Risk Registry

The Canadian Sport Risk Registry contains a number of common risks and is updated following each Risk Management Workshop. The risks and solutions are presented generically and anonymously, to provide insight for sport leaders to think differently about the risks that are ‘keeping them up at night’.

Challenges to compliance

The Risk:

Inadequate staff capacity or expertise to ensure that organization is compliant with all requirements.

Solutions:
  • Consult with like organizations to determine how they maintain compliance.
  • Seek board members with subject expertise.

Lack of financial stability

The Risk:

Cash flow difficulties and inadequate resources result in board and staff time being spent managing short-term financial problems, versus working towards long-term solutions and more important objectives.

Solutions:
  • Establish a credit line to bridge short-term financial needs. 
  • Budget conservatively at all times. 
  •  Establish strong internal financial controls. 
  • Institute an audit committee and give it the expertise and authority it requires to oversee finances effectively. 
  • Develop an investment strategy to ensure maximum leveraging of existing assets. 
  • Review staffing structures to ensure optimal use of human resources. 
  • Recruit board members with financial experience. 
  • Pursue alternative funding sources through fundraising, merchandising, marketing, corporate sponsorship, alumni giving, crowdsourcing or IP leveraging. 
  • Look for financial savings through collaborative or cost-shared programs such as insurance. 
  • Explore staff secondment opportunities through corporate partners. 
  • Clearly articulate and communicate member benefits to boost membership. 
  • Look at potential membership areas currently not tapped, and alternative partners (industry, municipalities, schools). 
  • Review strategic plan to determine if it is aligned with current reality – may need to change expectations and performance objectives.
  • Review programs / services and eliminate those that provide little value to members. 
  • Establish an appropriatea small surplus and reserve fund. 
  • Undergo a brand strategy development process to better align with potential partners / funders. 
  • Consider Club Excellence Program participation for access to financial management audit and review 
  • Apply an ethical code of standards to accounting and fundraising practices.

Lack of inclusion

The Risk:

Risk that all who want to participate in a sport activity do not feel safe or welcome.

Solutions:
  • Develop and implement policies for gender (e.g., girls on boys’ teams), transgender, and LGBTQ2S inclusion.
  • Connect with CAAWS to see what resources could be used to educate coaches and athletes on this issue.
  • Explore a campaign to sensitize coaches about the power of language and acceptable conduct.
  • Have effective code of conduct in place, and ability to implement disciplinary measures in a professional manner.
  • Be clear that the organization does not discriminate and welcomes of diversity.
  • Explore funding opportunities for athletes with financial challenges.

Lack of inclusion

The Risk:

Risk that all who want to participate in a sport activity do not feel safe or welcome.

Solutions:
  • Develop and implement policies for gender (e.g., girls on boys’ teams), transgender, and LGBTQ2S inclusion.
  • Connect with CAAWS to see what resources could be used to educate coaches and athletes on this issue.
  • Explore a campaign to sensitize coaches about the power of language and acceptable conduct.
  • Have effective code of conduct in place, and ability to implement disciplinary measures in a professional manner.
  • Be clear that the organization does not discriminate and welcomes of diversity.
  • Explore funding opportunities for athletes with financial challenges.

Lack of internal processes

The Risk:

Operational procedures are not fully developed, consistent or do not meet minimum legal requirements.

Solutions:
  • Schedule a regular review of all internal processes.
  • Create a task force with assistance from an external consultant.
  • Create a staff Standard Operating Procedures (SOP) manual.
  • Develop a protocol and policy to manage intellectual property.
  • Integrate Imagine Canada standards.
  • Conduct risk assessment when stepping outside standard operations or procedures.
  • Use organizational values when making decisions.
  • Create clear job descriptions and organizational chart to ensure confidence.
  • Perform cost benefit analysis between hiring and re-organizing.
  • Ensure all organizational information is secure and is regularly backed-up.
  • Host regular all-staff meetings to share updates and answer questions.
  • Have access to passwords in case of emergency.
  • Have an elected staff member as a representative for compliance regulations.

Lack of sport participation

The Risk:

Risk of sport not being included in major games due to lack of influence / knowledge on selection criteria, capacity to develop the sport and increase participation.

Solutions:
  • Educate membership on selection criteria for major games.
  • Make changes to strategic plans which align with provincial selection criteria.
  • Look for diversified funding and partnership / collaborative opportunities.
  • Work collaboratively with membership in building tools and activities for development. 
  • Strike committees to plan and evaluate high-performance path, drawing on previous experience.
  • Aim to develop high-performance talent outside of traditional talent pool areas.
  • Provide coach development and mentoring opportunities.

Lack of strategic planning

The Risk:

Failure to use strategic plan to its full advantage.

Solutions:
  • Develop a communications plan for board of directors and general membership.
  • Integrate priority strategic items into operations plan.
  • Use strategic plan as a guide when assessing the feasibility of new projects.
  • Undertake regular environmental scan to monitor and plan for risk.

Managing competing priorities

The Risk:

Not being able to determine or decide which projects or programs to prioritize, and which to decline or discontinue.

Solutions:
  • Use part-time staff, temporary staff, or contractors when appropriate.
  • Explore partnership opportunities with PTSOs to complete projects.
  • Invest only in programs that further the organization’s mission and vision.
  • Review strategic plan to reconcile which current priorities are

Managing competing priorities

The Risk:

Not being able to determine or decide which projects or programs to prioritize, and which to decline or discontinue.

Solutions:
  • Use part-time staff, temporary staff, or contractors when appropriate.
  • Explore partnership opportunities with PTSOs to complete projects.
  • Invest only in programs that further the organization’s mission and vision.
  • Review strategic plan to reconcile which current priorities are

Managing stakeholder expectations

The Risk:

Risk that services delivered to stakeholders will not be up to standard.

Solutions:
  • Adjust the size of deliverables to reflect current capacity to deliver.
  • Be sure to match the budget to the deliverables.
  • Clarify stakeholder expectations by communicating clear standards of delivery.
  • Hold a stakeholder consultation or outreach through survey or interview to build understanding and shared outcomes.

Poor alignment between NSO and PTSO

The Risk:

Poor alignment of system resulted in disjointed planning, and confusion as to roles and responsibilities of NSO versus PSO in the sport delivery system.

Solutions:
  • Create customized Memoranda of Understanding (MOUs) with PTSOs. 
  • Encourage all PTSOs to align strategic plans with pillars of Canadian Sport Policy. 
  • Convene meetings of NSO and PTSOs to better coordinate planning efforts. 
  • Ensure clear terms of reference for all committees. 
  • Examine best practices of other NSOs to determine what works well to improve alignment of planning.
  • Collaborate with PTSOs on items that may or may not affect them.
  • Develop an issue specific communications plan.
  • During times of change, set realistic benchmarks with clearly communicated timelines.
  • For larger changes that affect all members, strike small committees involving PTSOs to ensure buy in and to assist with any transition issues.
  • Have regular scheduled meetings with PTSO EDs.
  • Offer PTSOs a workshop on policy management that encourages alignment with NSO policies.
  • Include PTSOs in NSO strategic plan development as a means to develop a sense of PTSO ownership and involvement.
  • Clearly define the roles of NSO, PTSO and other sport organizations to avoid duplication of efforts and jurisdictional conflicts.

Reliance on Government Funding /OTP

The Risk:

Reliance on government funding that is tied to high performance results, and risk that this funding will not be stable or secure in the long term (political realities).

Solutions:
  • Refine and deliver a uniform development program such as RunJumpThrow, BlastOff, CanBike, Mini Ball) that can be launched nationally to build participation, member numbers, sponsor interest. 
  • Actively participate in Sport Matters Group (and if a team sport, in the Canadian Team Sport Coalition). 
  • Pursue alumni development strategies. 
  •  Pursue fundraising strategies.
  • Investigate improved investment strategies for reserve/foundation funds. 
  • Perform intellectual property audit and consider opportunities for exploiting these assets more effectively. 
  • Pursue new membership groups and new private partners.
  • Hire an expert to help identify possible revenue streams.
  • Undergo a brand strategy development process to better align with potential partners / funders.
  • Frame strategic plan against Canadian Sport Policy goals.
  • Work collectively with PTSO's to secure a "sport" sponsor.
  • Re-align business expectations with industry standards, through Imagine Canada standards.
  • Have the right staff in place to ensure top recruitment and performance.
  • Encourage athletes to pursue individual sponsorships.
  • Invest only in programs that further the organization’s mission and vision.
  • Explore using crowd-funding programs.
  • Seek in-kind donations to complement financial contributions.
  • Develop relationship management plans with sponsors as a means to maintain and extend relationships.
  • Seek multi-year sponsorship contracts.
  • Research options for foundation and private donations or grants.
  • Improve quality of project descriptions and reporting as a means to support funding and funding maintenance requests.
  • Promote the successes of athletes at high-profile events to attract sponsors.
  • Contract a marketing specialist to assist with fundraising efforts.

Risk of athlete injury

The Risk:

Risk that an athlete injury will end their career or have long-lasting effects.

Solutions:
  • Educate athletes and coaches about preventative measures to reduce likelihood of injury.
  • Be a champion for research and safety developments for injuries predominant in your sport.
  • Consult with other sports who deal with similar types of injuries.

Risk of not meeting SFAF requirements

The Risk:

Risk of not meeting SFAF requirements, which would affect funding.

Solutions
  • Participate in Imagine Canada's accountability standards program.

Risks to sport membership

The Risk:

Risk that current membership model is not appropriate.

Solutions:
  • Use a committee or poll current members on various membership structures and options.
  • For membership fees, develop a formula that is customized to member needs.
  • Where low membership is a threat to funding, consider a national database or other membership tracking system.
  • Communicate the consequences of low registration to membership.
  • Provide education on the benefits of registration, such as club support, access to coaching, insurance, and event planning.
  • Consider recruitment strategies.
  • Explore possible explanations for declining membership. May need to work with PTSOs or regions to find solutions.
  • Identify problematic regions and develop a strategy to invigorate sport participation.
  • Develop an outreach program that PTSOs can use to attract members.

Sport lacks strong international profile

The Risk:

That the sport lacks a strong profile and reputation within the international community, which inhibits competitive invitations, hosting opportunities, international funding and decision-making influence.

Solutions:
  • Undertake deliberate succession planning for international appointments.
  • Target and develop emerging leaders, and support them in their leadership aspirations. 
  • Fully fund all international delegates, and institute reporting requirements in exchange for funding. 
  • Pursue development of a hosting strategy, in conjunction with sport tourism interests. 
  • Collaborate with USA counterpart to enhance North American hosting opportunities. 
  • Support international representatives in creating a communications network/web site portal to improve communication and information sharing among them. 
  • Facility development strategy – focus on sustaining a small number of highest quality facilities in Canada, to assist in hosting efforts.
  • Educate members on opportunities available as an international federation supporter.

Weak communications

The Risk:

That internal and external communications are ineffective and do not support the effectiveness of the NSO.

Solutions:
  • Hold a full staff retreat annually (at minimum).
  • Increase the frequency of management staff meetings. 
  • Have all national coaches meet face-to-face twice per year to improve communication and information sharing. 
  • Prepare a communications plan - if required, adapt for different stakeholders / partners, and various media. 
  • Pursue a social media strategy – outsource for expertise. 
  • Do regular telephone calls with PTSO leaders, to keep them updated. 
  • Prepare minutes of all meetings (e.g. Board, Committees) quickly and post on the web site. 
  • Do member satisfaction surveys on a regular basis using technology like Survey Monkey. 
  • Provide orientation materials to all new committee volunteers. 
  • Use web site intranet to improve internal communications. 
  • Consider conducting committee and Board business more regularly on Skype.  
  • Issue regular communiqués to the membership – electronic newsletter or email blast. 
  • Plan communications activities around upcoming hosted events.
  • Centralized member database to target consistent messaging to appropriate demographic.
  • Include high profile athletes in communications strategy.
  • Provide media training for relevant volunteers / staff / athletes.
  • For events involving multiple parties, create a multi-party agreement (with guidelines) on communication protocol
  • Cost share with PTSO's or other NSO's for translation services.
  • Have a board member spokesperson.
  • Develop clear stakeholder communications so their expectations are aligned with the organization’s mission.
  • Develop orientation programs for all relevant scenarios including pre-Games, employment, coaches, etc. Consider using e-learning tools.
  • Ensure branding is consistent across platforms and levels.
  • Find opportunities to piggyback on events as a means to increase profile.
  • Capitalize on resources for athletes provided by third parties.

Weak governance and board operations

The Risk:

The risk of a weak governance structure at the board level.

Solutions:
  • Create a formalized process of board member training and evaluation.
  • Review sub-board committee structure to ensure alignment to strategic plan.
  • Identify a process of board selection that reflects the organization's vision, mission and values.
  • Identify possible leaders with targeted skills and expertise for board members.
  • Undertake regular environmental scan or SWOT analysis (Strength/Weakness/Opportunity/Threat) to monitor and plan for risk.
  • Create a governance manual which outlines current policies and procedures, as well as relevant job descriptions which carry executive authority.
  • Develop a succession plan for board, senior staff and key volunteers.
  • Develop a communications plan to clearly show how the board makes decisions.
  • Use organizational core values to enhance decision making (Management by Values approach).

Weak organizational structure

The Risk:

Organization is not structured to optimize resource use and stakeholder services.

Solutions:
  • Review and update policies and procedures with regularity.
  • Strike staff or board committee, or sub-committee, to provide guidance and research current structure recommendations.
  • Publish current policies to ensure stakeholders have access.
  • Procure expertise (e.g., legal) to ensure updated policies are aligned.
  • Consider Club Excellence program.
  • Establish a set of corporate values and guidance principles.
  • Examine the actions of the international federation for successes and challenges.
  • Ensure athlete opinions and concerns are considered in decision making and strategic planning.