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How to Plan an Effective Annual Meeting for Your Non-Profit

June 22, 2023

As we hit this mid-year mark, you are likely getting ready for your organization’s annual meeting. Wondering how to effectively plan? There are several considerations you’ll want to take into account.

Editor’s Note: This blog has been updated as of June 2023 for accuracy and comprehensiveness.

For many nonprofit organizations, having an annual meeting is a requirement. The annual meeting serves multiple purposes, including the board of director elections, evaluating and assessing progress towards achieving its mission, reviewing financials, setting the budget, and setting goals for the upcoming year. Here are some planning tips you might want to consider as you prepare for your meeting.

The meeting format

As long as you adhere to your bylaws, you have options when it comes to the meeting format. Some options include:

  • Hold a classic round-table meeting
  • Hold a social event with networking options and guest speakers, which presents potential fundraising opportunities. Donors like to see that your board is fulfilling its duties in monitoring the organization's progress towards its mission
  • Holding an event live is a great way to reconnect after the last few years of virtual and hybrid meetings. Check your bylaws as many could mandate in-person annual meetings.

What should we address in the meeting?

Once you decide which format to hold the meeting, you will want to consider addressing the following items:

1. Evaluate your executive director's performance- Your board can take time at the annual meeting to plan for your executive director’s annual performance review, or to discuss the results of the review. The board might also evaluate and revise the executive's job description, duties, and compensation.

2. Elect new board members- Elect the directors who will serve on the board. Review your bylaws to determine term lengths and voting procedures.

3. Evaluate program achievements- The board should take time to review the prior year's activities and major achievements and assess whether the organization is fulfilling its mission and meeting its goals.

4. Reviewing financial performance and budgets- The treasurer should provide financial reports for the board to review. Based on the financial reports and strategic plan, the board will set the budget for the upcoming year.

5. Set goals for the upcoming year and review policies, such as:

  • The board of directors onboarding procedures and training
  • Bylaw updates
  • Human resource policies
  • Insurance plans and employee benefit plans
  • Legal compliance policies and creating a schedule to review the organization's licenses, state filings, and tax returns and record retention policies
  • Diversity and inclusion policies
  • Fundraising strategies
  • Governance policies
  • Media relations
  • Safety protocols
  • Strategic plan
  • Technology policies including cybersecurity plans and hardware replacement schedules
  • Volunteer management.

Board education is something we at the firm value and are happy to help facilitate. Please contact us for more information.

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