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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.

~August 2011~


The secretary of a board or committee is a key player in the health of the group.  This is the person who manages the work of the group and records decisions made by the group.

Boards often have a secretary who is elected.  It is useful to have a person who is not a board member take the actual minutes and then work closely with the elected secretary to craft a final document.  This person is referred to as the minute’s secretary.  This allows the elected individual to participate fully in meeting discussions.  Keeping accurate records requires attention to detail.  It is hard to take notes and follow a spirited conversation.  Hence the minutes secretary to take the notes.  female face

The minutes for the board are a legal document and need someone skilled at note taking.  The elected individual can always edited, clarify, and correct as needed.  Minutes are usually signed by the secretary and chair/president.  But, what other things might a secretary do to make a meeting go smoothly?

Before the Meeting

  1. Consult with the President/Chairperson on the order of business for the meeting.  It helps when everyone knows what is to come.
  2. Be sure there is a system to create a notice of the meeting for members and other stakeholders.
  3. Have copies of the agenda distributed prior to the meeting
  4. Circulate to all members (a) any reports to be discussed at the upcoming meeting and (b) a copy of the agenda, minutes from the previous meeting
  5. Make sure that any reports or information requested at the last meeting is available

At the Meeting

  1. Arrive in before the meeting with the minutes from the previous meeting
  2. Have copies of relevant correspondence or other business matters
  3. Record the names of those who are present, and convey and record apologies received from those who are absent;
  4. Read the minutes of the previous meeting, and if they are approved, obtain the President/Chairperson's signature on two copies.  Both go in the board minutes book. (Any written reports also go in this book.  It is a history of meetings.)
  5. Report on action or matters arising from the previous minutes.
  6. Read any important correspondence that has been received;
  7. Unless there is a Minutes Secretary

    dotTake notes of the meeting
    dotRecord the key points
    dotMake sure that all decisions and proposals are recorded, including name of the person or group responsible for carrying them out.
    dotMake sure action points are clear

  8. Make sure that the President/Chairperson is supplied with all the necessary information for items on the agenda, and remind the Chairperson if an item has been overlooked.

After the Meeting

  1. Prepare a draft of the minutes working with the minute’s secretary.
  2. Consult the President/Chairperson and most senior staff member (where relevant) for approval of minutes
  3. Send a reminder notice of each decision requiring action to the relevant person; telephone or email, or by a printed ‘action list' if minutes are mailed to members
  4. Promptly send all correspondence as decided by the group

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