Acknowledge people for their contributions to club and culture. Acknowledgement gives us a sense of validation and belonging. The club acknowledging us makes us feel connected to it, more invested in it, and like we want to work harder for it.

We’ll be more likely to keep contributing positively, others will see the reward and decide to get on board.

Through the grapevine, people catch wind that at this club, people are recognised for their contributions and they feel valued. Membership and your volunteer pool swell.

Recognising people for actioning club values and helping to improve club culture, is in itself, an act that helps to improve club culture. Giving credit where credit is due is vital to morale, and to looking after your people. It’s a win-win.

  • Listen and Act on feedback

    People in clubs need to feel confident that they can have their say and know that they’re being heard and respected. Members become frustrated if:

        • they aren’t listened to
        • club officials react defensively
        • constructive feedback isn’t acted upon

    Sometimes clubs don’t even bother to provide decent feedback mechanisms. Some people think it’s okay to air their opinions in aggressive and destructive ways, which doesn’t help either.

    A club aspiring to be a place of respect, safety, fun, fairness and success will make sure that it has good processes for hearing what it’s supporters and members have to say. These clubs act on feedback in ways which are transparent and meaningful. They see listening to their members as opportunities for growth.

    Step 1 – Create opportunities for people to give their feedback


        • Ask some members and supporters during a game their opinion on aspects of the club.
        • Put an anonymous suggestion box in the clubrooms.
        • Think about nominating a member of your committee who might take this on as one of their roles.


        • Have a clear and well-publicised process in place that allows people to bring that issue to the club in a constructive and safe manner.
        • When new people come to the club, make sure they’re aware that the club values their opinions and point to the processes the club has in place for giving feedback.

    If your club has the capacity, nominate someone who you feel people in and around the club would feel comfortable talking with.
    Their role would be:

        • Acting as another point of contact for members to provide valuable feedback
        • Helping people deal with issues as they arise
        • Helping with members’ well-being and club culture generally
        • Helping the committee devise and enact solutions that are relevant and practical to members.

    Most people don’t talk just to listen to their own voice. People want to connect. By all means, be discerning, but trust people when they’re talking about their own feelings and experiences.


    Step 2 – Act on it

    When someone listens and acts constructively on the feedback, everyone wins. It could be as simple as:

        • Saying to someone that you will take the matter up with the committee
        • Doing so
        • Then reporting back the outcome.
        • If the outcome is a reasonable response to the feedback, it will usually be accepted in good faith.


    Step 3 – Point people in the right direction

    Direct people to the most appropriate person to talk to if it isn’t yourself. This ties in with the need to have known processes in place for people around the club to give feedback.

  • Become a destination club

    Clubs which prioritise creating respectful culture also are more likely to achieve the on-field success sought by every club. Why?

    They become a ‘destination club’; a place well known for connection, belonging, collaboration, safety, enjoyment and respect.  One where people, including high-quality players, coaches, and volunteers, want to be. To translate this idea of success into reality:

    Step 1 – Identify and articulate your club’s measures of success

    Make sure that they sit comfortably with your club’s mission and values.

    Step 2 – Promote them

        • At the beginning and end of each season.
        • To new coaches and officials, volunteers, players and their families.
        • At your annual club event(s).

    Step 3 – Celebrate and reward success

    When members achieve success, individually or as teams, celebrate and reward them!

        • Have weekly awards for performances that align with your success criteria.
        • Monitor for milestones (length of membership, length of volunteer service, number of new members).
        • Celebrate these awards and their recipients across all of your platforms; on noticeboards, in newsletters, and on your social media.
  • A club-wide commitment

    Everyone connected to the club needs to commit to creating and maintaining a deep culture of respect, through ongoing positive action.

    Reminders as to why the commitment that we made is so important, serve us well in keeping going with it.

    Club Respect Pledge

    A pledge is a simple and powerful tool that binds each person to the club and one another. Everyone connected to the club gets to make the pledge, no matter who they are or what they do around the club. 

    Club Wide Positive Behaviour Matrix

    A matrix helps you to identify, communicate and maintain the positive behaviours that are expected in specific areas of your club. 


    A storyboard expresses members ideas about the club’s direction; the journey so far and the future that lay ahead. 

    It’s a way to visualise your story. As such, it needs to align with your core mission and club values, and revolve around the pledge.

    Make sure that creating and adding to the storyboard is an ongoing, collaborative thing. Encourage everyone connected to the club to contribute to it if they wish to.

    Annual Club Event

    Hold at least one event (at the start of the season) to:

        • Create a sense of belonging
        • Reinforce the expectations that the club has around a respectful culture and behaviours
        • Acknowledge the valuable roles played by everyone at the club
        • Reflect upon the experiences of success across the club in building that positive culture.
  • Awards ideas

    There are so many achievements for clubs to celebrate that extend beyond simply winning the game. Do an audit of all the activities in the club that could be celebrated, and how they could be celebrated.

    Awards are always a great place to start. Once you know what areas of success your club wants to recognise, develop simple criteria for selecting the winner(s). Make sure you also decide on a fair, democratic system for choosing winners. Below is a list to help you get the ball rolling.

    They might be weekly, monthly, annually – whatever your club can manage. Just keep in mind that consistency is key.

    General Awards

        • Volunteer contributions to the club, such as; Volunteer of the Week
        • Volunteer of the Year, Junior Volunteer, Awesome Volunteer
        • Efforts made by individuals to enhance the respectful culture of your club
        • On-field Respect Awards
        • Club-wide Achievement Awards – 10 years of service etc
        • Coaches awards to players – Most Improved, Best Team Player
        • Awards for team achievement
        • Award for Awesome Coaching
        • Award for Awesome Supporter
        • Award for Awesome Parent
        • Award for Awesome Team Manager
        • Community Spirit Award

    Weekly Awards

        • Weekly Respect Award – Player
        • Weekly Respect Award – Coach
        • Weekly Respect Award – Volunteer/Supporter
        • Weekly Club Contribution Award
        • Greatest contribution to team (Player)
        • Greatest effort (Team)
        • Success of the week

    Annual Awards

        • Club Person of Year
        • Volunteer of the Year
        • Club Spirit Award
        • Lifetime Achievement Award