How to write an Inclusion Commitment Statement

What is an Inclusion Commitment Statement?

An inclusion commitment statement is a public record that expresses the club’s dedication to making sure its membership reflects the diversity of its local community. You might also come across the phrases ‘inclusion statement of commitment’, ‘equity and inclusion statement’, ‘diversity and inclusion statement’ or something similar. A club’s inclusion commitment statement could be large and very detailed with reference to discrimination legislation and polices or it could be much simpler. Whatever you call it and however detailed it is the core purpose is the same, to show that the club values diversity and is committed to taking steps towards inclusion.

Why should my club have an Inclusion Commitment Statement?

There are many reasons why a club should have an inclusion commitment statement. Here’s a handful I think are important to consider:

  • It provides an important reference point for current and prospective members, telling them that the club is a welcoming, accessible and safe place regardless of background or circumstance.
  • It’s an important reminder for members, volunteers and club administrators. It helps keep everyone in the club accountable.
  • It makes the club more attractive to people who may face discrimination, barriers or disadvantage in other parts of their lives or who have done in the past.
  • It makes the club more attractive to community organisations and sponsors who have similar values. These organisations may then play an important role in supporting the club to achieve its inclusion goals.
  • Your state or national sport body may have its own policies and objectives for inclusion and diversity and by implementing an inclusion commitment statement the club may become more aligned to the state and national direction.
  • Clubs with an inclusion commitment statement may be more attractive to funding and grant agencies, increasing the opportunity to bring investment into the club.

What should I include in my club’s Inclusion Commitment Statement?

As we have discussed your club’s commitment statement could be super detailed or not. So, it’s important to firstly understand the context of your club and ensure the statement reflects this. For example, a small community-based volunteer run club could have a simple statement setting out a few key commitments. While a large semi-professional or professional club with employees and players on contract may need something far more robust that addresses legislation and other policy aspects.

If you need guidance in relation to policy I recommend you get in touch with your National Sports Organisation or the relevant national government agency responsible for sport policy and governance. Next, I’ll provide some of the general things a basic statement should include. Before I get into that, the first and most important thing to consider is that this is something the whole club community needs to get behind. This means you need to incorporate the views and ideas from members, the club committee or board and any community organisations your club is partnered with.

For inclusion to happen in the club everyone needs to take responsibility and ownership. At the end of the day a statement means nothing if people are not willing to take action. Here’s what should be covered in your club’s inclusion commitment statement.

Define what inclusion means

You should lead with a general statement of commitment that also defines your understanding of inclusion. So you need to discuss this with the key decision makers in your club and members. Then decide what inclusion means to your club and put that into words. You can also refer to your clubs core values and how inclusion relates to these values.

Lay out your key commitments

This might include your commitment to implementing or upholding policies that relate to inclusion and diversity. These policies might be ones your club has in place or they may be ones your state or national sporting organisation has in place, it may also include relevant state or federal legislation.

Define what you are seeking to include

You may wish to be specific about the types of people your commitment to inclusion will affect. For example, stating that the club is committed to providing a safe and welcoming place for people of all ages, abilities, genders, cultural, ethnic or religious backgrounds or socio-economic status.

Perhaps you have identified a specific issue in your community and wish to highlight your efforts to address it. For example, if you live in an area with a large migrant or refugee population or are in an area where low income is real barrier.

Define how you will go about things

You should include some words about the types of things you will do to ensure your clubs commitment is put into action. For example, will you commit to adapting and modifying your activities and provide a range of participation options to suit individual needs and goals? Will you ensure club members are made aware of inclusion issues and how to address them? Will you involve the wider community in your endeavours?

Show that you are part off the bigger picture

Inclusion is a societal issue and no one person or one club should go it alone. So, you could address this in your statement by acknowledging your club’s role as a community organisation and your willingness to work with and lead your local community.

How should I promote my club’s Inclusion Commitment Statement?

Once you have written your inclusion commitment statement and your members and key decision makers in the club are all on board, it’s time to tell the world! At the top of this post I said, “An inclusion commitment statement is a public record that expresses the club’s dedication to making sure its membership reflects the diversity of its local community.” Making your commitment public is important. Why? Because A. it ensures everyone knows about your commitment and B. it helps keep the club accountable – once the commitment is public the club needs to live up to that commitment.

Here’s some easy ways to make it public:

  • Post it to your club’s website, ideally as a page and if you like as a downloadable document – this helps people find you if they are searching on google etc.
  • Send out a media release to your local news outlets and to your state and national sport organisations.
  • Make a public announcement at your club’s next match/competition day – you could invite local community groups to be there.
  • Share it via your club’s social media channels, you should do this regularly to remind everyone about the club’s commitment.
  • Email your club’s members, sponsors, community partners and local council to let them know.
  • Research local community organisations that represent diverse groups in your community, then send them an email to let them know – this may open the door to some new partnerships and prospective members.
  • Post hard copies up around your club’s venue, on notice boards and in change rooms – this way there will be a constant reminder around the club for your members and any visiting teams – plus if you use a public venue like an aquatic, multi-sport or recreation centre this will give you greater exposure to prospective members too!

Next steps

Now it’s time to take action!

  • Download the template at the end of the original post here then set up a time to discuss this with your club committee and members.
  • Write your club’s inclusion commitment statement.
  • Post a link to your completed inclusion commitment statement in the comments of the original post here.
  • If you know of a great example or have any questions post in the comments too.

Michael Woods (Founding Director - Inclusive Sport Design)

Post originally published by Michael Woods at www.inclusivesportdesign.com.