Barefoot bowls

Events, functions and fundraising activities

Barefoot bowls is a social, fun event where participants play lawn bowls, without shoes!
It can include a few drinks, some simple catering and is an enjoyable afternoon in the sunshine with grass between your toes and a little competitive fun.

Barefoot Bowls can be a simple or sophisticated fundraising event.
It can be as simple as organising a group from your club to play with the lure of a prize or trophy at the end for the winner or winning team, or it could be a day that is open to club members, business networks and sponsors with a fully catered dinner to finish off the day where prizes are awarded and auctions and raffles are held.

Why a Barefoot Bowls event?
A Barefoot Bowls event is a great fundraiser that can be relaxing and appealing to people of all ages. Bowls is a relatively low impact sport and this allows for people of all ages to be included.
It can also be easily held in conjunction with other fundraising ideas such as raffles and auctions.
While this fundraiser does call on your club community to donate you could invite your members to bring along friends or family members.
This fundraiser can work for all sports clubs and in both city and country clubs.

When should I hold this fundraiser?
Barefoot Bowls is an outdoor fundraiser and shouldn’t be held during extreme heat or cold weather. It can be held at anytime during the season but as it could also run as a social event at your club, this is needs to be considered. Could you help build club culture at the start of the season or celebrate your club’s achievements at the end of the season?

Key Activities
These are the tasks you will need to consider assign to volunteers at our club:

Before the day:

  • Decide the date of the Barefoot Bowls Event.
  • Book a bowls club and discuss your needs and how they can help you.
  • Promote the event.
  • Organise volunteers to help on the day.
  • Organise any food and beverages that will be for sale.
  • Organise any raffles, activities, competitions or auctions that might run at the same time.
  • Sell tickets.

On The Day

  • Ensure the bowls club and venue are set up.
  • Ensure food and beverages are ready to sell or serve.
  • Brief Volunteers of their roles.
  • Enjoy the day!
  • Monitor the event.
  • Take lots of photos.
  • Present the winner with their trophy.

After the day

  • Publicly thank everyone involved
  • Announce the amount of money raised and the winner

Who can help?
It is important to engage your members to help in the running of your fundraiser.
For your Barefoot Bowls event you could approach them to help:

  • Promote and sell the tickets
  • Help source prizes for any additional activities you may be running like a raffle or auction
  • Help logistically on the day

You could also approach current club Sponsors for prizes.

Recruiting your people
It is important to create a culture of volunteering at your club to help not only with fundraising but also across the day to day running of your club. For more on how to create this at your club, click here.

Using technology to making it easier

You may like to consider using technology to reduce the workload on your volunteers and increase your fundraising dollars. For an event like this, you may like to sell tickets using a platform like TryBooking.

TryBooking lets you sell tickets, take payments and donations for events online.

This takes care of a great deal of the work that is usually left to volunteers and automates the ticket selling process.

You can set up and customise your own event page and a unique URL in minutes. This lets you easily share the event online and engage members and supporters. Your club may also like to use social media, email newsletters and your club website to promote the event.

Financial Considerations
Local Bowls clubs are always looking to attract new members and new customers so they would be very keen to work with your club on a Barefoot Bowls fundraiser.
Your club can organise a package with them that includes hire of equipment and simple party-food catering. Your club can then use your numbers to negotiate, for example free catering or equipment hire if you can get 50 participants.

Whatever the package cost, add a suitable fundraising premium but don’t make it so expensive that people are unable to attend. For example if a night of Barefoot Bowls including equipment and food will cost $20pp then add another $10 to $20 as the fundraising premium to make the final ticket price. It is usually a better idea to have a lower fundraising premium and have more people attend than have a high fundraising premium and have hardly anyone attend.

Bowls clubs will usually require a deposit, so keep that in mind when planning your night.
Depending on the amount you charge, Barefoot Bowls may not always return a large amount of cash to your club. You club may focus on it being a social outing to foster team spirit and club culture. Having said that, clubs can choose to hold mini-comps during the day, for example closest to the jack competition and have an entry fee to raise further funds. You could also include a raffle on the day to help raise extra funds.

Barefoot bowls appeals to people of all ages so it is a great idea to promote to your club via email flyers, the newsletter, website and social media pages.
Depending on how large you want your event to be, you could also utilise existing networks within your club by producing flyers and other promotional material and asking your members to distribute at their workplace or to their networks.

Clubs could also seek to recruit a celebrity to the bowls event as this will help to give the event an event an even higher profile. Many sporting celebrities look for a way to give back to grassroots sport so don’t be afraid to ask.

Communication considerations
As a Barefoot Bowls event may also double as a social event at your club, you can use social media to build excitement. You can use social media to sell tickets and countdown to the day. You can also live stream parts of the event on the day so that those in your community that can’t attend can still be part of the event.
Also consider if you will invite corporates, sponsors and potential sponsors.
Use social media to sell tickets and live stream the event on the day!

What can go wrong? (Risk Management)
Financial Risks
There are obvious financial risks if enough tickets aren’t sold and the prizes and setup costs more than is made.
The weather can make the day difficult to run should their be extreme heat or extreme rain. Alternative arrangements should be discussed and decided on prior to the day should they be necessary.
Participant Safety
The health and wellbeing of those who attend your event should be a focus at all times. It is important that your club takes time to consider all possible risks and how to minimise these.

Licenses and Permits
Food handling and service laws need to be considered. Liquor licencing and RSA requirements for serving drinks also need to be adhered to. If in doubt, check with the liquor licensing and food safety authority in your state or territory. Your club should also consider security to promote legal and responsible drinking.
It is also important to contact your insurance company to ensure your public liability insurance policies cover the event.

Additional Factors to consider
When catering food ensure you cater for those with allergies and these are clearly labelled. Allergies can be life threatening and need to be considered seriously.
Organising a bus may be a great option for your club. It will add to the ticket cost but it may make it more attractive to your members if they don’t need to worry about driving. It also gives clubs the perfect setting (a captive audience) to hold a raffle or additional activity.


Additional Revenue Opportunities
A Barefoot Bowls event provides an opportunity to run a raffle or silent auction to help build your club’s fundraising dollars. However it is important not to take away from the event by overdoing it on the extra fundraising activities.

Any specific suppliers or links for this particular fundraiser. Could be used for 3rd party advertising in the future.

This procedure should be treated as a guide only. Your club should seek advice specific to the needs of your club and event. Seek further details from authorities and service providers; especially in regards to insurance, licences, permits, spectator and participant safety.