Nonprofit organizations, like many voluntary groups in our country, struggle to locate and recruit adequate leadership. People are living such busy lives, with the demands of work, family, and personal well-being, that they find it a challenge to take on a leadership role. When there is a dearth of candidates to lead an organization—and often…

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With fall and the turning of the year, many organizations are struggling over their elections. We can’t do things the way we have always done, so what are the options? Here are a few thoughts on holding elections in this pandemic. As always, this is not legal advice. Be sure to consult your attorney! 1. …

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The biggest problem we encounter in meeting minutes is too much verbiage. Striving to do justice to their job, secretaries sometimes include the arguments that are made, what people say in response, and all the minutiae of discussion. There is a better way! According to Robert’s Rules of Order, minutes should record what is DONE,…

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Guest post by Craig Freshley. We are big fans of Craig’s wisdom and are delighted to share this post with our readers. Visit Craig’s website for more superb tips on meetings and leadership. In principle, failure is an option. In fact, it is only through failure – the timeless evolutionary principle of trial and error…

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Several readers have written to me recently with questions about their authority as president of a nonprofit organization. It seems that Jurassic Parliament has been almost too successful at expounding the principle that during the meeting, the chair is the servant of the group, and the group is the final authority. These readers drew interesting…

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When I served on the board of the American Translators Association, a fellow board member drove me crazy. His blithe assumption of superiority and his ego were insufferable. Of course, it is a truism of psychology that a strong emotional reaction like that is linked to unresolved inner issues. When I looked at the matter…

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There are 3 lists that every secretary of a nonprofit board should maintain in the organization’s official record book: A running list of the dates of board meetings. A list of officers elected or appointed and their terms, including dates when they resign or are removed from office if such occurs. A list of all…

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A friend was recently elected president of his homeowner’s association (HOA). The annual meeting has been run loosely, more like a social event than a business meeting. At choir rehearsal he asked me whether he should tighten things up a bit. The next minute another singer said to me, “The biggest problem at my condominium…

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Directors of nonprofit organizations accept substantial and serious responsibilities when they agree to serve on a governing board. In order to fulfill those responsibilities, it is important for them to understand the fundamental rules and principles that guide their meetings. We have found that there is much confusion about nonprofit boards holding meetings in executive…

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Updated 5/11/2020   We’re having to adjust to a different world right now. In general, it’s always best to have an in-person meeting on matters of great importance. This provides the fullest opportunity to discuss, debate, consider alternatives, and come to agreement. When that’s impossible, you have to look at alternatives. This article lays out the…

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