parliamentary procedure

Why bylaws?

By Ann Macfarlane / March 15, 2022 /

Guest article by Ted Weisgal Are bylaws the be-all and end-all of organizational development? If you create good ones will a flourishing organization be the natural outcome? Probably not. Good bylaws are critically important, but you should also have: A mission that resonates with people, Orderly meetings, Members who are reliable, Agendas that justify people’s…

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Should you adopt “The Modern Rules of Order” by Donald Tortorice?

By Ann Macfarlane / March 10, 2022 / Comments Off on Should you adopt “The Modern Rules of Order” by Donald Tortorice?

Guest post by Weldon L. Merritt, JD, PRP-R, CPP-Retired The Modern Rules of Order, 5th edition (MRO), by Donald A. Tortorice, a law professor at William and Mary School of Law, is one of the many works intended to replace Robert’s Rules of Order Newly Revised, 12th edition (RONR), as a parliamentary authority for adoption…

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Don’t vote to accept, adopt, approve or receive reports

By Ann Macfarlane / February 11, 2022 /

Updated November 20, 2022 Boards and councils often fail to process reports correctly. When an officer or a committee submits a written report, the board usually should NOT vote to accept, adopt, approve, or receive it. Instead, the report is noted as received for filing. No action is necessary. The minutes simply state: Last month’s…

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What is a resolution in Robert’s Rules?

By Ann Macfarlane / February 4, 2022 /

In Robert’s Rules of Order, a RESOLUTION is a special type of MOTION. My friend the late John Stackpole, a distinguished parliamentarian, described it this way: “A resolution is a motion in fancy dress.” A resolution is used for important or complex questions, or when greater formality is desired. A resolution should be put into…

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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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Meeting or session: what’s the difference in Robert’s Rules?

By Ann Macfarlane / December 17, 2021 / Comments Off on Meeting or session: what’s the difference in Robert’s Rules?

When a group of people gather together to conduct their organization’s business, they are in a meeting. The group of people is called an “assembly,” and the event by which they gather is called a “meeting.” Sometimes in order to conduct business the assembly meets in a series of meetings. This series of meetings is…

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What does it look like if the chair is being a bully?

By Ann Macfarlane / December 2, 2021 / Comments Off on What does it look like if the chair is being a bully?

Guest post by Nicole Schenk Do you suspect that your chair is being a bully? Essentially, this occurs when the chair is not doing their duty to protect the rights of members during meetings, and allows their own personal beliefs or preferences to override their commitment to their duties as chair (or president or mayor—whoever…

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Don’t drink on Zoom

By Ann Macfarlane / November 12, 2021 / Comments Off on Don’t drink on Zoom

Dear Dinosaur: As our Zoom meeting rolls along, a member of our board starts making quips and silly jokes. He keeps his video off and takes a long time to unmute when called upon to vote. Then he leaves himself unmuted, and starts making jokes while others are speaking. A few days after the meeting,…

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People don’t want to be wrong

By Ann Macfarlane / November 3, 2021 /

Do you have board members who are reluctant to use Robert’s Rules? Who decline offers of training or useful publications? I think it’s because people don’t want to be wrong, and they suspect that if they take up this complex system, they’ll find themselves to be wrong quite often. One city clerk has told me…

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Right of directors to share feelings outside board?

By Ann Macfarlane / October 29, 2021 /

Dear Dinosaur: Board directors of our organization want to express their individuality and share their honest feelings with others outside of the board when they were not in agreement with the vote. When they do, those impacted by the vote feel hurt, disappointed, or pushed out. It seems that we are setting up a rift…

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