Managing Activities
Managing Staff & Volunteers
Running The Organisation
Getting Young People Involved
Succession Planning
Planning before the Event or Activity
Managing The Activities
Evaluation and Review
Finding New Staff
Orientating and Inducting New Staff
Training Staff
Recognising and Awarding Volunteers
Managing Behaviour
Managing Bullying
Access and Equity
Child Protection
Clubs, Associations and Businesses
Running Meetings
Money Management
Getting Control of the Paperwork
Work Health and Safety
Planning For The Future
Understanding Youth Involvement
Taking Action: 10 Steps to Engaging Youth in Club Decision-Making
Helpful Links and Resources
Section 1: Introduction to Succession Planning
Section 2: The Succession Planning Process
Section 3: Crucial Ingredients for Steps 1-5
Step 1. Stop and Think
Step 2. Identify Barriers to Participation for Young People
Step 3. Decide How Your Club will Involve Young People in Decision-Making
Step 4. Form Community Partnerships
Step 5. Recruit Young People
Step 6. Induct Young People in to your Club General Induction Information
Step 7. Effectively Communicate with Young People
Step 8. Invest in Young People
Step 9. Mentor your Young Volunteers
Step 10. Recognise Volunteers and Thank Them for Their Work
Step 1: Examine your club’s position
Step 2: Identify skills required to fill critical roles in your club
Step 3: Assess the skills gap in your club and identify potential successors
Step 4: Develop and prepare potential successors
Step 5: Evaluate your succession plan


Planning For The Future

An important part of a board’s activities is to think ahead and plan for the organisation's future. Some people call this strategic planning. Strategic planning is often what makes the difference between a community group that closes after a few years and one that grows to meet its community’s needs into the future.

Of course, it’s best not to get so bogged down in planning that you’ve lost all your energy for putting it into practice. A short plan that is carried out completely will do a lot more good than a long plan that never gets a real start. Plans should also be flexible enough to take in new information.

Five essentials, before you begin

Before beginning in a strategic planning process, take some time to check that you have the following five systems in place.

Strategic planning can be a big job and it won't work without:

An agreed idea of the organisation’s purpose and who it serves

It’s worth checking that the entire board agrees on the organisation’s purpose and who it is there to serve. Your strategic plan will not make sense unless you agree on what you are aiming for.

A system of recording decisions and following up plans from one month to the next

If your group keeps good minutes and always follows up on short term plans at the following meeting – congratulations, you already have this system. If not, you should start practicing at your next meeting. If you find there are lots of things that are talked about but not followed up, you will need to sharpen up these processes before making long term plans.
See the section on  Running meetings for more details on how to do this.

A system of recording plans for more than a few months time.

Meeting minutes are good for reminding us of things to do before the next meeting but aren’t as good at reminding us months ahead of time. A good strategic plan can look 3-5 years ahead, so you’ll need a way of being reminded of things a longer time ahead as well. Here are some ideas on how to handle this work:

Some organisations use a desktop diary for the current year with longer term ideas recorded at the end, ready to be copied onto next year’s diary when the current one is replaced. You can buy these at most newsagents. If your group already uses a desktop diary, this could be one system you use for long term planning as well.

Some organisations also use a wall chart to remind them of things that are happening in the future. You can buy these at most newsagents with a shiny surface that you can use whiteboard markers and stickers on to remind you of what is coming up. By looking at the chart, it is easy to see which months have lots of activities happening, what things should be happening now and what is coming up in future. Here's an example:

(The red line shows this week's date. The red boxes show when each task needs to be completed, while the grey areas show things that happen over a few weeks. Once you get the hang of it, you can easily see which things are happening this week by looking between the two red lines.)

This sheet helps you plan for the future and also makes a timeline - like the one displayed above - for you.

2 Year Organisational Planner 2 Year Organisational Planner (201 KB)

Some organisations use computer based calendars and reminders. These can easily be set up to remind you of events and actions. If you use a computer regularly and already use an email program like MS Outlook or Thunderbird, this could be a good system for you to use.

Some organisations print off agendas for the next 12 months, with future discussion points on the appropriate month’s agenda. Plans for beyond the next 12 months will need to be written on the agenda for a meeting in 12 month’s time when a general planning meeting should be held.

You can print off this agenda to use this method. Remember to write the name of the month at the top of each one when you print it off and add items for later in the year as you think of them.

Blank Agenda Blank Agenda (54 KB)

A clear communication system to and from front line teams

Strategic planning usually involves making changes in how services are running. You will to need:
A some system in place for telling staff about the decisions you make; and
A some way of finding out how the sections are going.

For example, if you decide you want more women involved in your activities, you need some way of telling the people running the activities what needs to change and a way they can report back to tell you whether this has happened.
Most organisations have a staff member – usually the boss - at board meetings, who has to pass on the information to staff and who brings progress reports back to the board.

This set of forms helps staff keep track of finances for a month. It includes monthly summaries that can be printed off for the board. Staff will need to start a new file each month but some beginners find this one easiest to use.

One Month Budget One Month Budget (174 KB)

This set of forms is just like the monthly but with sections for each month. It includes monthly and annual financial summaries that can be printed off for the board.

Annual Budget Annual Budget (611 KB)

Time and commitment

Strategic planning takes time to organise. It means someone has to set up something different to what is in place now, in addition to keeping the organisation running. If you don’t think you have the time to plan 3-5 years ahead, you can practice with smaller improvements over the next 6 months instead. This will give you the chance to make sure the other four essentials are in place before continuing.

These five systems will help you get things done in your organisation, whether or not you go on to the next section. They will help your organisation get (or keep!) funding, make changes and be more effective. Importantly, they will help the organisation keep going if a key member of the management committee or staff decides to move on to another job.

Starting the strategic planning process

Unfortunately, for many groups, it takes so much effort to keep the service going they don’t have the energy to check and see if it is working.

If it seems like there isn’t a lot of space during board meetings for an extra load of discussion to do with long term planning, it might be worthwhile to set up a smaller group of its members (or ‘subcommittee’) that meets at some time other than board meetings. The smaller group can focus on planning and not take up board time with planning each session.

This group should work out which key people should also be involved in your planning process, such as paid management and sponsors.
If possible, find someone outside of the organisation with experience in planning to start the process and keep it going. Some organisations have found it worthwhile to pay an experienced facilitator to guide them through this process.

This form can help guide you through the goal setting process described below.

2 Year Organisational Planner 2 Year Organisational Planner (201 KB)

Think about who you are now

Have a look and see if your organisation has a ‘mission statement’ or ‘vision’. This will give you something to aim for - a guide to what you are all about.

Key questions to ask yourself might be:
What do we do well?
What are we most proud of in our organisation?
What are some of the things we value in our organisation?
What we don’t but would like to do well?

Think about where you’d like to be

Now is your chance to think about where you’d like to be. Key questions might be:
What would you like the organisation to look like in 5 years time? What could we do better?
When you eventually leave the organisation, what would you like to look back on with pride?
What don’t you like about the organisation? What would you like to change?
Are there financial improvements that need to be made?
Are there things we need to do better?
Are there legal things we could do better?

You might also:
Tell your club or association’s state sporting body that you are making long term plans and ask if there is any information about regional and national plans or trends within the sport industry that you should know about. For example there may be an increase or decrease in participation, access to funds, alliances with other club or associations etc.
Find out trends inside your club or association. For example there could be an increase in females aged 18 – 25 participating at your club or association.
Look closely at the organisation’s financial reports, and see there are trends or predictions you can make. For example, you might find that the money from fees isn’t enough to cover costs for some activities, or that fuel costs have gone up more than you had budgeted for.

Make specific plans

The end result of all of these discussions might be a huge list of things that could be improved. If it seems like it will be more work than you can handle, you will need to choose which happen soon and which are kept until later.
To begin with, you might find it easier to mix a few long-term, difficult plans with a few shorter or easier plans. Use your long -term planning system to record those you’d like to look at again in six or twelve months time so they don’t get lost.
Choose a few clear goals based on where you would like to be.

For example, if you would like increased membership, a goal could be "to have 50 new members this year".
If you would like more people coming to events, a goal could be "to have 130 more people come to this year's NAIDOC event".

Other goals could be to have more people getting involved in your activities, more men involved, more women more children or more people over the age of 55. You might want fairer board meetings or a more professionally run organisation.

People who do lots of strategic planning suggest that you think about if the goals are S.M.A.R.T. - are they:
Specific : The goal should be detailed enough that someone who isn’t a part of your team would know what needs to be done and how. Remember, long term goals might not be complete until the current board members have moved on, so write them down very clearly.
Measurable : How will you know when you’ve reached your goal? Staff or board members might need to collect statistics so that you can know whether the goals are being met. Is there a clear way to measure success?
Actionable : Can you see a clear set of steps to take to reach your goal?
Realistic : Is it possible to reach this goal considering the resources available to your team?
Timely : When will the goal be accomplished?
And, finally, are they linked to the purpose of the organisation?

Putting it into action

To put the immediate plans into action you need to use the five skills mentioned at the top of this page.

Make sure all sections know what the goals are that affect them. They will need to report back to the board on whether they are reaching their targets.

For example, if the target was to increase the number of non-English speaking women in the club, the staff would need to collect records of who the club members are and whether they came from an English speaking background. These records will need to be written into reports for the board each month so they can see if there is any progress. Use your communication system (see above) to make sure everyone knows what is expected of them.

Use your diary, planner or calendar (see above) to record what will happen and when. Create realistic timelines for your action plans and strategies for remembering to start new plans.
Think about how long the different goals will need your attention- some will take longer than others and some will take more effort to put into place.

HINT : Start with a few smaller, easier goals but make sure you start some of the longer ones within six months. Some plans will take a year or two before you can see if they are successful.

Review your plans and celebrate your successes!

The board should evaluate and update the entire plan at least annually - ideally before budget planning.
Financial plans should be checked every month using monthly financial reports.
Review the plans that were made at the last planning session but be prepared to think about new or different ideas as well. Things change - what seemed like a good idea last year might not apply any more.
For example, you might find that a new sport is all the rage amongst young people and you hadn’t planned for it last year. If this is the case, you might want to include this sport in your plans.

Plans for beyond the next 12 months can be recorded and reviewed at next year’s planning session and new plans can be made. As you build experience, you should be prepared to take on longer term goals and to mentor new board members to take on new responsibilities. Different board members can be invited to take in responsibilities for the new year if they wish.
When you have successes, celebrate them!

Record them in club newsletters and your annual reports, tell your funding body and staff. If particular teams or staff have contributed a lot to the success of the plans, the board should find ways of thanking them and recognising their efforts. If there has been a major change contact your local newspaper and see if they will run a story about it.
If particular board members have contributed to the success this should also be acknowledged and recorded in the minutes.
The section on  recognising and awarding volunteers has suggestions on how to show your recognition of the efforts of volunteers, staff and board.


This has been a brief introduction to strategic planning for small organisations. The following links could also help extend your knowledge and skills in some areas.

Guide to Business Planning
The small business website has information about writing your business plan at this site.

A Guide to Developing Aboriginal Businesses https://www.business.gov.au/info/plan-and-start/start-your-business/indigenous-business

Strengthening Rural Communities Resource Kit
The Resource Kit package can be used by local organisations and community groups wanting to investigate the long-term sustainability of their community. It acts as a toolkit and reference manual for information about community sustainability and resilience, especially in rural and regional communities.