An Efficient Board Meeting Requires Preparation

It is important to prepare well for a board of directors’ meeting, so the meeting doesn’t drag on but is adjourned on time. You are more likely to have good attendance and enthusiastic directors, if they know that your meetings start and finish right on time and that all agenda items are covered.

Here are six steps to help you prepare for a meeting:
1. Establish a regular day and time when the board meetings are held. Once you have established a schedule, stick to it. Try to avoid Mondays, because of the statutory holidays that often fall on Mondays.
2. Send out an email reminder a week before each board meeting. Ask the directors if they have any items they would like to add to the agenda for discussion at the meeting. Collect committee reports at this time also. Give directors maximum two days to respond.
3. Follow up with the agenda five days prior to the meeting day. For example, if your board meeting is at 7 pm on the first Wednesday of every month, send out the agenda by early afternoon on the previous Friday. Include minutes of the previous board meeting and all committee reports, as well as possible other attachments. This way, directors will have enough time to go through all the agenda items and attachments in advance.
(Note: If your meeting minutes have action items, make sure that the minutes are sent out within a week of the board meeting and then again with the agenda of the next meeting.)
4. Make it a rule that, if at all possible, directors need to notify of their absence as soon as they receive the board meeting agenda.
5. The agenda should include at least the following items:
– Review of the minutes from the last meeting
– Acceptance of the agenda for the current meeting
– Approval of the financial report
– Items arising from the minutes or referred from previous meetings
– Committee reports
– New business
– Summary of the meeting
– Adjournment
6. It is each director’s responsibility to come prepared to the board meeting. Only items that are not clear from the minutes or committee reports should be discussed. It is possible to add “Other” or “Discussion” to the end, if the time allows and the directors stay on to chat at the end of the meeting. However, all other agenda items should have already been discussed and required motions made and recorded.

By Aila Karpio, CMM
President of Spets Association Management

What is an Association Management Company or AMC?

By Aila Karpio, President & Founder of Spets

Association management companies have been around for a long time. However, they may not all be AMCs, but for instance administrative support or service providers. Or they may use a generic name like “Joe Smith & Associates” or “the Smith Group”. Many meeting and conference management companies also offer association management services to their clients. And there are many freelance administrators who started by working part-time for one not-for-profit, gradually added more clients and grew to an association management company.

An association management company (AMC) is not a B2B firm but a professional service company that specializes in providing management services to associations and other not-for-profits on a fee-for-service basis. An AMC can be a full-service organization supporting a board of directors in running their not-for-profit and implementing their strategic plan. It can also be an organization that offers various support services in a customized program, depending on the society’s needs.

Why choose an association management company over an in-house administrator?

Both take care of the day-to-day activities of a not-for-profit organization while allowing the directors and committee members the ability to focus on strategic goals and core issues. Typically though, an AMC manages several associations from one company location, providing a wide range of benefits, including shared technology systems and purchasing power. An in-house administrator is seldom so knowledgeable that he or she excels in member recruitment, event management, financial planning, marketing etc. An AMC, on the other hand, has staff and contractors with all these specific skills. It is able to leverage resources and its customers reap the benefits.

The goal of an association management company is to take the burden off the volunteer board and committee members and free more time for them to concentrate on the reasons why the society exists in the first place.