Board meetings must be run efficiently to produce the best results and maintain members’ focus.
Beginning a board meeting with a clear purpose and schedule helps members understand why they are there and what to expect. Below, we provide an agenda template for ultimate productivity.
An introduction to your board meeting should include the main focus of what’s going to be covered. During this time, recap the main topics of discussion, major accomplishments since the last meeting, and upcoming benchmarks, projects and dates.
Next, vote on any outstanding matters like budget allocation, role assignments, schedule changes and policy updates. Materials on these matters should be distributed in advance of the meeting so that members can come prepared to share opinions.
During this section of the meeting, cover any major discussion points, such as:
- Strategy: Provide board members an update on the organization’s overarching strategy. Discuss any changes made to planning and execution phases. Tie the efforts of your board members to your strategy and business model to help get all members on the same page and in-line with the organization’s mission.
- Risk management: Take the opportunity to plan ahead for potential and foreseeable roadblocks, and develop back-up plans, if needed.
- Budget: Catch members up on board and organization finances. This is especially relevant when there is a major budget cut or increase in funding.
- Committee(s): Most boards are broken up into committees. For example, executive, audit and finance committees may have information to share. Ahead of time, committees should request time during your next meeting to communicate updates to the remainder of the board.
- Fundraising efforts: Outline fundraising efforts scheduled between the current and next meeting. Clearly explain board member expectations and next steps.
Closing and Next Steps
When the meeting comes to a close, provide a high-level overview of what is expected of the board before the next meeting, and key takeaways. If time allows, evaluate how well your board stuck to the agenda to create accountability.
Other Ways to Have a More Productive Board Meeting
There are plenty of other ways to have a productive board meeting. Below are eight quick tips for making your meeting even more successful.
- Let a new member lead each section of the meeting. Listening to a new person can help reengage board members.
- Send out your agenda notes beforehand, so members know what to expect and can prepare as necessary.
- Give each agenda item a set time frame. Start and end on time consistently to show members that you value their time.
- Standard items can be voted on electronically in advance as part of a consent agenda to save time during the meeting.
- Take detailed meeting minutes in real-time within a board portal, so you don’t have to spend time organizing them later.
- Collect RSVPs to ensure enough members will be in attendance to make the meeting worthwhile.
- Note off-agenda topics for discussion at a later date to avoid tangents.
- Send out a quarterly survey to gather member feedback on how meetings are executed and ideas on how to improve.
Download our Board Management Tips and Tricks: A Community Curated Guide to better engage members, improve communication and hold more productive meetings.
Have you had a successful board meeting while following an agenda template? Share your story in the comments.
Image Source: CeBit Australia