The governing body for Crown Green Bowling is the BCGBA, the governing body for Lawn Bowls is Bowls England. The two organisations couldn't be more different.
Bowls England last week published its Annual Report for 2020 and this comes in a colourful and readable 36-page format with lots of information including a detailed financial breakdown and is made freely available to all via their website.
That financial information shows a turnover of around £1million in a normal year. They have over £2.5million in the bank and a substantial team of full and part-time staff providing a range of services to bowlers and 2,000 clubs.
The Annual Report is well worth a look through and will give you some idea of the potential for supporting clubs in a wide range of services that the BCGBA can only aspire to. Obviously that comes at a cost but there are benefits as well. However this is also countered by the fact that last year they attracted almost £100,000 of income through commercial means even when there was no bowling to promote such opportunities. That income was 30% down on the previous year when £127,000 was derived from commercial partnerships.
The range of services to clubs included a free Grant-Finder service which saw 450 clubs sign-up to the service. They even provided club loans totalling almost £200,000 last year to supplement grants, or instead of, where clubs were not eligible for funding. Greenkeepers are well provided for as well with help. advice, training and qualifications for many.
Bowls England communicates directly with bowlers on important matters, it doesn't rely on spreading the word through a convoluted and unreliable network. There are many good practices that the BCGBA could learn from Bowls England and they don't all cost money, such as keeping people informed and being transparent and open about all their business.
The Annual Report is definitely worth a read as a guide to what is possible from a national governing body.