“Order of Business” says when you can make a motion

By Ann Macfarlane / December 9, 2022 /

It is a fundamental principle of Robert’s Rules of Order Newly Revised, 12th edition (RONR) that main motions must be taken up at the proper time on the agenda. (A main motion proposes action by the body). This is necessary in order to preserve order, and the rights of members. To that end, RONR establishes…

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No second – should motion be recorded in minutes?

By Ann Macfarlane / October 4, 2022 /

Dear Dinosaur:  A councilmember made a motion and no one seconded it. Should it be included in the minutes? Answer: This is a simple question with a slightly complex answer. Robert’s Rules of Order Newly Revised, 12th edition says that all main motions which are moved in the course of a meeting, except normally any…

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Two motions at once?

By Ann Macfarlane / June 2, 2022 /

Dear Dinosaur: At a recent board meeting, a motion was made and seconded and there was discussion. During discussion, another motion was made and seconded to delay consideration of the original motion until the next board meeting (we have monthly meetings). A challenge to this second motion was made stating that the original motion was…

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Newly elected? 6 key questions for success

By Ann Macfarlane / January 7, 2022 / Comments Off on Newly elected? 6 key questions for success

Congratulations on being elected to your nonprofit board of directors! Here are six key questions as you prepare for your new gig, with answers below: What is my moral and legal “duty of care” as a nonprofit board director? Is it a good idea to “go along to get along” on a nonprofit board? What…

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After rescinding the motion, what next?

By Ann Macfarlane / September 10, 2021 / Comments Off on After rescinding the motion, what next?

Dear Dinosaur:  In your September newsletter, you said that anybody could move to rescind a motion, regardless of how they voted originally. After a motion is rescinded, can a new motion pertaining to the same topic replace it? Answer: The motion to rescind cancels out the original motion and leaves the field open for a…

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Was this proper use of “Point of Information”?

By Ann Macfarlane / July 23, 2021 /

Dear Dinosaur: A board member at a condo association meeting made a motion.  The motion did not receive a second.  The board member then said, “Point of Information,” and continued to state his opinion of why the motion was important.  Was this the proper use of “Point of Information?  If so, what is the use of…

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When can you bring up a new topic during a meeting?

By Ann Macfarlane / June 11, 2021 / Comments Off on When can you bring up a new topic during a meeting?

At a recent council meeting I attended, the city issued a proclamation honoring efforts to assist the homeless. In responding to the proclamation, a local pastor asked the council to provide extra funding for their project. Before the mayor could move on to public comment, a council member made a motion to provide the funding.…

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Free Robert’s Rules motions chart

By Ann Macfarlane / January 5, 2021 / Comments Off on Free Robert’s Rules motions chart

Are you puzzled by the system of motions in Robert’s Rules? It’s a very specific aspect of parliamentary procedure that can seem mystifying and muddling. Yet once you get a handle on it, it’s not so bad! Here is a free chart for download that shows the relationships of key motions in Robert’s Rules of…

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Table, Postpone, or Postpone Indefinitely

By Ann Macfarlane / June 11, 2020 /

  The motion “To Lay on the Table” is commonly shortened to “Table.” This is a motion that is often misused. The correct use of this motion is to put a Main Motion aside for a short while because some other more urgent business has arisen. It can only be made once a Main Motion…

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Making a motion is a power move

By Ann Macfarlane / May 1, 2020 /

As readers know, in a small board (up to about 12 people), it is fine to discuss an issue without having a formal motion on the table. Many of our nonprofit boards do this. A topic is listed on the agenda, and people kick it around before coming to a consensus about what to do.…

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