Posts by Ann Macfarlane

Do Robert’s Rules drive you crazy?

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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Executive committee cannot overturn board decision

A reader contacted us recently to ask whether the executive committee of his organization had the right to overturn a decision made by the full board. The answer is no, unless the bylaws give that right. Similarly, a board of directors may not overturn a decision made by the full membership. Robert’s Rules is very…

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Remedies for abuse of authority by the chair in a meeting

Robert's Rules of Order 11th edition

Abuse of authority by the chair can be challenging. Here is the guidance from Robert’s Rules of Order. Our blog posts listed below give more information on the practical aspects of dealing with abuse of authority by the chair. ENFORCING POINTS OF ORDER AND APPEALS. If the chair at a meeting acts improperly (for example,…

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Amendment in Robert’s Rules

The motion to amend presents many challenges. We hope this article provides some clarity. Download PDF Make a Main Motion to start the process Robert’s Rules of Order presumes that a group will make a Main Motion—a proposal for action—before holding any discussion. Example: I move that we purchase two new computers for the headquarters…

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Processing motions in Robert’s Rules

There are eight steps to processing ordinary motions in Robert’s Rules. Download PDF At the right time in the agenda, after the member has been recognized by the chair, A member makes a motion. Another member seconds the motion. The chair states the motion. Members discuss and/or amend the motion. The chair restates the motion…

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Agenda in Robert’s Rules

Taking the time to construct a powerful agenda will make a big difference to your meetings. Avoid these agenda mistakes: An agenda that would take two days to get through, not two hours. An agenda that fails to assign suggested time limits for discussion. An agenda that is emailed at 6:00 am for a 7:00…

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Consent agenda: great tool for speedier meetings

One of the most useful tools for efficient meetings is a “consent agenda.” This is a single item of business on a regular agenda that includes several items bundled together. The items cannot be discussed or debated. They are approved with a single vote. To learn about agendas in general, read our article here. Download…

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Don’t put these 6 items in the minutes!

There are half a dozen things that DO NOT BELONG in your minutes. Here they are. 1.  Things that didn’t happen don’t belong in the minutes This may sound unlikely, but we have seen instances where after the meeting, the chair or a board member wants to put something in the minutes that didn’t actually…

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Dealing with difficult members

Have you ever wished that you could just throw a member out of your nonprofit organization? Some people are so challenging that we wish we could! Here are some tips for dealing with difficult members.

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