How to Prepare for a Board Meeting

Board meeting preparation is a process that lays the foundation for a good meeting. It’s the simplest way to achieve optimal results.
By Grace Zientarski

To run a successful board meeting, you will first have to be prepared for one. Good board meeting preparation is a process, but it’s the simplest way to achieve optimal results. Board meeting preparation ensures everyone has the necessary information in the right amount of time and lays the foundation for accomplishment in the boardroom.

The steps you take beforehand set the tone for a productive meeting before it begins. The more you prepare, the more progress you and your board members will be able to make. Diligently preparing for each meeting will eliminate stress and boost your board’s performance and impact. Leading to better meetings that will be worth every minute you spend preparing for them.

Board meeting preparation can be overwhelming, but a systematic process makes a habit out of every necessary step. You will need to gauge the timeline based on the frequency of your board meetings, but it’s essential to include the basic steps.

Plan ahead and create a checklist to make sure the following board meeting preparation tasks are complete.

Schedule the Meeting 

The first step to prepare is deciding when and where the meeting will take place. In addition to the time and date, you will also have to consider the location. Confirm that the meeting space is available, accessible, and has any audio or visual equipment you may need.

After scheduling the meeting, send RSVPs to board members to make sure attendance will meet the quorum. You may need to send reminders to get an updated count of who is planning to attend.

Schedule a Board Director Demo

Develop the Agenda

A solid agenda is a framework for productive and efficient meetings. Effective board meetings concentrate on meaningful discussions and decision-making. Review the last meeting’s minutes to understand what progress the upcoming meeting needs to make.

You should form the agenda to prioritize actionable items relevant to the entire board and include sufficient information regarding each one. Every matter should have an allotted time frame and a goal to either inform, seek information, or reach a decision. Including this information will clarify how and when to move on, allowing your board to solve more problems in the best use of time.

Related: How to Impress and Inspire Your Board

Contact Key Individuals

Previous board minutes should include the action tasks assigned to specific board members. Before the meeting, contact those individuals to check in on progress. It will not only act as a reminder, but it’s a way to offer support on the assigned task. Make separate requests to officers, committees, or anyone who may submit a report. Early communication allows you to prioritize pressing items beforehand and gives everyone time to prepare. 

Compile Board Packets

Like your meeting’s agenda, you will need to prepare your board packet well in advance of the meeting. The board packet is a collection of documents that provides essential information about your nonprofit in a single place. It’s the tool board members need to evaluate problems, form solutions, and make accurate decisions. The documents in a board packet vary by organization, but basic materials include:

  • Meeting agenda
  • Previous meeting minutes
  • Governing documents
  • Officer and Committee Reports
  • Important correspondence
  • Supporting information about agenda items

Distribute Materials

Develop and distribute a preliminary agenda well in advance so board members can prepare and possibly offer feedback. Send a meeting reminder with the finalized agenda and board packet about a week in advance of the meeting. Sending these documents in advance will allow board members to absorb and consider the information. It gives them time to take notes, prepare questions, and engage when they enter the meeting.

Run Through the Meeting

Take the time to run through the meeting materials prior to the meeting. Refer to your finalized agenda and board packet, and go over the items to ensure everything is in order. Consider any questions or potential obstacles board members may have, prepare for them, and enter the boardroom with confidence. 

Related: How to Run a Board Meeting

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