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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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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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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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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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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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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