Examining Performance Measures and Their Application in Voluntary Sports Clubs
Measuring performance in local sports clubs is challenging, particularly due to their nonprofit and voluntary nature. In recent years, there has been a growing demand in these organisations to introduce more professional management practices in order to address issues such as increasing competition and stakeholder pressure. Therefore, this thesis aims to examine board members’ current practices to measure performance in community-level, voluntary sports clubs and to make evidence-based recommendations on how they could be improved, changed or adapted to best achieve their organisational purpose. To achieve this aim, eight semi-structured interviews were undertaken with presidents of voluntary sports clubs in two different European countries. This qualitative research provided an indepth view of the various aspects of performance by exploring the effectiveness-related perceptions of participants. Results show that performance in voluntary sports clubs is multidimensional and socially created by the actions and interactions of members, board members, volunteers, coaches and other stakeholders. Expectedly, financial indicators and membership figures are regularly reviewed and used to determine a club’s efficiency and effectiveness. However, board members seem to be reluctant to implement measures to evaluate subjective aspects such as membership satisfaction or the internal atmosphere. The main recommendations for board members are, firstly, to recognise that performance goes beyond membership fluctuations and the financial health and, secondly, to introduce a standardised performance measurement system (PMS) to increase effectiveness, transparency and accountability. Findings demonstrate that an adapted form of the Balanced Scorecard (BSC) serves as a useful, flexible and easy-to use PMS for most types of voluntary sports clubs.