It’s a rare meeting where the board of directors has enough time to accomplish everything it needs to, and having an established and focused board meeting agenda helps the board maximize accuracy, efficiency, and productivity. A board meeting agenda lists the items a board needs to discuss in chronological order during a board meeting.
Board meeting agendas include items for managing routine business and tackling special projects. This article gives an overview of the following:
- What is a board meeting agenda?
- Why board meeting agendas are important
- Structure of a board meeting agenda
- How to create an agenda for a board meeting
- Sample board meeting agenda template
What Is an Agenda for Board Meetings?
A board meeting agenda serves as a roadmap for the board chair in conducting a board meeting. It lists the board meeting items the board needs to discuss in the order they need to discuss them.
A board meeting agenda will also contain the following elements:
- Nonprofit’s name, address
- Date, time, and location of the meeting
- Names of those invited to attend
Who Sets the Agenda for Board Meetings?
In most cases, the board secretary will set the agenda for a board meeting, although any board member can do it. The secretary often puts the board meeting agenda together in collaboration with the board president. The secretary typically asks board members if they have any items they want to be added to the agenda. All this can be done within your board management system.
Why Are Board Meeting Agendas Important?
Primarily, board meeting agendas set the tone for a meeting and give the board direction. These agendas are of great value for the board chair when using Robert’s Rules of Order to facilitate the meeting. In addition, it assist the board secretary in writing up meeting minutes.
Here are some other advantages to using a board meeting agenda for every board meeting:
- Ensures all discussion items are covered
- Tasks can be assigned to board members for follow-up
- Promotes collaboration
- Sets time limits for discussions
- Reduces off-topic discussions
- Assists the board secretary in taking minutes
- Streamlines the meeting
Structure of a Typical Board Meeting Agenda
What should be included in a board meeting agenda? The structure of a typical board meeting agenda includes the following elements:
- Call to order – The board chair announces, “The meeting is now called to order” and states the time.
- Welcoming remarks – The board chair welcomes everyone and makes introductions if necessary.
- Reading of the mission and vision statements – This is an optional step.
- Roll call – The board secretary takes a roll, which can be oral and should also be written.
- Changes to the agenda – The board chair asks if any of the members wish to make any changes to the agenda. If so, the board votes on additions, changes, or deletions.
- Quorum – The board chair states whether a quorum is present.
- Approval of minutes – The board chair calls for a vote to approve the prior meetings’ minutes.
- Officer reports – The executive director gives a report followed by reports by the officers if applicable.
- Financial reports – The treasurer gives a report of donations, the budget, and any potential expenditures.
- Committee reports – Committee chairs may give a brief oral report of their committee’s work.
- Old business – Discussion of items that were not resolved at the last meeting, those that need further discussion, and those that require a vote.
- New business – Discussion of new items along with the action needed to table them, delay action on them, or refer them to a committee.
- Action items – A review of tasks board members need to do before the next meeting.
- Comments, announcements, and other business – The board chair offers congratulations, condolences, and makes other special announcements.
- Adjournment – The board chair announces the formal closing of the meeting and states the time the meeting ended.
The parts of the agenda may be listed as numerals or Roman numerals to identify board items for discussion.
What Is a Consent Agenda for a Board Meeting?
Boards often use a consent agenda to group routine items that must be voted on at every meeting into one agenda item. Consent agendas help to streamline board meetings and allow more time for other agenda items.
What Is an Executive Session?
The board may also go into executive session at any time during the meeting. It’s common for boards that use executive sessions at every meeting to hold an executive session at the beginning or end of a board meeting. Executive sessions may also be held outside of a board meeting.
How to Create an Agenda for a Board Meeting
A focused agenda sets the stage for greater participation and engagement by the board. A clear, concise agenda assists the board chair in making sure the board addresses everything they need to.
The following list can serve as a checklist for creating a board meeting agenda:
- Review the prior meeting’s agenda
- Use a board agenda template
- Fill in the appropriate agenda items
- Ask for feedback from the board by a certain date
- Finalize the agenda
- Review the final board agenda with the board chair
Once the secretary creates the agenda, they should send it out to all members in enough time for them to review it and request additions, deletions, or changes. The final agenda helps the board chair keep the board meeting on track and moving along. After the chair calls the meeting to order, the agenda of a board meeting may be modified at the start of the meeting by board member request.
The prior meeting’s agenda serves as a template for the next meeting. The secretary should preplan the agenda by reviewing the past agenda and minutes, and asking board members for items or issues to be included. This reminds board members to prepare reports or other documents that need to be brought before the board.
Also, the board secretary should make sure the meeting space is available and has the necessary equipment to run the meeting.
Sample Board Meeting Agenda Template
123 Main St.
Anytown, USA 12345
January 1, 2023
Time: 9:00 am
123 Main St. Suite A
Anytown, USA 12345
I. Call to Order
II. Approval of the Agenda
III. Approval of the Minutes
- Executive Director
- Finance Director
- Nominating Committee
- Governance Committee
- Public Relations Committee
V. Old Business
- Board nominations
- Contract negotiations
VI. New Business
- Special Event
VII. Comments and Announcements
Next meeting date is March 1, 2023
To save you the trouble of having to find a board meeting agenda template for your board to use, we have created a sample board meeting agenda template your board can use immediately. Our board meeting agenda sample can be used when the full board meets, as well as for committee work.
Use a Board Meeting Agenda Template For Every Meeting
A well-planned agenda with a structured order is important for a successful board meeting. To keep discussions from going on way too long, the agenda should state the meeting end time, and the board chair should review the agenda before the meeting starts and have an idea of how much time the board can spend on various agenda items, so the meeting doesn’t run over time.
One of the benefits of an electronic agenda is that it’s easy to list a start time for each agenda item to help the board chair keep the meeting on track. This is a great strategy for reining in meetings that are taking too long or when the agenda includes items that require plenty of discussion.
The board agenda should be seen as a tool for doing board business in an efficient, fair, and productive manner. To be effective, use your board meeting agendas with consistency and fidelity.
If you would like to learn more about how BoardEffect can support your board agenda management, we’d love to speak with you! Request a demo and let us share how we help more than 5,000 boards in 48 countries.
BoardEffect, a Diligent solution, leads in providing innovative boardroom technology to nonprofit organizations. Serving 14,000 mission-driven organizations, Diligent empowers boards with tools to drive positive change. Our secure board management software streamlines operations, enhances governance practices, and enables confident decision-making. With BoardEffect, mission-driven organizations unlock potential, accelerate mission delivery, and make lasting impact in their communities.