Starting a new club can seem like a daunting task. But with a bit of guidance and information, it can be an exciting and rewarding opportunity to start something new or grow your sport.
Clubs don't need to be incorporated but it is highly recommended.
Incorporation provides protection to individual members in certain situations and gives your organisation the right to sign contracts, lease premises, operate bank accounts, receive grant monies from government and so on. In today’s sporting climate, it is considered very good practice.
For information on how to become a formal and incorporated club visit the Department of Mines, Industry Regulation and Safety's Inc: A Guide for Incorporated Associations in Western Australia
When a group incorporates, it becomes a separate legal entity which is able to do things in its own name.
Incorporating under the Associations Incorporations Act 2015 provides:
The main benefits of incorporation are that the group has ‘limited
liability’. Debts and legal proceedings in most cases will be limited to
the assets held by the club. This protects individuals from the club
(i.e. committee members) from being personally liable if something goes
wrong. There are exceptions in the case that a person on the committee
acts improperly or unlawfully, then they will not be protected.
For additional protection, it is recommended that organisations
undertake Directors and Officers Liability Insurance (or Professional
Indemnity Insurance) to protect committee members from being personally
liable for decisions made.
In simple terms, incorporated associations under the Associations Incorporations Act 2015 are required to:
If your club or association chooses to remain unincorporated, it is
important to understand that the club will not have its own legal status
and office bearers (i.e. committee members) are at risk of being
personally liable for any debts or legal costs incurred.
The club or association would be ineligible to; apply for government
grants, enter into contracts, own/lease property and bring legal action
in the group’s name.
It is recommended that unincorporated clubs develop a set of rules,
similar to a constitution, that assists with decision making and
governing the club. Such rules should be reviewed annually reflecting
any growth or change in purpose.
Booklet 12 of this series Establishing your club rules and becoming incorporated provides a step-by-step guide to establishing a set of rules.
Two simple rules:
You need to put a committee into place to run the club. Remember that
small committees tend to be more effective so that all members can play
a part in decision-making.
Clubs usually have:
Work out the main areas of responsibility (e.g. fundraising, social
etc) then determine the size of the committee required. Recruit a
qualified member for special projects as they arise, and try to avoid
having people on a committee just to make up numbers.
The treasurer does not need to be an accountant. Small club accounts
are not complicated, but an effective system right at the start is
Ask someone who knows how to set up a simple bookkeeping system to
write down the steps for reference. There are many different and easy to
use software packages for clubs to use for effective financial
management. Be sure to use one.
Clubs can use very simple hand kept records of who belongs to the
club, their contact details and details regarding their financial
status. It is wise to use a computer to keep records as it’s more
efficient and effective.
It is recommended that initial registrations be done face to face
(e.g. registration day) and after that, if at all possible, managed
online to include the payment of fees by bank transfer. This is the most
simple and effective method.
Sponsors can cover all or some of the activities of the club, in a
general or event-specific way. Firstly, ask your club if sponsors are
If yes, be sure to prepare a proposal for any potential sponsor that
clearly states what the club will do and at what cost for a sponsor.
Then make sure you deliver all that has been promised in any sponsorship
deal. Non-delivery will destroy a sponsorship arrangement and future
It is worth remembering that if you secure sponsor’s funds or goods
that it is going to cost you time and effort to make the support
It is usually better to get your club running efficiently and find sponsors only for specific projects when required.
There are a variety of grants available to community sport and recreation clubs. Your local government and/or Healthway may have grant schemes that you can access.
Clubs don't need a post office box for mail but it is recommended. If the club is incorporated it is required to have an official address and must inform the Commissioner for Consumer Protection of this address. The club must notify the commissioner of a change of address within 28 days of it occurring.
It is highly advisable to contact your local government because:
Your local government may also have services within their operations such as Club Development Officers
and recreation officers that can assist.
The department has regional officers with expertise in the delivery of sport
and recreation including various aspects of running clubs/groups, junior sport, seniors, Aboriginal sport, coaching, officiating and volunteers that can help. Do not hesitate contacting your local department office.
This resource is part of series providing assistance to Western Australian sport and recreation clubs and organisations to become better managed, more sustainable and to provide good quality services to members and participants.
Other resources in the series include:
Do not submit enquiries with this form.