A board meeting for nonprofits should be a lively and informative occasion. The best way to do this is to use clear communication that focuses on the organization’s mission and goals. Meetings can be dominated by a long-winded presentation of the organization or heated discussions about specific topics led by one or two people (we all recognize that person). The addition of a few extra elements to the meeting could keep it interesting and help board members remain committed to your organization’s purpose. A video showing client testimonials can be an effective way to reconnect your board members to your mission.

Check that the agenda for board meetings is well organized in advance. A meeting facilitator can help, or a group of board members can be assigned the task of preparing the agenda. Board members who are rushing for important documents while they are in the middle of discussing them or, worse, do they not have them on hand at all could disrupt an otherwise productive meeting.

Boards should dedicate no more than 25 percent of their meeting to updates and “have-to’s.” A lot of time is spent by board members getting lost in the details of officers’ reports, committee chair reports, and other routine items. Many of these tasks could be reduced to 5-10 mins, and easily included in a meeting pack or regular emailed updates to the board.

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