Conducting Nonprofit Board Meeting

The meeting of the board must be productive, inclusive and participatory.

To ensure this, the parliamentary system of conducting meetings is followed by many organizations.

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

Tenets of the parliamentary system of 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

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

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

Role of the secretary: Maintain minutes

The minutes of the meeting

The minutes record the transactions of a meeting.

The minutes of a meeting should record the transactions and not the individual interpretations of the person maintaining the minute. A minute typically includes:

  • Attendance of meeting
  • Who made motions
  • Agenda of motions
  • Motions passed and failed
  • Record of vote
  • Decisions

The minutes of a meeting should be widely circulated to the board members and made accessible to the staff, volunteers, press and the public in general.

Meetings: Conclusion

The degree of formality of this process in a non-profit meeting would depend on the size of the board and on the importance of the matter being discussed.