Benefits and Barriers

What will happen when you leave your club or step down from your role?
What will happen when other key volunteers leave the club or their role?
What does your club have in place to cover these roles and keep everything running smoothly?

….having the answers to these questions is succession planning!

Succession planning is about preparing for a smooth transition from one volunteer to the next in all the key club roles.

  • Potential benefits of succession planning are that it:
    • prepares the club for future volunteer needs
    • preserves the knowledge that exists within the club
    • encourages the club to identify potential leaders and future volunteers
    • allows time to provide formal or informal training to potential volunteers
    • allows for a smooth handover from one volunteer to the next
    • increases the availability of experienced volunteers who can fill in or take on roles if a position becomes vacant
    • allows planning for future training needs of all volunteers
    • enables your club to share the load among volunteers and avoid volunteer burnout
    • creates a more appealing environment for volunteers.

Barriers to Succession Planning

There are some barriers to succession planning that your club might face. Finding and implementing solutions to these barriers is essential and can be made easier by developing good procedures.

  • Some common barriers to effective succession planning are:
    • The club succession plan involves too much administration and creates too much work for volunteers.
    • Club managers get stuck on traditional views about who can hold key leadership positions in the club and don’t consider alternatives (for example, young people or retired / older people / people from outside the club).
    • Not all Board / Committee members are committed to the idea of succession planning and don’t understand the benefits, which leads to a superficial approach.
    • Recruitment and appointment of volunteers to key positions is not transparent (i.e. clearly outlined / documented and communicated to club members) and can become political.
    • Personalities, egos or individual needs get in the way of decision making.
    • The club has poor record keeping, resulting in a succession plan that is not clear or well documented and that volunteers aren’t aware of.
    • Volunteer promotions are based on longevity instead of competency, skill or talent. Often volunteers who have been in the club a long time take on key positions without having the skills or knowledge to carry out the role successfully because other committee members feel they ‘have earned it’.
    • Club members and / or the board are fearful of change.
    • People are underestimated or left out because they do not ‘fit’ the club culture.
    • The club fails to provide adequate training and development for volunteers.
    • The club has a limited volunteer base.
    • The club has limited access to resources to invest in the succession planning process.
    • The committee or board feel the need to succession plan is not immediate, leading to lots of talk and little action.
    • The club fails to continually review and improve the succession plan.
    • The club adopts a rigid and inflexible approach that is not tailored to specific needs of the club and individuals within it.
    • Source: NSW Communities Sport and Recreation

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  • Add 'Succession Planning' to the agenda of a committee meeting
  • Determine club barriers to succession planning
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