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First Step: Club Management Team
What happens in a Club directly impacts safety and security of the athletes; it can either enhance or hurt the experience of the members and the Special Olympics brand overall. Make sure you build a strong management team of volunteers who share the Special Olympics commitment to safety and security of its members and quality of club operations.

Club Management Team Roles

Establish Contact with the National/State Program

  • Ensure the club meets its goals and obligations to the National/State Program.


  • Can existing clubs expand their programming to fulfill these additional needs instead (e.g., an existing club offering additional sports)?
  • Ensure the long-term financial and organizational well-being of the club.

Drive Day-to-Day Operations

  • Secure people and resources to achieve club goals.
  • Plan and implement club activities to achieve its goals.
  • Monitor and evaluate club activities for quality and impact.

Suggested Team Management Structure

The performance of a club is greatly dependent on the performance of its three main club officers—Coordinator, Secretary and Treasurer.

Management Team Roles:


Club Leadership and Governance


Club Administration


Responsibility for club’s financial policies and procedures

Management Team Responsibilities


lead club’s activities and members, oversee finances and ensure good club standing


recruit coaches, support coach registration and education; ensure delivery of high-qualitysport training and competition, secure facilities and equipment; ensure athletes are eligibleto train and compete


recruit, train, assign roles


secure funds for club operations


lead internal & external communication, manage social media
At the early stages of club development team members may need to handle multiple functions. As the club grows, ideally there is a dedicated person for each club management role and function
Your club is only as good as the people who run it. Support the people involved by clearly defining their roles andresponsibilities. The role of the management team is to provide leadership, drive day-to-day operations of the club,and deliver high quality experiences for its members.

Make the time to define

For some people being part of the club management role will be their first volunteer experience. Clearly defined roles & responsibilities are the key. Be specific and keep it simple. It might just be a few bullet points to start with.

Some club roles may be too big for one person to effectively manage, especially as the club grows and expands. Consider splitting a role to make sure the time commitment required doesn’t put people off. This is where a core team helps share the load.

Figure out who

People are busy and could be difficult to recruit committed people into management roles. Athlete family members, including siblings, are great supporters. But think wider. Who else in do you know who has the right skills and experiences to support club operations?Spread the word through your club network and social or traditional media.

Think of the Future: Support & Develop your Team

Clubs should think of the future when it comes to their management team. Succession planning may not seem like a priority, but it takes one change of circumstance, and a club may lose a key volunteer. Does your club have a plan if this happens?

Providing support, positive and rewarding experiences for your core team is also critical for sustainability of the club. Are there any free or low-cost professional development opportunities you can access through National/State Program or by partnering with community organizations?

It’s as simple as 1 – 2 – 3!

It’s not really. That’s why we’ve provided some more ideas in the next pages…

Putting it into practice...

Each club is different and has different needs base on the needs of its members.

Make the time to define


    • Does your club have a clear picture of what roles are needed to serve your members?
    • What are the areas where leaders in your club can make the biggest difference?


    • Clearly define team roles and provide job descriptions
    • Ensure the roles are meaningful
    • Smaller, more manageable roles might be easier to fill
    • The more a role fits individual skills and availability, the more likely they are to stay engaged


    • Create a simple bullet point list of the key areas and roles that a small leadership team could be responsible for.

Figure out who


    • What leaders do you need to recruit into your club?
    • How can your club attract and retain the best people in management roles?


    • Identify leadership gaps.
    • Promote leadership opportunities to recruit new leaders.
    • Assess experience, skills and expertise of volunteers willing to engage in a club.
    • Identify people with the right skillsets and gauge their interest in providing support to the club.


    • Write down your club leadership team structure.
    • Identify if there are gaps and identify potential recruits.

Think of the future: Support and Develop the Team


    • How would your club manage if one or more of the key volunteers had to step away from their role?
    • How does your club support leaders?
    • Are there development opportunities for your club leaders?


    • Provide your management team support to do a great job in their roles.
    • Give your team new responsibilities and learning opportunities to develop new skills.
    • Listen to the team feedback about workload.


    • Make a simple plan on how you will provide leadership support & development.
    • Identify who in the community can help with this.


  • Think about involving athletes in club management roles or create a specific athlete advisor role. Make sure all team members are supported with the right info & help.
  • Have a look at other successful clubs and the roles they have for management team members. Borrow their best ideas!
  • Educate team members about Special Olympics. Meet regularly to plan activities and guide club development.
    Invest the time to make sure everyone is pulling together in the same direction.
  • When forming your management team, consider:
    • Parents, siblings, family members, caregivers of people with ID
    • Special education teachers
    • Community groups or business
    • Successful leaders in your community
  • Many clubs rely on parents for key roles. Have a succession plan ready when these parents no longer have their children involved in the club.
  • Talk to your current leaders—find out why they have committed to the role & their thoughts on getting more leaders.