Steps to Strengthen Club Governance

For the Outlook 2024 Pulse Survey question, “What do you think are the major issues affecting private clubs today?” one reply read:

“Lack of volunteerism within the club, from committee involvement to sitting on the board of directors. Our newer members are not as engaged in governance and would rather someone else do it.”

To address this very common lament of club managers and help to strengthen overall club governance in the year ahead, there will be a stronger focus on these best practices:

  • Continued emphasis on clubs operating more like a business where data, financials and the strategic plan/capital reserve study are used to make decisions.
  • Using a third-party portal of governance-related items. This will be one of the biggest opportunities for clubs in 2024. Portals can be accessed by desktop or on a mobile device and give board members easy access to all governance documents. Portals allow governance to be more efficient by dealing with minutia outside of the boardroom and focusing on strategic issues during meeting time.
  • Boards will become more strategically involved in how the club is recruiting, onboarding and retaining staff. There will be a plan for how the club can become an employer of choice, and boards will become strategic partners with paid staff in attracting and retaining talent.
  • Additionally, we will see more frequent and transparent communication between all constituencies, club management, the board and the membership base as a whole.

Key components of improved communication will be:

  • Sharing master goals for the board, committees, and GMs/department heads annually with the membership.
  • Surveying members (not anonymously) through day-to-day satisfaction and feedback surveys, while moving away from using committees as sounding boards.
  • Transitioning from a nominating committee to a leadership development committee that works year-round to actively nurture volunteer leadership and make it easier to find good people to fill volunteer positions.

Club Trends – Winter 2024

Tom Wallace, is a partner with KOPPLIN KUEBLER & WALLACE, a consulting firm providing executive search, strategic planning and data analysis services to the private club and hospitality industries. Tom can be contacted at tom@kkandw.com.