Understanding and engaging with the sporting landscape

The board needs to be aware of the international and domestic sporting worlds and position its organisation appropriately.

It is vital that you think about this principle in relation to the strategic and operational divide. In some organisations it may be appropriate for board members to take more of a lead on actively promoting relationships across the sporting landscape.

In other organisations this will be the role of the executive and the board members will take on strategic oversight and ensure that all relations are being maintained appropriately.

In your organisation it is important you establish the level of engagement your board members are expected to have with other organisations and whether this needs to be something they actively do themselves or something they supervise and challenge others to do.

Practical considerations:

  • Understanding key relationships with other bodies i.e. funding partners, commercial partners etc.
  • Checking and challenging links are maintained with appropriate international governing bodies.
  • Reviewing and directing appropriate links with home countries sports partners and other key stakeholders.
  • Creating a dedicated structure for engaging with athlete associations, participant networks and individual participants and members.
  • Encouraging partnership development with appropriate agencies, for example local authorities, the education sector, the health sector, the commercial sector etc.
  • Defining the relationship between the NGB and the clubs, members and participants and the responsibilities the sport has to each constituent.
  • Understanding the pyramid of sport and the relationship between grassroots and elite level participation.
  • Overseeing and agreeing a vision for sports development that is appropriate for the membership and participants.
  • Establishing an approach for liaising and working with other organisations in partnerships where appropriate.
  • Acting in a socially responsible way. For example, working on participant education, interaction with the local community, respecting the environment, investing in grassroots sport etc.
  • Working with like minded organisations to set similar standards in order to minimise bureaucracy for participants.
  • Ensuring systems are in place to appropriately manage members’ expectations.
  • Ensuring volunteer management is looked after within the organisation.
  • Playing an appropriate role in events to promote the sport and uphold required standards set by other sporting bodies domestically or internationally.
  • Developing the commercial imperatives to ensure sustainable development.










The Volleyball England board took the decision to host a four-day European Board of Administration meeting in London. It was an expensive and exhausting few days but the good will and influence gained has already come to fruition with new appointments to European Commissions from England.

Lisa Wainwright, Chief Executive, Volleyball England






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