Thursday, November 20, 2008

What Should be Included in the Board Minutes?

Minutes are the permanent, legal record of meeting proceedings. They should be clear, accurate, brief, and objective. BoardSource suggests board minutes include the following basics:

• Name of the organization
• Date and time of meeting
• Board members in attendance, excused and absent
• Existence of a quorum
• Motions made and by whom
• Brief account of any debate
• Voting results
• Names of abstainers and dissenters
• Reports and documents introduced
• Future action steps
• Time meeting ends
• Signature of secretary and chair

Consider the board minutes as a record of decisions made by board members, not a play-by-play account of discussion leading up to those decisions. When debate occurs, note only major points for and against the topic. Including quotes or perspectives attributed to individual board members in the minutes is generally not a recommended practice, as it is important for board members to be able to freely discuss issues without judgment or liability concerns. At the point of voting on issues however, names should be recorded for all members abstaining or voting “no.”

Source: Board Source 2008.

Lois Schmidt, Nonprofit Resource Specialist, Willmar, Marshall and Redwood Falls

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