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Whilst taking care of day-to-day activities is at the core of what club volunteers do, making some time for planning is imperative to a successful & sustainable club.


Watch a recently recorded 45 minute webinar on Planning for Success. A simple and free one time only registration is required to watch all webinars within the AFL ClubHelp Webinar Series.


Establishing a Vision Statement helps the club articulate its aspirations. An ambitious statement about what the club wants to be to help inspire current (& prospective) people associated with the club.  

Watch this short 2-minute video for more guidance on setting up a Vision Statement. 

Club's should either have a Mission Statement in place (that needs to be reviewed from time to time) or would benefit from establishing a Mission Statement to help guide decisions by the Club. It highlights why the club exists and will help the committee with the direction the club is heading. Once established, don’t forget to promote it widely to everyone associated with the club – sponsors, members, council, website, social media etc.

Watch this short 3-minute video for more guidance about Mission Statements. 

Club Culture - Watch (4 mins)

Establishing Values

The values set the tone and direction for the whole club so it’s important to involve a range of stakeholders including club members, club committee, parents and club alumni during the development phase. 

Start by brainstorming all the behaviours, qualities, characteristics and feelings you would want the club and members to have, so that the club can deliver the results the business needs. It’s not unusual for the group to come up with a list of 50 or more words! If you get a bit stuck, ask: 

  • What’s important to us? 
  • What brought us all together and continues to hold us together? 
  • What will help guide us when we are facing a difficult decision? 
  • What parts of our club are we proud of? 

The next step is to do a cull of the list. Discuss each point made in the brainstorming session and determine which 4-6 values best suit the club and the desired direction. Values are universal so its ok if your values are similar to another club. There may be one or two in the list that makes the club unique. 

Living Your Values

It's great that you have now established your club values, but it is important to live your values. In the planning process its important to define how you live your values. Ask yourself: 

  • What behaviours will match our values? 
  • Will our values empower people? 
  • Will our values still apply when met with a difficult decision? 
  • How will we communicate our values to all club members? 
  • How will we deal with a situation where someone does not live by our values? 

For true impact, you need to make your values a part of everything your club does. 

Strategic planning is useful for guiding day-to-day decisions, and for evaluating progress and changing approaches when moving forward. It helps by identifying goals and objectives and developing ways of achieving them. 

The purpose of a strategic plan is to eliminate as much uncertainty about the future as possible and allow the club to move forward in the most efficient manner. 

A strategic plan will ensure the club continues to operate effectively and in a consistent direction despite changes in club committee and is a very important succession planning document.

Strategic Planning Template

The club committee needs to consider planning for the short and long term. Short-term planning relates to planning for specific events of up to 12 months, whereas long-term planning involves a longer period, between 12 months and five years. A strategic plan is considered a long-term plan. 

When creating the strategic plan, consideration must be given to the overall direction of the club in terms of what it wants to achieve and how it will go about getting there. Consider the reasons for establishing the club, together with the nature of the community it will serve, and how it will do so. 

The planning process should involve four to five key people within your club and be led by the club president. 

Clubs seeking a simple, yet effective solution should first consider conducting a “SWOT” analysis. (Strengths. Weaknesses. Opportunities. Threats) with simple actions established following this analysis. Some templates are provided to help. 

Strengths and weaknesses relate mostly to the internal aspects of the club. Generally the tangible aspects of the club as at today and the perception about the club. Things such as facilities, culture, number of teams, quality of coaches, diversity of Committee, community perception and financial position. Things about things like: 

  • What is the club doing well & sets it apart from other clubs?  
  • What things are other clubs doing better than our club? 
  • What would the local Community say if we asked them? 
  • What would new players (or long term volunteers) say? 

Opportunities and threats are those external aspects relating to the club. These particularly relate to the future.  

What could impact the club from a positive (opportunities) or negative (threats) perspective? Think about things such as launching an Auskick program, establishing a girls team, the impact of a neighbouring club getting a facility upgrade, not retaining existing sponsors, key volunteers (or players) not returning, school/club link opportunities, major weather events, theft, gaining a facility grant etc. 

SWOT Analysis explained - Watch (3 mins)

Template - Version 1

Template - Version 2

Template - Marketing Plan

A comprehensive review will provide more insights for the club to make informed decisions on priority areas of focus. The AFL strongly recommend that clubs complete simple modules developed by the Australian Sports Commission through their Game Plan initiative. Work through the modules one at a time to give you guidance to what you focus on as your highest priority.

The following season long calendar can assist the Committee with planning for the key tasks that need to be completed.

Learn how you can plan and promote a themed round, including Big Freeze Community Round, or Community Umpiring Week. Please note, different States and Territories may have rules and requirements imposed by different authorities around holding events on ANZAC Day. Any queries on this from clubs or leagues can be directed to your AFL State and Territory governing body.

These templates have been provided as a guide. Please edit and adjust them as needed to suit the needs and requirements of your club.


Marketing Plan Template
Marketing and Communications Coordinator PD

Media and Communications

Communication Plan and Calendar Template
Website Content List Template

End of Season Checklist - Watch (3 mins)