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Business | Clubs

The grass can be greener – start planning now!

As seen in the May edition of The Bowler.

In the current market, many clubs remain focused on increasing revenue to safeguard their future. Quick fix solutions and rapid cash injections may be tempting, but are they really the answer long term? For clubs who are uncertain about their future, master planning could be the answer for cementing your club’s place in the community and preserving your legacy. This article explains how thinking about your club’s strategic direction today could identify new revenue streams.

What is a master plan?

A master plan is a term used to describe an all-inclusive planning process for developing new facilities, diversifying revenue streams and establishing a sustainable plan for the successful future of a club.

By utilising a master planning process, club owners and advisors are able to determine a wide range of interconnecting issues that may affect the development of a facility and the suburban area that surrounds a specific club.

A master plan usually includes:

  • a vision for the club or a part of the club;
  • a financial plan and corresponding budget;
  • a comprehensive management plan;
  • an asset maintenance plan; and
  • concept plans and drawings.

Benefits of planning

Clubs need to plan their long-term viability in order to grow and succeed. Regardless of their size, location or sector, all clubs should have a plan which guides their strategic direction into the future.

It is essential for clubs to create and maintain an environment which attracts, retains and values its member and volunteers. In order to do this, thought must be given to the main objectives and ultimate goals of the club.

Additionally, planning is a foolproof way raise a club’s profile in order to gain support from the community and decision makers, which can then lead to a source of funding, grants and sponsorship.

Our top tips for a head start

Bowls clubs may want to consider the following pathways which are commonly used to shape a sustainable future:

  • Artificial greens – there are significant long terms costs benefits associated with the switch to synthetic grass… think staff, maintenance and saving on water bills!
  • Clubhouse reinvestment – the inclusion of new function spaces or a revamped dining area could be the calling card to attract new members and volunteers from all age groups.
  • Utilising space – instead of continuing to maintain spare land or unused greens, think about whether any additional space can be sold, leased or redeveloped in the future.

Rather than a short-term solution, these options provide the possibility of a steady income stream which can be used for years to come.

No matter which planning pathway you choose, analysing your club’s strengths and weaknesses is a smart starting point for a long term plan. From there you can develop an action plan to achieve your club’s vision and objectives, while also evaluating any potential opportunities or threats.

This is likely to include an analysis of your club’s current situation, including its financial position over the past few years and consideration of the club’s membership figures, to identify any trends in participation, age or gender groups which can then be capitalised on moving forward.

Like any organisation, the evolution of your bowls clubs is necessary to ensure that it remains relevant in the ever changing community. We are always available if you would like to discuss potential options for your club, we want to see your master plan come to life!

Article by Matthew Bradford (Partner) and Frances Kelly (Solicitor).

"The content of this publication is for reference purposes only. It is current at the date of publication. This content does not constitute legal advice and should not be relied upon as such. Legal advice about your specific circumstances should always be obtained before taking any action based on this publication."