Board meetings are a great opportunity for directors of non-profit organizations to discuss a broad range of issues. The topics could range from evaluating the performance of an organization to discussing how the organization can move forward with future strategies. Nonprofits often rely on the guidance of board members with diverse backgrounds and experiences to steer the organization toward success.

In order to have a productive board meeting, it’s crucial that everyone is prepared and has read the pertinent documents ahead of time. The agenda should be drafted in collaboration and shared with the board members prior to the meeting so that all participants have time to study the materials and prepare for discussion. Nothing renders a meeting ineffective like having people scramble to understand key points simultaneously and it is essential that agendas for meetings include enough information for participants to participate effectively.

By establishing clear guidelines for decision-making and communicating them to the participants, the board can align discussions toward a common objective. This helps avoid unnecessary discussions that take up time during meetings and prevent the board from achieving an agreement or taking a vote on crucial issues. Technology tools that permit real-time collaboration make it easy for board members to communicate with one with each other and share documents regardless of whether they are geographically separated.

The ideal mix of board members will create an atmosphere that is more productive and make meetings more lively. It is important to choose an appropriate mix of optimism and pessimism, age with youth and experience with new ideas. Also, changing the venue and/or time of day can also encourage discussion by energizing environment and drawing attendees out of their regular routines. It is important to evaluate the quality of meetings each year. Give each board member two sticky note and ask them to rate the overall satisfaction of the meetings from + (what is working well) to – (what is in need of improvement).