Board Meeting

Meetings of the board can be dreaded or difficult to endure. Listening to reports, watching individuals promote personal agendas, a lack of focus on outcomes, and bad behavior leaves some board members wondering if it’s worth their time. (It is no wonder it’s hard to get a quorum.) How do you create a consistent pleasant leadership experience?  A national association described their meetings as “painful.” The chair insisted on monthly conference calls. They decided Sunday evenings would work best. Because of time zones the call started at 9 and discussions rambled past midnight. The staff were told they too had to join the call. Another association met quarterly but felt they had to maximize the board’s time, so they worked eight-to-ten-hour days. The agenda expanded to fill the time. The board did plenty of committee work and talked “shop.” Reading subsequent minutes, one might wonder what was


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7 Secrets For Successful Board Meetings

Your board of directors are the standard bearers…foundation builders…strategic plan developers and managers…chief cheerleaders and fundraisers. They steer the organization towards meeting its mission, ensure its nancial stability and are the public face of your organization. For small, volunteer-led organizations, the board may also be responsible for day-to-day operations as well

7 Tips for Running Effective Nonprofit Board Meetings

During the last three years, I served as the Executive Director of a youth-focused leadership development nonprofit and was chair of the board of directors. We faced a number of challenges during that time and through productive board of director meetings, we achieved some great results. Here are seven lessons that can help make your board of director meetings more productive, exciting and worthwhile.

7 Tips To More Productive Meetings

Meetings are a powerful tool that are widely misunderstood. Like many professionals, I have read and enjoyed many Dilbert comics that point out the pain and frustration of poorly run meetings. In fact, I’ve been in my share of disappointment meetings. I’ll share a short example with you and data showing that just how widespread bad meetings have become. Finally, I will cover the seven habits – the most powerful meeting tips I have used – that will set you up for success.

Gaining Altitude at Board Meetings

Governance is characterized as a high-level, strategic effort by a governing body. An association board should advance a cause or mission, serve stakeholders and make best use of resources.

Introduction to Consensus Decision-Making

Consensus decision-making is a process that seeks to arrive at decisions that everyone can live with, by seeking to resolve or mitigate the concerns of the minority. In contrast, the will of the minority is simply over ridden in majority rule. The consensus process is based on the assumption that every member of the group has a valid perspective that is potentially crucial to making good decisions. It requires everyone in the group to be committed to clearly understood common goals, and to be able to differentiate between their personal preferences and what will help the group achieve its goals.

Improving the Board Experience

Meetings of the board can be dreaded or difficult to endure. Listening to reports, watching individuals promote personal agendas, a lack of focus on outcomes, and bad behavior leaves some board members wondering if it’s worth their time. (It is no wonder it’s hard to get a quorum.) How do you create a consistent pleasant leadership experience?

When Guests Attend Board Meeting

Board meetings are called for the purpose of governance in accordance with the bylaws, policies and state law. They require a quorum of the directors and the support of staff. What do you do when guests attend?

Before, During and After Board Meetings

Before, During and After Board Meetings

Board Meetings — FAQs

BoardSource has been fielding governance-related questions posed by nonprofit leaders for over 30 years. Here are the answers to those questions most frequently asked about board meetings.

Boardroom Courtesy

How can you avoid a boardroom meltdown --- when voices are raised, fingers pointed or directors leave mad? The board meeting is a setting that brings together diverse volunteers for the purpose of governance. Discussions can be passionate and frustrating, and the environment unique to new directors.

Board Meeting Preparation

Nonprofit Board Practices found that chief executives and board chairs agree that there is a relationship between board meeting preparation and board culture. Those who report that their board members are prepared for meetings also report positive board culture. However, more than a quarter (26 percent) of executives and nearly a fifth (18 percent) of board chairs report that their board members are unprepared for board meetings.

Boardroom Volleyball

Ever watch a board meeting that looked more like a volleyball game? The sport is between teams of players separated by a net, each trying to score points before the ball hits the ground. (Equate the board table to the net.)

Everything I Need to Know for Board Service I Learned in Kindergarten

A highlight of one’s professional career is serving as an officer or member of a board of directors. However, while it is an honor the distinction carries with it significant obligations. Fulfilling one’s duties can be achieved by following some basics that were likely taught when we were in kindergarten. Follow these principles for successful board service.

Bullies in the Boardroom

Joining a board should be an honor. It is an opportunity to use leadership skills and tact to advance a shared mission. The boardroom environment should be a place of respect among peers. Yet some associations deal with the “boardroom bully.”

Chasing Squirrels

If you’ve heard it once you’ve heard it dozens of times at board meetings: “I just have a question.” I observed it at a meeting this week. The offending director may or may not have realized what she was causing. Without being recognized by the chair, she said, “I just have a question.” She followed her question with what seemed to be a personal opinion. For example, “Have we ever done it this way? I think if we change our approach and use new technology we will get better engagement.”

Board Room Blahs

Ever end a board meeting wondering if it was worth the time? Do the minutes show innovation and decisiveness to advance the mission and goals? It's possible to be in a rut. Here are some board room rescues.

Executive Sessions

Some boards believe that executive sessions are a way to hold discussions without staff present and without liability for discussions held. Generally the meeting is closed to staff for a discussion of executive or topics that someone feels should be private. The practice can lead to trouble. There are several reasons to discourage closed-door meetings:

Favored Statements at Board Meetings

For example, an association distributes committee and staff reports two weeks in advance through a board portal or Dropbox. But not everyone reads the reports. You recognize these directors as they begin statements with the phrase, “I just have a question.”

The Best Board Meeting I Ever Attended

The executive in charge of board development for a large national philanthropic organization with more than 100 regional boards recently asked me, “What’s the best board meeting you ever attended?” Got me to thinking…No, it wasn’t chaired by me. Yes, it was one of my clients. Here’s what it looked like:

Calling a Special Meeting of Shareholders

The following is an explanation of the procedures for calling a special meeting of the shareholders. Enclosed are copies of documents, which you can use for your meeting. A special meeting allows shareholders to remove the current board of directors and elect a new board.

The Case Against Monthly Board Meetings

The majority of boards meet quarterly. It is ironic that some of America’s largest associations get the job done by convening only three times a year. Inversely smaller associations and chambers find a need to meet monthly or bi-monthly. Why do organizations with small budgets, fewer members or less programs need to meet more frequently?

Meeting Disorder

Scheduled to start at 5 and end at 8, it began with 20 persons making self-introductions. They took 35 minutes. I recognized a glitch as a majority included the phrase: “We have a problem.” I knew of the attendees to be efficient and innovative professionals. So it was surprising to hear the group focus on the negative.

The Effective Board Manual

The foundation of a committed, knowledgeable, and effective board is orientation and education. As an essential companion to orientation and education, every organization should have a thorough, easy to use manual that board members can use throughout their terms.

How to Hold Effective Meetings

Meetings are a requisite tool for coordinating groups and teams of people, be it a steering committee or a board of directors. If people do not effectively make use of each other’s time then people feel poorly utilized and it is a waste of the our single greatest non-renewable resource: time.

Executive Sessions Why, Who, What, and How

Does your board meet in executive session on a regular basis? If not, this resource is designed for you. Executive sessions are a special meeting-within-a-meeting that provides an opportunity for the board to meet privately to handle sensitive and confidential issues, foster robust discourse, and strengthen trust and communication. They are usually exclusive to board members, but others, such as the chief executive, may be invited to join for all or part of a session. BoardSource recommends that every board should have regularly scheduled executive sessions before, during, or at the end of regular board meetings. As you review the information below, consider adding executive sessions to your board meeting schedules.

Better Boardroom Conversation

For boards looking to take their performance to the next level, generative governance could be the answer. Generative governance moves past mundane tasks like reporting and rubber-stamping proposals. It provides an opportunity for boards to deepen their analysis and focus on more abstract concepts in order to be better able to adapt to a changing environment.

How to Increase Participation

Many people initially find the tenant association confusing and even a little intimidating— all the meetings, by-laws, classes, and reports seem new and overwhelming. Officers should conduct an education campaign that explains the benefits of TIL and how participation is necessary to attain them. Although a person may want to participate, there are often factors that discourage their involvement. It is the officers' responsibility to identify these factors and then work to overcome them.

How To Run A Successful Nonprofit Board Meeting In 8 Steps

Ir's no secret that your non-profits or association board of directors is a pivotal to your organization success.

How to Run an Effective Nonprofit Board Meeting

If you look around and see board members discreetly texting, doodling, or mindlessly looking around, it’s time for a change. If your board members are zoned out or are continuously going off topic, it’s time to shift your nonprofit board meeting strategy

Running Good Board Meetings

A board member’s first responsibility is to attend the corporation’s board meetings. The best way to insure steady attendance at board meetings is to establish a day and time when meetings will regularly take place, following this up with a written reminder five days prior to the meeting date. For example, your board might meet the first Monday of every month at 7:00 PM. This fixes a specific monthly commitment for all board members and should encourage punctuality and discourage absenteeism. Also, if everyone knows about meetings in advance, you should not have a problem maintaining a quorum— having a majority of the board present to vote on issues. Once you have established a schedule, stick to it.

Focused Board Meetings

Many factors detract from good board meetings, ranging from poor room setup to poorly designed agenda. Some executives describe their board as having ADHD - attentiondeficit/ hyperactivity disorder.

Power Up the Consent Agenda

A standard board agenda includes a dozen reports and updates. Reading and listening to reports are not good use of board time. Meetings should concentrate on advancing the mission and strategic goals.

Guidelines for Running Effective, Democratic Meetings

Always start on time. Do not repeat earlier parts of the meeting for latecomers (make them wait until after the meeting ends to be filled in). They will eventually get the idea and start arriving on time. Starting on time respects those who take the meeting seriously enough to arrive at the appointed time; starting late just punishes these same people and encourages further lateness.

Sabotaging the Consent Agenda

The board chair said, “To save time we will use a consent agenda. We will be distributing routine reports in advance. I’m asking you to prepare for meetings by doing the reading.” A consent agenda is an efficient board practice. It allows the board to focus on the substantive issues such as mission and its core competencies.

Save 200 Hours on Board Meetings

Are board meetings depleting association resources and staff time? The culprit may be meeting frequency. Most boards convene quarterly. A few govern only three times a year. Others gather as frequently as monthly. The most common reason given for meeting often is, “We’ve always done it this way

Technology Improves the Consent Agenda

The consent agenda is a tool to facilitate more effective board meetings. Adding technology to the concept improves ease of use and impact. In today’s fast paced world we must respect volunteers’ contributions of time and talents. It will be difficult to convene a quorum if directors feel the meeting wastes their time.

Questions to Ask at Board Meetings

The board is convened for the purpose of governance. However, meetings often deteriorate into administrative discussions and committee work. When you think about it, convening leaders can be costly. The average number of directors is fifteen.

What Makes a Great Meeting?

What makes a great meeting? The best of them leave us focused and energized because the purpose of the meeting was clear; attendees felt engaged; and the process was smooth. Not-so-great meetings, on the other hand, drain energy, and lower morale. To help you set the stage for meetings that are strategic, outcome-oriented, and productive for all, we’ve pulled together some tips.

Group Think at Board Meetings

Quite often boards, directors and committees (mistakenly) believe that “adding” projects and programs will be their legacy and measure of success. (Many organizations are purposely abandoning outdated programs to better align resourcesi and programs.)


Seminars and conferences are great opportunities for learning.T hey offer information that is timely - and make you evaluate information in terms of how it applies to you. Here are some guidelines to maximize the benefits of attendance: The objective is to learn. Don't focus on what you already know. Specifically look for one or two good ideas from every presenter. At the end of the day you may have a dozen new facts, resources and inspirations.

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