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Whole Club Development Planning

Rugby clubs are rapidly moving into a more professional culture, partly as a result of changes in legislation, but largely from the desire to improve the provision for all members and to grow the club.

The most effective way for clubs to develop and improve is to be involved in a planning process that sets your club on the path to a better future. It is also important that this process and plan involves all sections of the club if it is to be effective.

Why Plan?

There are many reasons why a club will benefit from planning:

  • Use your club’s resources more effectively
  • Identify and prioritise the club's aims and aspirations for the future
  • Recognise where the club has come from and where it is now
  • Improve team spirit by involving members in decision making
  • Development planning is essential for accessing funding support such as Rugby Football Foundation grants and loans
  • Ensure a professional approach
  • Demonstrate what the club can offer potential new players/ members
  • Demonstrate the club's commitment to local schools, colleges and universities
  • The planning process can develop team work off the rugby pitch
  • Helps the club cope with change
  • Check on the clubs progress

How to Produce a Club Plan

The RFU has produced a Club Planning Template (MS Excel DOC 1.8MB) to give clubs a point of reference when they begin planning.

There is no right or wrong way to produce a plan, but the following guidelines should give you some positive ideas on how to get started. There are two types of plan:

Development Plan – a long term plan (usually 3 to 5 years), this plan focuses on the club's "vision" for the future. This also applies for women's rugby clubs and the RFUW has produced the Women's Rugby Club Development Plan (MS Word DOC 135kB) as a template to help clubs to start planning.

Action Plan – a short term plan (usually 1 year), this plan prioritises the short term actions required to get the club on the right path to achieving its long term vision. The Women and Girls Section Action Plan (MS Word DOC 40kB) and Action Plan Guidance Notes (MS Word DOC 93kB) are also available for womens rugby clubs.  

The plan should have considered all the possible parts of the club operation, as illustrated in the below diagram.

Whole Club Development Planning Model

Who Should Take Part in the Planning Process?

The most difficult part of action planning is that it takes time, often a limited resource for all clubs.

Before you start the planning process you should contact your local Rugby Development Officer (RDO) and they will help you consider the best way of managing the process within your club. It is important that members take an active role in shaping the club's future, therefore involve and consult the members wherever possible.

Ensure that the participants involved in this planning process represent all sections in the club. However, it is highly recommended that a small working group is identified to carry out the necessary paperwork and action points. Your local RDO will be able to help you organise a club development workshop to involve a wide cross section of your club in the planning process.