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The Sport Information Resource Centre

A strategic plan is a essentially a road map that outlines who the organization is, what it stands for, its vision for the future, and how it’s going to get there. It communicates organizational goals, direction, strategies, and programs, as well as engages and motivates external and internal audiences. Having a strategic plan is an essential part of organizational success although the process of getting there may be a little daunting; below are a few key areas to get you started.

Before getting down to the nitty gritty of putting a strategic plan together, it’s important to establish answers to a few questions:

  1. Mission – Why does your organization exist? What is the group going to do and why? Mission statements are action-oriented and broadly address how your organization will go about accomplishing a goal or filling a need.
  2. Vision – What do we aspire to be? Ideally this question captures the ideal vision of the organization; it is short, broad, inspiring, and easy to communicate.
  3. Values – What do we believe in? Create a clear, concise, and impactful statement of the organization’s priorities and commitments.

How do we get started?

Map everything out – Determine what questions to ask and to whom to go for answers. Form an overview or summary of what the organization looks like both externally and internally at the present moment.

Information gathering – Form some focus groups and consult with key stakeholders, board members, and staff to ask them what their top priorities are. Perform a SWOT analysis – strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats.

Where do we go from here?

Determine strategic priorities – Ask the question – what does success look like for the organization? Most strategic plans cover a 3 to 5 year span, prioritize the ideas that came up during discussions and focus groups, create measurable goals, and create an action plan in order to achieve the goals within the specified time frame. Discuss who needs to do what and when, ensure each person responsible has the resources needed to be successful, and schedule meetings at regular intervals to track progress.

Obviously the above is an abbreviated version of what it takes to form a strategic plan, it takes a lot of planning, organization, and focus to put one together. For a more comprehensive, step-by-step look at creating a plan for your sport organization, check out SIRC’s online Governance 101 resource, which includes a webinar, how to’s, and extra visuals to help you on your way.

References from the SIRC Collection:

Bailey D. Planning for change — the importance of strategic planning for sports regulation. Sports Law Administration & Practice. December 2011;18(6):4-10.

Ferkins L, Shilbury D. Board strategic balance: An emerging sport governance theory. Sport Management Review (Elsevier Science). November 2015;18(4):489-500.

Gebhardt A, Eagles P. Factors leading to the implementation of strategic plans for parks and recreation. Managing Leisure. September 2014;19(5):321-344.

Germain J. Strategic Planning: The Basics. Chronicle Of Kinesiology & Physical Education In Higher Education. May 2013;24(1):27-30.

Kriemadis T, Theakou E. Strategic Planning Models in Public and Non-Profit Sport Organizations. Choregia. December 2007;3(2):27-37.

Wasilewski N, Motamedi K. Insights for Effective Strategic Planning. Competition Forum. August 2007;5(1):229-235.



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