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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FREE WEBINAR Effective Video and Telephone Meetings This webinar will present best practices to run effective meetings by video or telephone. Get the insights you need to run powerful meetings at a distance. In this challenging time, we have to be able to work effectively when we are physically separated. The skill of the leader…

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The basic principle underlying conflict of interest is easy to state but applying it in real-life cases can be complicated. In a nutshell, when you accept a position on a local government body or a nonprofit board, you are obliged to put the interests of the organization above your own personal interest, and you can’t…

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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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