Run Effective Meetings

How do you hold effective board meetings?

The quality of board meetings is a key element to maintaining productive board members.  

Make sure your board meetings are productive and engage board members:

o   Do as much planning and work before the meeting as possible.

o   Start and end all meetings on time.

o   Send board meeting reminders a week or more prior to the meeting, including date, time and place. Include the number and name of person to call if members are unable to attend.

o   Use a Consent Agenda. Members receive the Agenda, Minutes, Treasurer’s Report, Executive Director’s Report and any other major reports that require an approval vote before the meeting (usually electronically).  At the meeting, everyone will have ALREADY read the reports, so the board can take one single vote to approve the minutes and reports, after members ask any related questions.  This is a good way to keep non-attending board members informed.

o   Have time at the beginning of the meeting for members to suggest additional agenda items, eliminating surprise topics. The board president can refer new items to committees or postpone items until future meetings.

o   Print the agency’s mission or vision on the agenda. At the end of each meeting, verbally confirm which actions took place to support the vision and mission.

o   Keep members on task, stopping discussions that go off-topic.

o   If a strategic or long-range plan is in place, re-state parts of the plan that are related to the business at hand. This keeps the strategic plan a living and dynamic document to guide board action and policy.

What is the typical order of business at a board meeting?

  1. Approve: previous meeting’s Minutes and Treasurer’s, President’s and Executive Director’s Reports OR the Consent Agenda
  2. Committee Reports
  3. Old Business
  4. New Business
  5. Announcements
  6. Adjournment

Source: Grobman, Gary M. The Nonprofit Handbook. Third Edition.