How to Write Minutes for an Effective Board Meeting
Board meeting minutes are an essential component of all board meetings. They serve as the official record of what decisions were made, who was in attendance, and anything else consequential about a board meeting. Board meeting minutes can potentially protect your organization against liability, document decision-making, and create a clear list of actions and next steps. The pressure’s on to get it right.
Taking board meeting minutes might seem simple enough. However, the reality is it can be challenging to distill an hours-long meeting into a few pages of concise, understandable board meeting minutes. This is especially true for someone who’s not exactly sure how to take board meeting minutes.
What are the Benefits of Meeting Minutes?
Meeting minutes serve as a single source of truth of what happened during a given board meeting. Keeping such a record is beneficial for a number of different reasons. Let’s explore 4 of the top benefits of meeting minutes.
- Accountability and progress: Meeting minutes serve as a record of a board’s long and short-term planning. They reflect what goals, projects, and initiatives the board has committed to, who is responsible for what, and key deadlines. Having such a record helps hold boards (and individual board members) accountable. Referencing meeting minutes over time can also be an effective way to track progress toward goals.
- Continuity: Meeting minutes help to ensure continuity from one meeting to the next; boards can pick up where they left off at the last meeting rather than rehashing the same information and topics. What’s more, board meeting minutes help ensure continuity as members join and exit the board.
- Legal protection: Meeting minutes are a legal record of what happened during a board meeting. If an organization were to encounter a lawsuit, there’s a chance meeting minutes could be subpoenaed. Comprehensive, well-written meeting minutes can potentially protect the organization (and its board members) against liability. On the other hand, if there are missing or incorrect details in the meeting minutes (or if there aren’t any meeting minutes at all), the consequences can be devastating to the organization and its board members.
- Documented rationale for decision-making: Boards are responsible for making many decisions for the organizations they serve. Meeting minutes serve as a record of those key decisions – as well as the reasoning behind why they were made. If a question arises about why a specific decision was made, meeting minutes can be used to answer those questions.
Meeting Minutes Example: Simple Meeting Template
If you’re in a hurry, or have a minimalistic need, this Simple Meeting Minutes template is for you. It frontlines the Goal of the meeting, segues into the Agenda Items, and closes with a Next Steps section.
This meeting minutes template is perfect for true Simple Meetings because it focuses everyone on the Goal of the meeting, which is what simple meetings are for, after all. In a simple meeting, no one is concerned with Roberts’ Rules of Order, a quorum, recording votes according to accepted parliamentary procedure.
When you see that your needs are better served by a more detailed design, keep scrolling to see other popular examples of meeting minutes, each with a free template – or use the search or filter functions at our directory of Free Meeting Agenda Templates.