Club Planning 101

06 Jul 2017

All clubs should have a Plan that will guide you each year. Your plan should be simple and easy to follow there is no point spending hours of volunteer time putting together a plan if it is difficult to understand and implement.

You want to be able to work towards achieving the objectives set out. Refer to it at meetings and make sure the goals are being achieved.

Club Planning Key Elements:


A Vision is a statement about what your bowls club wants to become. It should help your members feel proud, excited, and part of a great club. A vision should stretch your clubs capabilities and image of itself. It gives shape and direction to your clubs future.


A Mission or Purpose is a precise description of what your club does. It is a definition of why the organization exists currently. Each member of your club should be able to verbally express this mission.


Decide what values you will follow in achieving your clubs Vision. The same values should flow down to all members of your club.


Identify your clubs current position - SWOT analysis

  • Strengths
  • Weaknesses
  • Opportunities
  • Threats

    Strengths and weaknesses are internal factors and opportunities and threats are external factors.

    To carry out a SWOT Analysis consider the following questions:


    What advantages do you have?

  • What do you do well?
  • What relevant resources do you have access to?
  • What do other people see as your strengths?

    Consider this from your own point of view and from the point of view of the people you deal with. Don't be modest. Be realistic.


  • What could you improve?
  • What do you do badly?
  • What should you avoid?

    Again, consider this from an internal and external basis: Do other people seem to perceive weaknesses that you do not see? Are other clubs doing any better than you? It is best to be realistic now, and face any unpleasant truths as soon as possible.


  • Where are the good opportunities facing you?
  • What are the interesting trends in bowls you are aware of?

    Useful opportunities can come from such things as:

  • Changes in government policy related to your field
  • Changes in social patterns, population profiles, lifestyle changes, etc.
  • Local Events

    A useful approach to looking at opportunities is to look at your strengths and ask yourself whether these open up any opportunities. Alternatively, look at your weaknesses and ask yourself whether you could open up opportunities by eliminating them.


  • What obstacles do you face?
  • What are other clubs doing?
  • Are the required specifications for the sport of bowls changing?
  • Do you have bad debt or cash-flow problems?
  • Could any of your weaknesses seriously threaten your club?

    Carrying out this analysis will often be illuminating - both in terms of pointing out what needs to be done, and in putting problems into perspective.

    Carrying out SWOT analysis will give a very clear picture of where your club is currently.

    Build your operational plan around working to your strengths and opportunities and eliminating the weaknesses and threats.

    Note: This could be an ideal opportunity to survey your members to see what they think of their club and how and where things could be done better, or are being done well.

Stage 5 GOALS

  • The SWOT analysis will identify the areas of your club that you can do better, and new ideas that can be introduced to improve your club. These should form the basis of your goals.

    In general your goals should relate to the following areas:

  • Governance (Management)
  • Financial
  • Customers
  • The Game
  • Facilities and Greens

    5 - 6 goals should cover the full operations of your club.

    All goals should be SMART - Specific, measurable, attainable, realistic, timeline

  • E.g. To replace the surface of Green A to meet international playing standards, by 1 February 2007.

  • Your action plans will be your working documents. You should constantly refer back to them and update them to ensure that your goals are being achieved.

    Once your goals have been identified it is important to plan and identify how you will go about achieving them.

  • Breakdown each goal and identify the steps that need to be taken in order to achieve the goal.
  • Allocate the work out to the various committees and volunteers (and in some cases paid staff) for them to complete.
  • Ensure that those given the responsibility to achieve the goals are supported by the Executive Committee (Board), and provide updates back to the committee on a regular basis.
  • Ensure that the work load is spread amongst a number of people - you do not want to lose volunteers by overloading them with work!


  • Clearly outline your management structure.

  • What is the role of your Executive (Board) Committee?
  • What committees are required below this level?
  • What is the role of these committees?
  • What other volunteers are required to successfully operate your club?
  • Job descriptions should be written for each position on the executive committee and for each sub committee.
  • All job descriptions should in some way relate back to the vision and goals that have been set for your club.


  • It is vitally important that you monitor your operational plan on a monthly basis and once a year have a complete review of the document. What you set out to achieve may change through factors outside of your control each year, so plans may need to be updated from time to time.

    Monthly Reviews:

  • At each of your Club Executive meetings you should refer back to your goals and update the progress that has been made.
  • Go through each goal one at a time, identify the progress that has been made and plan for further achievements over the following month.

       Annual Review:

  • Each year your operational plan should be reviewed
  • Go through each goal summarising the work that has been done over the year
  • Identify the goals that have been met and congratulate the people involved.
  • Work through the goals that were not achieved and evaluate why, and plan what needs to be done for them to be achieved.
  • If for some reason a goal is seen as no longer relevant document why and move forward.
  • Re-evaluate your SWOT analysis and identify a new set of goals for the following season.

       Bi-annual Review:

  • At least once every two years your club should start back with stage one and complete a new plan.

    The sporting and club environment is constantly changing. Successful clubs regularly evaluate and review their operations in order to keep up with the changing environment they are operating in.

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