Conducting Nonprofit Board Meeting

Nonprofit board meeting process :

Role of the Chairman

  • Establish quorum
  • Discuss and identify conflict of interests
  • Evaluate voting rights of members with conflict of interest from the quorum
  • Formally start the meeting
  • Move discussions forward
  • Formally adjourn/end the meeting

Role of the secretary: To maintain minutes

Tenets of the organization meeting

  • Agenda planning in advance: to avoid surprises
  • Proposed order of discussion: Old unfinished business/ New business
  • Timely notice of meeting and the agenda
  • Pre defined quorum for transacting business
  • Equal Voting rights
  • One subject at a time
  • Full and Free debate
  • Majority wins
  • Call to order
  • Reading of minutes
  • Approval of minutes
  • Board resolution

Progression of motion

  • Member tabling the motion seeks permission of the chair
  • Stating the motion
  • Seconding the motion
  • Motion stated by the presiding officer
  • Discussion/ Debate on the motion
  • Amendments to the motion
  • Voting on the motion
  • Announce voting results

Parliamentary meeting system

The meeting of the board must be productive, inclusive and participatory. To ensure this, the parliamentary system of conducting meetings is followed by many nonprofit organizations.

The parliamentary system allows organizations to transact their business with speed and efficiency at the same time protecting the rights and the spirit of harmony amongst the members.

The degree of formality in meeting would depend on the size of the board and on the importance of the matter being discussed.

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About the Author:


Shirley Adair is the founder of 'Dreams Unlimited', a nonprofit organization working in areas of child care, child welfare, juvenile justice, addiction, health and unemployment

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