One of the most common complaints I hear about nonprofit Board meetings is that they are long, dull, and boring.
I’ll have to agree. I’ve sat through a few that were mind-numbing. Meetings like this will run off good Board members in a flash.
So how do you change it?
First, use a consent agenda.
This is a way of structuring your meeting so that you can handle the routine things quickly.
For example, on your consent agenda, include things like
- finance report
- committee reports
- Executive Director report
All these things must be in writing and should be sent to Board members several days before the meeting. It is each Board member’s responsibility to read the items before the meeting. At the meeting, all these items are voted on at once.
If anyone wants to discuss a particular item, that item is pulled off the consent agenda and placed on the table for discussion. Otherwise, there’s only one motion to approve (instead of individual motions for each item) and one vote.
This alone can save you tons of time!
The rest of your Board meeting should include
1. Items needing conversation among Board leaders, Board members, and staff
2. Items needing a decision or a vote
3. Big-picture thinking and planning
If you can stay focused on those things that matter to Board members (like big-picture thinking) and make sure each Board member is involved in the conversation, you’ll have a much more satisfying experience at your Board meetings.