Community Conversation 3/07/2023: Development Plans Debrief 

This month’s community conversation focused on development plans. During the conversation we discussed the purpose of developments and explored how different clubs use their development plans. A number of clubs offered to share their development plans so we could see a wide range of approaches and potentially take some inspiration from other clubs. 

To kick the conversation off we started off by discussing the purpose of development plans. From the conversation we identified the key purposes of a development plan include to:

  • Provide direction for the clubs growth and development
  • Help to set and achieve goals and objectives 
  • Enhance the clubs ability to attract funding or sponsorship 
  • Enable the identification of clubs strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats (SWOT analysis) 
  • Support strategic decision making based on the long term vision for the club  
  • Provide a framework for everyone in the club to work to 
  • Can be used to assign specific actions to members
  • Help with resource allocation and financial planning. 

Clubs then shared their development plans so we could see how clubs use their development plans and take inspiration from others. 

Firstly, Forth Valley Orienteers presented their development plan. Key points from plan:

  • 4 year plan (2021-2024)
  • Colour coding for achieved/ underway/ not started
  • Club Lead identified
  • Structure inspired by another club (MAROC). There is no need to reinvent the wheel with development plans each time. It is a good idea to find a development plan from another club and adapt the structure and content to suit your own club. 

FVO Juniors at the Jamie Stevenson Trophy

Moravain shared their development plan. Key takeaways included: 

  • 5 year plan (2022-2027)
  • Success criteria defining what a successful outcome would be 
  • Assigns lead for actions 

For smaller clubs we shared Tay and ECKOs development plans. 

Key points for Tay’s development plan:

  • Described as a priority plan instead of a development plan
  • A 1 year priority plan
  • Members assigned to actions 
  • Club have found it useful for staying on track 

Key points for ECKOs development plan:

  • 2-3 year plan 
  • Instead of being formatted as grid with boxes the plan is made of simple headings and associated targets priorities underneath
  • Combined with SWOT analysis 
  • Revisited every 6 months

It is interesting to see the difference in development plans between clubs. Different plans work better for different clubs. 

At the end of the session, we engaged in an open discussion regarding development plans and gained insights from other clubs on the call. BASOC shared their experience of conducting a skills audit among their members as a precursor to building their development plan. This approach allowed them to identify the existing skill set within the club and determine how these skills could be harnessed to further enhance the club’s growth.

The conversation then shifted to discussing whether development plans should be treated as strategic documents or as living documents that require more frequent reviews. The consensus among the group leaned towards perceiving them as living documents. It was widely acknowledged that development plans should be dynamic and adaptable, with periodic evaluations and updates. This ensures that they remain relevant and responsive to evolving needs of the club. 

We also discussed whether elements should be costed out in the document so the club can plan its finances against priorities. A number of clubs have development officers so funding for this is key in planning ahead though it was recognised that a development officer doesn’t solve all the problems. 

It was noted that assigning a named person to an area flags up gaps and issues if one person leaves who has a lot of experience. This tied into how clubs tend to have two main focuses for the development plan – one around recruiting new members and the other about consolidating and sustaining the membership they have.

Thanks to all the clubs who participated and also were happy to share their plans. We will share some of this to the club toolkit