need to be done in an interim basis. Check if they will be happy to still be contacted over the next month if there are any questions or further information required.

Incoming Personnel

INDUCTION / WELCOME PACK

All incoming personnel should be given an induction to the organisation including information on the organisation, a physical tour of facilities, clarification of their duties, reporting structures, governance information, all relevant policies and procedures, contact details for key people in the organisation; if required you should introduce them to key people as soon as possible. This is also a great opportunity to confirm if they have any questions or require clarification on any aspects of the organisation or the role.

HANDOVER

Depending on the role they may need to have a handover in relation to the status of key projects or work outcomes. If this can be done directly with the outgoing person that is ideal, however this will generally be done with someone else in the organisation.

ACCESS TO EQUIPMEMT

Ensure the person is given all necessary work tools and information they will require for their role as soon as possible. This may include keys, alarm codes, computer, phone, documents, computer files, playing / training equipment, first aid kit, uniforms etc.

COMMUNICATION TO KEY STAKEHOLDERS

If necessary depending on the role, let all the key people for the organisation know the new person and any new contact details. Key stakeholders could include: members, council, state government, state governing body, sponsors and other supporters. If the position is a signatory to bank accounts ensure they are added to the signature list as soon as possible.

Changes in personnel, whether it be paid staff or volunteers, happen for various reasons. These tips should help ensure any transition is smooth and your club can continue to operate effectively and efficiently.

Community Links

Developing Community Partnerships

Developing Community Partnerships

Sports organisations are an integral part of the local community and play a key role in forming part of the social fabric of any community, helping to build community spirit. It is vital that clubs develop partnerships with other local groups to ensure they maximise the perceptions of the club by the community at large as well as increasing awareness for potential membership and sponsorship opportunities.

Other groups clubs should look to develop partnerships with include:

Other sport and recreation clubs

Local schools

Other not for profit organisations

Local businesses

Community volunteer groups

There are 4 key elements for developing and maintaining good community partnerships:

Partnerships must be mutually beneficial

Partnerships must have a strong "teamwork" element

Partnerships must establish and maintain open paths of communication

Partnerships must have measurable outcomes to monitor their effectiveness

Developing relationships with other local groups enables clubs to:

Reach a bigger pool of potential members, supporters and volunteers

Share facilities and other resources

Obtain larger group buying discounts from suppliers

Develop joint funding submissions for mutually beneficial projects

Share ideas to overcome challenges in areas such as player welfare, health and safety initiatives, new program ideas, marketing and promotion

Greater potential for sponsorship opportunities

So how can your club go about developing community partnerships?

Following are some ideas on how you can go about developing community partnerships.

With other sport and recreation clubs

Work together to jointly run an event such as sign-on day, community day or open day

If you share a facility with another club, work together on facility development plans (if leasing council facility, be sure to include council representatives in this process as well)

Invite representatives from other clubs to be a part of a "local celebrity match"

Some higher level teams/athletes may benefit from cross-training sessions with other sports

If possible, help out other local clubs with the provision of extra volunteers for any large special events they may be hosting

Band together to bulk-buy supplies (eg canteen stock, merchandise) – you will likely get better pricing for bulk purchases

Have club representatives meet a couple of times per year to discuss particular issues that you may be able to assist each other with solutions to (eg Player Welfare, Volunteer Management, Risk Management, Major Event Management etc)

Run a joint marketing / promotional campaign

With Local Businesses

Invite local businesses to be a part of your Sign On Day or Open Day or other events you are holding. Some businesses may have a mobile store that they are able to set up on the day to sell their product. Alternatively they may like to partake in a fun "celebrity match" challenge.

Approach local businesses and ask about the possibility of getting a reduced rate on purchases – be sure that you will be able to provide appropriate acknowledgement and recognition if they say yes.

Approach local businesses to ask if you can put promotional materials in their store (make sure you go back and collect them after the campaign is finished)

With Local Schools

Become an Active After School Communities provider at local schools (contact Australian Sports Commission to be part of this program)

Take an "activity space" stall at the school fete

If possible, offer to assist with coaching school teams

With other community and volunteer groups

Be involved with the Ipswich Sports House Active Space at the Ipswich Show

Get involved at local community events such as fun runs, markets, multi-sport days, community fun fairs

If you have a local neighbourhood centre, offer to run your sport as an activity session there from time to time

Participate in the Ipswich City Council Active Breaks School Holiday programs

Contact your local service organisations (eg Rotary Club, Lions Club, RSL) to discuss ways you can work together and support each other

With government

Contact your local Councillor, State and Federal MPs and brief them on your club and where you see it growing in the future

Invite local representatives to your major events and also to be patron of your club

Ask if you can include them on your club mailing list to keep them informed with what is happening with your club

Include relevant Ipswich City Council staff in any developing planning discussions and keep them updated on your club activities

Community Partnerships, if established correctly and for mutually beneficial reasons, can help your club to grow and develop and you will most likely find that you will be operating much more effectively and efficiently.