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They are volunteers, too!
Look here for information and the latest techniques to develop your board or committee. The purpose is to help those who work or serve on nonprofit boards of directors or committees.

~September 2010~


Most volunteer committees use meeting summaries to record decisions.  These informal documents are useful for history of committee work.  They, however, have less legal standing than official minutes.  Here is a checklist to use when teaching a secretary how to take official minutes.

Are minutes required?

The first step for recording the work of a committee or board is to decide if meeting summaries are sufficient or official minutes are needed.  Minutes are sometimes a legal requirement of a board or group.

Select the person to keep the minutes

A committee member should be selected because he/she has something to offer to the committee.  If the minutes are to be accurate the person doing the writing needs to be able to concentrate on that task, not participate in the discussion.  Appointing a member takes a person out of the discussion, often to the detriment of the discussion.  This can be remedied by asking someone outside the committee to take the minutes.  Minutes require approval and will be corrected in subsequent meetings.  If the committee does have a secretary, he/she can review the draft following the meeting, working cooperatively with the person taking the minutes.

Sheets

Create a sign in sheet for the meeting.  This is likely the most accurate means to record who attends.  Be sure the form is consistent from meeting to meeting, lists date, time, and name of chair. It should be attached to approved minutes.

Start Time

Record the starting time of the minutes and who is present.  Some minutes also record absences.

Use standard meeting format

Robert’s Rules of Order is the most commonly used format for meeting minutes in most organizations.  There are other minute’s formats.  The committee needs to check by-laws to see what the organization dictates.  For more information on Robert’s Rules visit their Web site http://www.robertsrules.org/

Recording Motions

Minutes record motions, seconds of motions, and subsequent votes.  Limit recording discussion to pertinent points only. Describe the type of vote (voice or paper ballot) and state whether it passed or failed.

Other business

Other business, reports, new business, comments, etc. are reported in brief.  If there is written material it should be copied and attached to the minutes.  This true of PowerPoint presentation, too.  Be sure to record who made the report and their title, if applicable.


Record the ending time of the meeting and sign the final copy of the minutes.

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