Whether you’re the largest club in Canada, the smallest club in Canada, or somewhere in between, someone needs to manage your club. Usually this is done by a Board of Directors who are elected by the members to make decisions on their behalf. Most clubs have very few requirements to be a Board member (if any), and this can lead to significant challenges for the club no matter how enthusiastic and passionate the volunteers.

Consider this: with no requirements to be a Board member, what happens when Board members make poor decisions? Who is to blame? Is it the President? The Board as a whole? The members for electing said Board? Regardless of who should shoulder the blame, the reality is that when clubs invest in their volunteers, their volunteers are better prepared to make appropriate and effective decisions.

With Autumn in full swing and demands on the club slowing down, this is the perfect opportunity to plan and prepare for next season.

Start by offering training for all Board members. With virtually no requirements to be a Board member, it is quite likely that your Board members (or future Board members) have had no formalized education or training on how to run an organization. Without any education or training, they are making decisions based on “what they think is right”. For some, this works out well; for others, this is disastrous. Start offering Board training to your Board members to ensure they know their duties and responsibilities as a Board member. You can find online training for your Board members, courtesy of Sport for Life, here: called “Effective Board Governance”. You can redeem the key “C6D27F” to save 10% on the cost of the course.

Next, create a job description for each position on the Board. It is very difficult to do any job when you don’t have a clear understanding of your role and responsibilities.  Something as simple as a one-page job description can help to ensure your Board knows what is expected of them and also gives them something they can refer to if they feel lost.  Job descriptions also help club members balance their expectations of the volunteers who are working hard to serve their club. As a starting point, email Jake Schuknecht for some sample Board job description templates at jschuknecht@bowlscanada.com. Each job description should be unique to your club, as you may need your Board members to do more than what is listed in the templates.

Lastly, be sure to complete a background check on each potential Board member before they assume a position on the Board. A Criminal Record Check can be completed online at www.mybackcheck.com for a minimal fee. Completing a background check should be mandatory for all Board members to ensure that suitable candidates are making decisions on behalf of your club members. You likely can’t tell if someone has engaged in criminal activity in the past simply by looking at them, so don’t assume that because they “look like a nice person” that they’ll be great members of your Board. Don’t let your club be one of several who lost thousands of dollars to corrupt Board members!

A little preparation goes a long way to ensuring your volunteers are ready for the challenge of leading their club.  Prepared volunteers are more likely to be successful and satisfied which will ultimately lead to increased volunteer retention and more people signing up for the jobs at hand.