Building Relationships: Operations/Administration


One of the most important things that board members, administrative staff, and coaches can do for any sports club is to build relationships with local community stakeholders, regional and national authorities, and different coaching groups and teams throughout the local and even at the National level. In youth sports, a lot of focus has been brought to coaches building relationships with their athletes and parents, as well as the general club membership, but there is a broader reach when it comes to building relationships that are often overlooked. This is the third article in a three-part series and will focus on how the administration and operations of a youth sports program can build valuable relationships with community stakeholders, club membership, and regional and national authorities.


Overseeing the operations of any sports club is a job in which the right business-minded individual can truly succeed. An operations manager or administrator is tasked with ensuring that operations are both efficient and effective. However, this requires not only understanding a club's overall goals and objectives but using that information to run the club successfully. The skills needed to be a successful operation manager or administrator include the ability to think analytically, communicate effectively, and execute efficiently. There is another aspect to being a successful administrator when it comes to club sports teams, and that is the ability to build relationships with key stakeholders in your club membership, community, and even nationwide.


Non-profit sports clubs have the ability to be supported in a variety of ways by financial donors and sponsors, and the people who work in club administration and operations can play a valuable role in these relationships. People donate in a variety of ways, including their time, effort, and their resources. These resources could be money, but they also could be things like their expertise on a project, certain contacts that they may know and have relationships with, or even an exchange of business goods or services. For example, many clubs use things like silent auctions to raise funds for the needed experiences of running a sports club. Many of the donations, if not all of them, come from people connected to the club or at least the mission of the club in some way or another. The administrator of the club has the unique ability to know the membership of the team and keep a pulse on how people may be willing to contribute or who they know that could benefit from a partnership with the team.


Another key role for the administrator or operations staff of a youth sports club is managing the communications of the team. This comes in many different forms, from emails and updates to the club all the way to communicate with coaches and even board members. In any sports club, the person who communicated most regularly with all the leaders in the club is likely the administrator. On top of that, they are also the person who is communicating most frequently with the general membership. Because they have the ability and the resources to communicate with everyone, they are often the glue that holds everyone together. This includes the ins and outs of running the club, but also the relationships among the leadership and even the general membership of the club.


Internally, the goal of the administration and operational staff is to help the team work together when it comes to relationships and communication, however, there is an external component as well. The administration staff is usually responsible for the communication and execution between the team accountant and treasurer. For smaller teams, the Treasurer maybe someone on the Board who is serving in this role. For a larger team, they may have a Board Treasurer and an accountant as well. The club administrator is responsible for all of these relationships and making sure that they communicate with each other and with the general operations of the club. Furthermore, the club administrator is in charge of the relationships with the outside governing bodies, such as USA Field Hockey, USA Swimming, or even more regionally, Virginia Swimming. The admin has the ability to communicate and gather information from these important organizations, and then feed it to the correct people in the organization that need the information.


The administrative staff and operations of a youth sports program can build valuable relationships with community stakeholders, club membership, and regional and national authorities. As the person or the staff who communicates with the most people associated with the club, they can often be the glue that holds all of the moving parts together both internally and externally, leading to a strong, well-managed sports club.