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How to become your club’s next President

14 Feb 2024

Today, becoming your club’s next President is really easy. Simply say the words “I might think about becoming President of my club one day”. BOOM – before you know it, you are the President.

The formal process for a club President will be defined in your club rules/constitution. Usually, each year  committee members and office holders of the club are elected at the Annual General Meeting. It is becoming very rare for there to be elections for office holders. But, this is what will happen if two people run for President. Your club rules/constitution may have a nomination process to follow, so the best place to start when thinking about becoming club president is to read the club rules/constitution.

Once you understand the formal process of election, then what you do next depends upon why you have  made the decision to run. Or, it could depend on the situation the club finds itself in that has caused you to put your hand up for President.

The current President is standing aside

This is the most common situation, that the current President has given notice that they will not continue in the role next year. In this situation, the best scenario is for an orderly handover. When you decide to run for President, talk to the current President about the role. It is best that you find out exactly what the role entails and if anybody else has expressed interest in the role.

If nobody else expresses interest in the role, you will still need to be formally appointed at the Annual General Meeting. You can start to work with the current President to get as much information as possible prior to them leaving the role.

The current President wishes to be re-elected

If the current President has decided they wish to continue as President, but you believe you would be a better option, then a really interesting situation can arise. The reality is that both the current President and those seeking election would nominate for the committee and/or the President’s role as per the rules of the club. Then the members would then vote on who the club’s next President will be.

The challenge then becomes the election process. How do you go about getting more votes than the other nominees? Another interesting question often asked is when do we let the current President know of our “challenge”?

Our responses to both these questions is that you are not in politics. Your role is to act in the best interests of the club and its members at all time. So, the less politics the better.

We recommend talking to the existing President as early as possible about any concerns you have. Express your reasons for considering taking over the role. Often, you will be surprised to learn what the President is going through. With a little help and support, the issues can often easily be resolved.

If after this discussion you decide to continue and seek election, then make sure everything you do from this point on is respectful to the club, the members, the current committee and President. Remember after the election, regardless of the result the club needs to come together and continue into the future.

Make sure that in any campaigning you do, that you keep the club in mind. Focus on the future, your vision for the club and how to achieve it. Give the members a clear choice. There is absolutely no need to get personal in the election campaign, it is about vision, not personalities.

Preparing to become the club’s next President

The perfect scenario for a sporting club is when leadership change is planned. If you want to become President of your club, notify the incumbent President of your ambitions. Explain that your goal is to be the next President whenever that may be and use this time to prepare. Ideally, you will join the committee and rotate around the different areas of the club before your time comes to become President. This way, you have well-rounded knowledge of the club and can hit the ground running.
This is succession planning, it is the perfect scenario for the club. Strong and successful clubs develop their club’s next President wherever possible.