Skip to content
A man runs with a rugby ball across a green pitch, with others in keen pursuit - it's a fast and furious game

Tackling emergencies

You may think you're prepared for the future. But in an emergency, would you drop the ball?

If something unexpected happens, you'll need to do some emergency financial planning.

Here's how you can do it...

How to create an emergency plan

Create a planning team 
Try to pull together a small team to work on this with you. Enlist the help of those who know the finances best, and work together as much as possible to check and challenge each other’s thinking and assumptions.

It's also advisable to put an action plan in place, to ensure you can meet your financial obligations.  
Assess risk
Conduct a risk assessment to help you consider any risks, issues, and actions to mitigate them during this period.

Depending on your circumstances, there may be lots of things to consider.

For example, if you need to close temporarily, you’ll need to think about vandalism, attempted theft, water damage, damage due to a lack of maintenance or faulty equipment or installation, data breaches and so on.  
Understand your financial position
You’ll need to understand your expenditure, as well as your income, cash in the bank, and any savings/reserves that you can access.

This will help you to fully calculate your immediate financial position (next three months) and short term (next six months).

It’ll also help you to plan for any shortfalls and consider how you might need to address them.  
Understand your expenditure
Use your existing expenditure forecasts, your most recent accounts, and bank statements (including direct debits) to help you work out how much you spend on a regular basis.

Determine if these costs are essential or non-essential.

Work through each item to determine if you should pay them now, spread the costs over a longer period, stop them, or come to an agreement to defer the payments.

Check to see if there’s any financial support available from the government, your local authority, your national governing body, your bank/lender, Sport England, and other relevant organisations.
Analyse your income streams
For some groups, membership fees/subs and fundraisers are the main source of income.

Others may receive regular donations, generate additional income through Gift Aid or kit sales, and attract financial support via sponsorship or grant funding.

Some will generate income through commercial activities, facility hire charges, training courses, parties, annual dinners, holiday schemes and much more.

In an emergency, consider how your income will be impacted. Work out your expected income over a three and six month period.

If you have an income forecast already for the year, this may be a useful starting point.

You might also want to look at last year’s accounts, your bank statements, booking data and any other sources.

Determine how much of your income is secure (will definitely come in), what is at risk (might still come in, or may reduce), and what will be lost.
Check your insurance policies
Could yours offer any financial support?

Some insurance policies cover for a loss of income, so check yours carefully.

Also check if there's any support packages available from the government, your local authority, your national governing body, your bank/lender, Sport England, funding bodies and other relevant organisations.
Investigate your savings and reserves
Some organisations have cash in the bank which they can access instantly. They may also have some petty cash onsite.

Others may have savings accounts which are earmarked for things like maintenance, repairs, kit, equipment, operating or pension costs (restricted reserves).

Some may have unrestricted reserves for emergencies or unplanned projects.

Understand your organisation’s financial reserves (restricted and unrestricted savings). Find out if there's any relevant notice periods to give your bank/building society to withdraw or move money.

If you've got a reserves policy, then this should be the focus for your planning.

If you need to access your reserves, you may have to amend your constitution/articles or agreed processes. This may require an extraordinary general meeting (EGM).
Review your income vs expenditure
Make sure you have a clear picture of your income vs expenditure and any savings, insurance or other financial support.

Then think about your immediate and short-term future. Consider any action needed to spend less on non-essentials, and generate extra funds.

Unexpected costs regularly crop up, so include a contingency in your expenditure projections. Or apply a sensitivity analysis to help you plan for best, and worst, case scenarios.

For example, what would happen if your income went down, and expenditure went up? Or what would happen if the expenditure went down, and income went up?

Think about when you'll get money in and when you'll need to pay money out. Encourage people who owe you money to pay as quickly as possible. If you owe money, then negotiate a long payment plan, if you can.
Check liabilities
Review the liabilities of trustees, directors, committee and board members.

If your organisation is facing financial hardship, then review your constitution and articles to determine whether any individuals are financially liable for any losses. This is especially important for unincorporated organisations.
Be transparent
It's crucial to keep up to date with your financial position and share your knowledge.

It's really important to be open and transparent about your financial position, and the liabilities of your organisation and any individuals.