A club’s success is largely down to the work of its committee, the group of people who manage the club's affairs. The committee exists to serve the club and to ensure that its members receive the best possible service and experiences. To help your committee to be as successful as possible, make sure it follows a structure that works and is made up of a diverse mix of people with the right skills and experience.

If you're a new club

One of the first jobs for a new club is to elect a committee, normally at the first meeting. Electing a committee may sound rather official and off-putting but is actually relatively straightforward.

  • Decide on the right committee structure that meets the needs of your club now and in the future.
  • Think about who are the right people to be on the committee. Who has the right skills and experiences for the committee roles? Ask them to get involved.
  • Try and ensure that people have agreed to put themselves forward for designated roles before the meeting, it can prevent embarrassing silences!
  • Consider the make-up of your club membership. Make sure your committee represents the diversity of your members.
  • Where possible make sure each committee member only has one role so they are not overloaded.

Have a look at the Ilkley Cycling Club Case Study for some inspiration from a club that started off small and has grown into a large, successful cycling club.

At minimum, a committee will normally comprise: 
  • Chair - the person in charge
  • Secretary - deals with administration
  • Treasurer - handles the money
Beyond that your committee structure depends upon your club and it is important to find a structure that will work best for you.
  • Make a list
    • Look at all the tasks and responsibilities your club needs to do to undertake your sport and run the club. There will be a lot! Group these and consider committee roles for the key areas.
  • Divide and conquer
    • Keep your committee manageable and if you need lots of roles, create sub-committees focusing on particular areas. For example you may have a finance sub-committee or a fund raising sub-committee.
Your National Governing Body may have recommended committee structures for your sport.

Once you have a better ideas of how your committee will be structured and the key roles you need, make sure these are clearly outlined with the areas each role will be responsible for.

  • Be open about what the role is, what is expected, and where possible the time commitment expected.
  • Note what skills or experience would be suitable for each role to help identify the right people. Sometimes all you need are enthusiastic and committed people!
  • The role outlines included in our download section are a great starting point which you can use and adapt to suit your club.
The Club Matters support is well aligned to offer support for the different roles. For example, you can recommend that your Treasurer explores our Club Finances section, whereas your Welfare Officer should start looking at Safeguarding and Welfare.

When appointing new committee members, it's important to take their skills and experience into account for the role they're going to take on. You may find that you need to recruit externally, rather than relying on your current volunteer base. You should aim for a diverse committee, as having a variety of viewpoints will push your committee to challenge each other and reach the best decisions for the club as a whole.

  • Use a skills matrix
    • Listing your members’ skills and experience will help you identify your club's strengths fill any gaps when appointing new committee members. Ask people when they join what their skills are and what they enjoy doing or survey your existing members to find this out.
  • Development
    • Consider what training or support volunteers will need to improve or maintain their skills and experience or boost confidence. Use the Club Matters workshops, online modules and toolkits to help out.
  • Diversity
    • If all your committee members share the same demographic profile (for example, are all the same age, gender, race and so forth) they are more likely to have common viewpoints and not be reflective of your club in its entirety. It may discourage members in the club who don't fit that profile from feeling like the club is inclusive or that their opinions are being considered at a committee level. Having a variety of backgrounds and viewpoints pushes the committee and creates a more sustainable club for the future.

To follow good governance practices, at least three of your club's committee members should be independent, which in this case means not related or living together. This reduces the risk of decisions being made or swayed by a group that has a common interest that doesn't necessarily reflect the club's best interests.

It's good practice for you committee members to declare any potential conflicts of interest which might affect their role. To find out more about what a conflict of interest is and how your committee can recognise, record and manage any that arise, visit our Conflicts of Interest page.

Keep it fresh

Your club should be regularly electing new committee members, or at least asking existing members to stand for re-election, as an opportunity to develop or bring in new skills, experiences and perspectives. Although there is no mandatory requirement, it's advisable that committee members serve no more than 9 years in total.

New committee members are typically elected at your club's Annual General Meeting (AGM). Remember to refer to your constitution as there should be rules in place around the recruitment of officers. For example, make sure you know whether nominations for new committee members have to be taken in advance or if you can take them at the meeting (most AGMs require a proposer and a seconder for each nomination).

You might also look for new committee members if:

  • Some of your committee members have left or are intending to leave
  • Your committee needs further skills and experience, eg. in areas such as governance, finance or marketing
  • You generally feel that your committee needs reinvigorating

When appointing new committee members, you should make sure that you take skills and diversity into consideration.

Check out our Effective Meetings page for an overview of the key types of meeting your committee will hold and how to run these effectively and successfully.

Last modified: Friday, 24 September 2021, 10:00 AM