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Tips for Running Effective Annual Meetings

Your Annual Meeting or Annual Members Meeting is more than just a normal meeting. This meeting is required by law for every corporate entity, even if considered a “non-profit” corporation, and following the particular rules of these meetings is very important.

All annual meetings are guided  according to bylaws or statute for not-for-profit corporate act including:

  • The number of members present; in person or via proxy
  • How the meeting is noticed
  • How the meeting is convened
  • When casting ballots

Technical issues related to these items can cause your meeting to be invalid and require a do-over or worse, can be deemed illegal.

Who Runs an Annual Meeting?

In an Annual Meeting, directors do not control as a Board. Each casts their votes on the issues and for the election of any new directors, but this meeting is different than a Board meeting.

Most frequently, the President will act as the Chairperson of the meeting.  However, there are circumstances where the membership may nominate and appoint a Chairperson for the meeting.  The chairperson may include preliminary remarks prior to the meeting when there is unusual or complicated business to come.

What is Accomplished at Annual Meetings?

The agenda for these meetings should be specific when addressing the items that need to be voted on. The Board members, acting as any other owner, may certainly make a motion and all present vote.

It is appropriate that members should be provided the opportunity to speak and address any issues they feel are important to be brought before the membership.  This could indicate something for the Board to take under advisement or to act on in the coming year, not for members to vote on then.

Voting Guidelines

Voting is the method of expressing the collective will of the homeowners.  There are five basic ways for that voting process to take place:

1.    General Consent

  • Used when there are no objections.

2.    Voice Vote

  • Used for majority voting.

3.    Shows of Hands

  • Another style voting for majority. Hands can be counted but roll call or ballot would be more correct for exact counting.

4.    Roll Call

  • Requires members to be called by name for vote.

5.    Ballot or Voting Machine

  • Used for exact voting. Unless the Association bylaws provide for an alternative method of election, voting by ballot or by voting machine is required for electing board members.

Each type of voting can be used effectively at a well-run meeting of the members.

Tips for Successful Annual Meetings

A successful annual meeting requires planning in advance and clear communication to the members. Preparations made for this meeting are of great importance to the legality and functionality of your meeting.

In some communities, the documents may require items such as a Designated Voter Certificate.  Others have different specific requirements, which is why it’s so important to read the documents and be aware of the requirements prior to the meeting.

Planning your agenda, knowing the items to be voted upon, and communicating these things with your members will help you run a smooth and legal meeting!

 


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Keys to Effective Board Meetings

In my 20 years of community association management, I have either attended organized, participated in, or spoken at over 2,000 Board meetings.