For non-profit boards striving to do a good job, crafting effective minutes for the board of directors is a vital task. It makes sure that all stakeholders can be aware of how the board is working toward its goals, provides an accountability point for board members, and helps to hold the organization accountable to funders.

The format of meeting minutes is usually an art form and will differ between organizations. There are a few important things to be included in all meeting minutes. These include:

A summary of the main topics that were discussed and the decision taken. The secretary of the board should record the outcomes (i.e. the motion was passed or not) and the reasoning behind each vote. This will create an audit trail of the board’s actions should legal action arises.

If the board decides to form a committee to weigh the particular issue or deal, the minutes should clearly declare the decision and include the proportion of attendees who constitute the quorum. The minutes should state whether the committee will have full power or can make a recommendation which requires approval from the board.

The person taking minutes must be neutral. This is particularly crucial in legal proceedings where minutes are often used to judge the actions of an organization. It is important to have a third-party independently read the minutes in order to ensure that they are correct, impartial and complete.

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