Club support toolkit
Clubs and groups are an essential part of our community enabling individuals to take up and continue participating in physical activity. We have created this resource to support clubs and groups.
The support is broken down into sections, enabling you to go to any particular area you may want information and guidance with.
The success of a club will predominantly come down to the group of people who manage the club’s affairs; the club committee. The committee is ultimately responsible for ensuring that its members receive the best possible service and experiences.
Another fundamental aspect of club management are the constitution, policies and procedures put in place to determine how a club and its members should operate. It is recommended to introduce a Constitution, Safeguarding and Welfare Policy, Codes of Conduct, Data Protection Policy, Equity Policy and Health and Safety Policy.
For assistance and guidance around club management click on the links below:
Effective club/group marketing:
There are now a range of different methods to market a club, you need to determine the best way of reaching your target group. Developing a marketing plan is one way to help a club focus on maximising opportunities, it is more likely to be successful when you’ve taken the time to identify what you want and when you want to do it.
Social media platforms:
There are three main social media platforms used, they are:
- Twitter is a well establish platform, it allows users to post pictures, videos and communicate with other users in the form of tweets. This promotional material can be written text posts, posters or perhaps promotional videos. A great way to reach new members by using relevant hashtags and tagging in relevant organisations.
- Facebook arguably the most popular and well-known social media platform, as a result it contains a large audience hence a huge opportunity for an organisation to reap the benefits of this platform. Facebook is a brilliant place to advertise and promote your clubs upcoming events and competitions.
- Instagram is growing consistently it is different from other social media platforms in the sense that to post on the platform the post has to include either a picture or a video. Instagram is a content driven platform therefore it is the perfect place to post about past and upcoming events at your clubs, whether that’s in the form of photos or a poster about an upcoming club deal.
Managing your clubs/groups social media accounts:
To ensure your clubs social media accounts are as beneficial as possible it is crucial that you effectively manage your club’s social media accounts. The first and most important factor is time management, managing multiple social media accounts for your club does take up a lot of time and as a result that time needs to be used effectively and fairly. Ensure you know your target audience, who you want to get your posts out to.
It’s is also important to think about the quality of content you are putting out. Whether it’s a photo, video or even posters always ensure it is of the highest quality possible, there is no point putting out five social media posts out every day if they are all poor quality as this will give your club a bad image online, always remember quality over quantity.
Staying on top of multiple social media accounts can be hard, one of the best ways to manage your social media accounts is by using social media account management tools. These pieces of software are brilliant and often free, they allow you to schedule posts in advance across multiple social media platforms.
Creating a Marketing Plan
A marketing plan often runs hand in hand with a club’s overall objectives and aims for the year. A marketing plan is crucial for any club if they want to succeed. Marketing plans often contain six main steps detailed below:
1. Business Summary – A summary of the club, the location and the mission statement. On top of that, it is also important to include a SWOT (strength, weaknesses, opportunities, threats) analysis.
2. Business Initiatives – Outlining the projects that are specific to marketing. When doing this part also describe the goals of those projects and how those goals will be measured by your club.
3. Target Market – Identify the target market
4. Market Strategy – What is your club offering that your competitors aren’t, in others words the clubs unique selling point.
5. Budget – Funding associated to the Market plan if there is one available. What will it be spent on.
6. Marketing Channels – Identify what channels your club is going to advertise on and why.
It is important that your club is structured, structure can influence how a club is viewed by others (e.g. banks, funding providers, the public) and determines whether the club is treated as a separate legal entity (i.e. club members are not personally responsible for its debts). It is also important to consider that there are different rules and legal requirements depending on how a club is structured. Whatever structure or status a club chooses it is important for them to understand what the implications are, and it is advisable to consider updating the club’s constitution to reflect the structure of the club.
There are two main types of organisational status, unincorporated and Corporated. Unincorporated includes company limited by guarantee, company limited by shares, community benefit society and charitable incorporated organisation.
Unincorporated are generally suitable if:
- Small local club
- Don’t own assets (property etc.)
- Don’t take on any contracts
- Not involved in high risk sport
- Protected fully through 3rd party insurance
Corporated are generally suitable if:
- Employ staff
- Apply for finance (loans or grants)
- Own assets
- Entering contracts
- Taking on a lease
- Buying buildings
Choose the appropriate structure for your club
- Register with HMRC if liable to Corporation Tax
- Get the right Directors
- Ensure your details are correct and up to date
- Use the correct details on correspondence / contracts etc.
- Know your ongoing obligations e.g. annual accounts, annual return
When it comes to improving your club, funding is always an important aspect that can help your club develop and improve. This could be anything from gaining funding to run a project to increasing your membership, buying equipment or improve your club facilities.
Potential funders will need to see what impact their funds will have, how the funding will improve the quality of provisions in your local area or how a specific project is going to engage and reach a target audience. Potential funders will also want you to demonstrate the sustainability of what you are proposing to fund. Secondly, think about whether you really need funding, is it funding you need, or can the needs be met through commercial investment/sponsorship or fundraising. Sport receives funding from a range of sources which include:
1. Membership fees – these are the basic income for most sport clubs
2. Monies raised from members – Many clubs charge team members ‘match fees’ whenever they play a game. Team dinners, dances, raffles all make a profit for clubs.
3. Earned income – this may come from several sources. For example, money from bar and catering operations, especially with larger clubs.
4. Grants – A large part of income for amateur clubs. Local authorities provide grants to help pay for running costs of clubs or often provide facilities at reduced rates. The Sports Council can also provide grants to help clubs update or extend their facilities.
5. Sponsorship – Sponsorship may range from a local business/supplier donating a set of strips to paying for the costs of matches in a specific league all season. Professional clubs tend to get funding from the same sources as amateur clubs although grants from the Sports Council or National Lottery are only available under exceptional circumstances e.g. setting up a coaching programme for youngsters. Professional clubs also get added income from spectators, media interest and prize money.
Across the UK a wide range of children are involved in a wide range of sports activities from community participation to national and international level. Within sport and physical activity, we have a responsibility to safeguard young people from potential abuse. This can be done in a variety of ways, such as ensuring that a clear safeguarding policy is in place, that volunteers have had DBS checks and that everyone has sufficient training on how to spot the signs of abuse.
It is important that this is an area that people talk about, and are aware of among other things that are being prioritised within the clubs environment, this is often an area that goes unspoken about, due to the taboos that exist but it is important for us to break these down and provide knowledge and training to ensure that the issues are identified and dealt with as and when they arise.
Recruitment of members
Attracting new members and retaining existing ones is the most common challenge faced by sports clubs, due to changes in lifestyle and the number of alternatives now available for someone looking to become fit and active.
It is important that clubs truly understand their members so that they can offer a service which meets their wants and needs. It is important for clubs to bear in mind that the club exists for, and because of, the members, players and participants of the club.
People participate in sport for different reasons. Once a club identifies and understands these motivations, they can use this knowledge to begin to build a positive club environment and therefore experience. By providing this positive experience you will give your existing members a reason to keep coming back, as well as attracting potential new members through word of mouth.
It is important for clubs to manage finances competently by having a financial plan or business plan both short and long term. Short term, it is important to evaluate income and costs for the coming year, allowing the club to stay focused on their everyday finances. Identifying the club’s income and costs over a longer period will help when planning for the future, and in particular any significant projects they wish to undertake.
To ensure the clubs income is sustainable, it is important for it to be generated from a variety of sources (e.g. membership fees, sponsorship & fundraising, grant funding etc). It is also important to manage the cash flow of the club by recording all money in and out of the club using a reliable method such as cash sheets or cashbook, a spreadsheet or budgeting tool.
The following tool on the Club Matters website can support you to develop a financial plan: https://www.sportenglandclubmatters.com/club-finances/
Recruitment of Volunteers
Let’s face it volunteers are the key to a successful amateur sports club. Most clubs are run by a small pool of volunteers who bring passion, drive and ambition to clubs, to keep them running and improving. Remember volunteers aren’t just coaches or referees, they’re those that hold committee members positions, they are those parents that offer to wash the kit, the wife of the chairman who makes the tea on the Saturday. Without them clubs are nothing, sports volunteering is worth millions to British economy and is the most popular sector in which people are likely to volunteer.
Things that you need to consider for volunteers is the four R’s, recruit, retain, recognise and reward, as well as what organisation can support you and what resources are available to ensure an excellent voluntary experience. These people that offer their time usually get put upon quite heavily, taking on one role then quickly carrying out three or four different jobs. It is important that we consider the needs of the volunteer at the heart of what they do, what are their motivations for volunteering? Are their needs being met if we can truly understand this then the support we offer to the individuals can be a lot more appropriate and tailored to them individually, which will in turn encourage them to continue giving up their time and making a difference for a longer period of time.
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