In my experience there are three major pitfalls that can affect the ability of a nonprofit board of directors to fulfill its duty and serve its organization. Pitfall 1 – lack of immediate feedback In many cases, nonprofit boards are dealing with matters whose results will occur sometime in the future—next month, next year, or…

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Robert’s Rules of Order is quite strict about dealing with something once in a meeting and moving on. If a motion has been defeated, the only way to bring the same motion up again during that meeting is to move to reconsider the motion. You have to have voted with the prevailing side—the side that…

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It is a basic principle of parliamentary procedure that the decision of the majority, voting at a properly called meeting, is the decision of the body as a whole. The members whose views did not prevail are bound to go along with the majority. This goes back deep in time, to the origins of our…

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Guest post by Colette Collier Trohan on how NOT to do things by avoiding action in Robert’s Rules. Many thanks Colette for this useful summary! Have you ever been in a meeting and had the sinking feeling there was no good path forward? If the motion was adopted, perhaps it would inadvertently send the wrong…

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Rosenberg’s Rules of Order is a simplified set of parliamentary rules widely used in California. In many respects it parallels Robert’s Rules of Order. Rosenberg offers an excellent discussion on the role of the chair and the basic format for an agenda item discussion. However, Jurassic Parliament believes that there are several problems with Rosenberg’s…

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If your board isn’t following its own bylaws, here are some different approaches you can take. 1. Educate the board about liability The first step is to educate the board. Point out to them that bylaws are not a “suggestion,” they are mandatory. They form the foundation of how the entire organization functions. Failing to…

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Weldon L. Merritt, PRP, CPP, has graciously authorized Jurassic Parliament to publish this listing of the rights and responsibilities of ordinary members of an organization. All citations are taken from Robert’s Rules of Order Newly Revised, 11th edition (RONR). Please note that neither the list of member rights nor the list of member responsibilities is…

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Local governments face a tough climate these days. Customs of courtesy have faded and people are often both passionate and rude about their issues. If you are a mayor or presiding officer of a public body, it is critical that you control disorder in your chambers. Council meetings are meetings of the council The basic…

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A colleague asked for our best tips on leading committee meetings at work using Robert’s Rules. In general, Robert’s Rules don’t apply at work The first and obvious point is that work is not a venue where Robert’s Rules and parliamentary procedure apply. That system of meeting management is designed for assemblies—groups—where all members have…

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When I posted this question, Betsy Cawn of Lake County, California wrote a short and pungent response. Much appreciated, Betsy! Thanks to you, Ann, Robert’s Rules DO NOT drive me crazy — but unlearned colleagues who refuse to even discuss the abbreviated set of “simple guidelines” you provide certainly DO. Somewhere between the extreme formality…

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