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Understanding Youth Involvement
Taking Action: 10 Steps to Engaging Youth in Club Decision-Making
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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



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Section 3: Crucial Ingredients for Steps 1-5


Record Keeping and Information Sharing

One key thing your club can do to make Steps 1-5 easier and more effective is to keep good records so that sharing information among club members is a lot easier.

As mentioned, one of the major challenges clubs face is the loss of important information and knowledge when key members or volunteers leave. Loss of knowledge can cause major disruptions and set your club back a long way. Often whoever takes over from a departing volunteer needs to ‘start from scratch’ and begin gathering the information all over again. Whatever progress was made in that role previously is forgotten and not pursued any further. The main cause of this problem is not really the departure of a volunteer, it is the fact that no one else in the club has access to the information they learned in the role. 

The solution is for volunteers in critical positions to record the things they learn and the progress they make as they go and regularly share that information with other club volunteers. This process of record keeping and information sharing should be an integral element of your club’s activities. Examples of how your club can avoid the loss of knowledge when a key volunteer leaves are:

  •  Writing detailed position descriptions that outline the key responsibilities and tasks of each role
  • Documenting policies and plans and making them easily accessible to your club members and volunteers. (This could mean writing them in easy-to-understand language, publishing them on your website, having them on display etc.)
  • Writing agendas and taking minutes at meetings. For more information view Running Meetings or download the Meeting Agenda Template or Meeting Minutes Template. You might also like to view the Minute Taking Help Sheet.
  • Documenting details about partnerships, sponsors and key contacts;
  • Creating volunteer manuals that outline key club information for new volunteers. For an outline of what to include in a volunteer manual view the Volunteer Manual Outline
  • Conducting regular information audits;
  • Carrying out evaluation sessions after big events and at the end of each season. For convenience, download the Activity Evaluation template which can be distributed to participants/attendees at events or the Evaluation Form for Organisers for club volunteers to complete following an event or at the wrap up of a season;
  • Updating club contact lists, databases, event schedules etc. regularly;
  • Promoting open communication among the board and other club members; 
  • Distributing club newsletters;
  • Mentoring and coaching. To find out more about mentoring view Mentoring.
  • Job rotations; and/or
  • Assigning time to ‘knowledge sharing’ at each club meeting.

Without effective record keeping and information being shared among your volunteers, your succession plan is at risk of failing. Potential successors need to be educated about what is happening in all areas of the club. A good flow of information among club volunteers will inevitably allow smoother and less disruptive transitions when key volunteers leave but may also contribute to the club’s effectiveness in the meantime. Sharing ideas and skills when taking on a challenge in your club means that you are accessing a much broader range of experience and may be able to tackle the challenge in new and innovative ways.

Engaging Young People

If your club is planning for the future and developing a succession plan, you need to seriously consider engaging young people in the management and day-to-day operations of your club. Young people can bring new energy, creativity, enthusiasm and a fresh set of eyes to your club. They are also typically more flexible and willing to adjust to change. If your club is wondering who will carry it in to the future, the reality is that it will probably be your young members. Your club needs to think about getting these young people involved behind the scenes now so that they can begin absorbing the information necessary to take up the reigns in the future. When identifying your potential successors, do not rule people out just because they are too young. If you do, you may be missing an excellent opportunity. Instead, think about which young members could be the leaders of your club in the future. By nurturing and developing their skills, you may be securing your club’s longevity.

There are many benefits of including young people in your club’s decision-making. For more information on how you can do this effectively, view Getting Young People Involved.