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Finding the best directors for your club

April 2019

One of the biggest challenges for clubs within the industry is to find suitable applicants to become board members of their club.

In recent years, the club landscape has become more complicated, with increasing regulation and compliance requirements. Combined with the fact that the industry is highly competitive and closely scrutinised through the media, with gambling and alcohol consumption, the governance role within clubs has increased.

Many clubs have fantastic boards with quality skill sets, and have appropriate succession plans in place to ensure good governance practices are adhered to through strategic guidance and vision.

These clubs’ financial performance is generally satisfactory to good and they tend to be market leaders in their community.

Many clubs rely on directors to perform voluntary labour in the club whether its repairs and maintainance, selling raffle tickets, calling bingo, picking up glasses and so on. Whilst these tasks are invaluable to clubs, a lot of these efforts go unrecognised.

These days, however, people tend to be more time poor so potential board members may feel that they cannot contribute to these voluntary requirements, and therefore may decide that being a club director does not suit because of the additional time commitments.

Clubs need to consider skill sets of the existing board and also understand succession planning. Clubs also need to prioritise whether voluntary labour is a requirement of a director or whether it is more important to have skill sets such as legal, marketing and other specialist areas, whereby those person’s contribution to the board may outweigh the savings in wages.

Clubs also need to consider the way board meetings are held and the use of electronic communication. Holding the board meeting at 6pm on a Monday night because that is how it has traditionally been done may not suit potential board members.

Clubs need to be open to new ideas, such as the use of technology where board papers are distributed electronically so the board can peruse at a time that suits them. Clubs should also consider using Skype or other methods of allowing board members to dial into a meeting if they cannot be present.

Clubs should also consider the use of committees to assist with either governance of the board, or operations. The appointment to a committee may suit members rather than full participation on the board. 

Committee members’ can assist with voluntary work, for example selling raffle tickets or improving the gardens and surrounds of a club. Normally a board member would be the leader of the committee, and report back to the board meeting. Appropriate recognition should be made of these committees’ efforts similar to that of the board’s recognition.

The issue of quality board members should be on all clubs’ risk registers. If your club is struggling to attract directors with the necessary skill sets to improve the clubs’ performance, both financially and strategically, each of the areas above should be given serious thought.

As always, if you would like discuss this article further, our team would be happy to help.

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