By clicking “Accept”, you agree to the storing of cookies on your device to enhance site navigation, analyze site usage, and assist in our marketing efforts. View our Privacy Policy for more information.
Preferences
Meeting Tips

Free & Copyable Board Meeting Agenda Templates

Published
November 24, 2023
Read time
7
Min Read
Last updated
March 21, 2024
Jenna Pitkälä
Free & Copyable Board Meeting Agenda Templates
Table of contents
Share article:

A well-designed agenda is crucial for efficient board meetings, setting the stage for a focused and strategic dialogue that drives the organization forward.

Easier said than done, right? If you have trouble writing out board meeting agendas, you've come to the right place.

How Are Board Meetings Different From Leadership Meetings?

The essence of board meetings diverges significantly from that of leadership meetings:

  • Participants: While leadership meetings convene the company's internal leadership, including senior and sometimes middle management, board meetings bring together the board of directors. This group often includes both internal leaders and external members, each bringing diverse perspectives essential for guiding the company’s strategic path.
  • Focus: The focus of leadership meetings is more operational, centering on strategic planning for the day-to-day management of the company. In contrast, board meetings deliberate on broader, company-wide policies and high-level governance decisions that steer the long-term course of the organization.
  • Frequency: The pace at which these meetings are held also reflects their nature. Leadership meetings are more frequent, occurring weekly or monthly to maintain the operational tempo. Board meetings, however, tend to be less frequent—quarterly or biannually—mirroring their emphasis on long-term strategic oversight rather than immediate operational details.

Understanding Board Meeting Types

Board meetings come in various forms, each with its specific purpose and requisite agenda structure:

  • Strategic Planning Meetings: Where long-term goals are set and strategies are crafted.
  • Annual General Meetings (AGMs): Where stakeholders review the year's progress and make significant decisions like electing board members.
  • Emergency Meetings: Called at short notice to address urgent issues that cannot wait for the next scheduled meeting.

Tailoring the agenda to the type of board meeting is essential for ensuring that the discussions are relevant and the outcomes are actionable.

There are also other things you need to take into account for an effective board meeting. In this guide, we'll cover:

  • Template 1: Strategic Planning Board Meeting Agenda
  • Template 2: Annual General Board Meeting Agenda
  • Template 3: Emergency Board Meeting Agenda
  • Explanations for Common Agenda Items
  • 10 Bonus Tips for Hosting Great Board Meetings

First, let's look at three samples for an effective board meeting agenda.

Template 1: Strategic Planning Board Meeting Agenda

Strategic planning is essential for all types of organizations, from non-profits to for-profit corporations. These meetings focus on setting long-term goals, developing strategies to achieve them, and ensuring that the organization's activities are aligned with its mission and vision.

Strategic Planning Board Meeting

[Organization's Name]

[Organization's Address]

AGENDA

Date: [Insert Date]

Time: [Insert Time]

Location: [Insert Location or Virtual Meeting Link]

Preparation Notes:

[Insert any preparation or documents required for the meeting, such as strategic plans to review, financial reports, etc.]

  1. Call to Order
  2. Approval of the Agenda
  3. Approval of the Minutes
  4. Executive Director's Report (or CEO's Report for corporations)
  5. Finance Director's Report
  6. Strategic Planning Discussion
  7. New Business
  8. Adjournment

Next Meeting: [Insert Date or 'To be determined']

Template 2: Annual General Board Meeting Agenda

The Annual General Meeting is a crucial yearly convening for any organization. It's where stakeholders across corporations, non-profits, and other entities gather to reflect on the year's performance, scrutinize financial health, and strategize for the future. This meeting is fundamental for fulfilling legal obligations, enhancing transparency, and fostering stakeholder engagement.

Annual General Board Meeting

[Organization's Name]

[Organization's Address]

AGENDA

Date: [Insert Date]

Time: [Insert Time]

Location: [Insert Location or Virtual Meeting Link]

Preparation Notes:

[Insert any specific annual reports or updates members should review before the meeting]

  1. Call to Order
  2. Approval of the Agenda
  3. Approval of the Minutes
  4. Chairperson's Report
  5. Treasurer's Financial Report
  6. Committee Reports
    - Fundraising Committee
    (for non-profits)
    - Audit Committee
    (common in various organizations)
  1. Election of Board Members
  2. Special Resolutions
  3. Adjournment

Next Meeting: [Insert Date or 'To be determined']

Template 3: Emergency Board Meeting Agenda

An Emergency Board Meeting is convened to address issues that require immediate attention and action. These meetings are characterized by their urgency and focus, often called outside the regular meeting schedule. The agenda is streamlined to facilitate quick decision-making while ensuring that every member is informed and prepared to contribute to the urgent matters at hand.

Emergency Board Meeting

[Organization's Name]

[Organization's Address]

AGENDA

Date: [Insert Date]

Time: [Insert Time]

Location: [Insert Location or Virtual Meeting Link]

Preparation Notes:

[Insert specific details about the emergency issue or any briefs that should be read beforehand]

  1. Call to Order
  2. Approval of the Agenda
  3. Executive Session (if needed, particularly for sensitive matters)
  4. Discussion of Emergency Issue
  5. Action Plan and Assignments
  6. Adjournment

Explanations for Common Board Meeting Agenda Items

  • Call to Order: The formal beginning of the meeting, marked by the board chair’s announcement. This signals the official commencement and is recorded in the meeting minutes.
  • Approval of the Agenda: The agenda, which outlines the meeting's structure, is reviewed and can be modified if necessary. Members give their collective consent to follow the approved agenda.
  • Approval of the Minutes: Review of the documentation from the previous meeting for accuracy. It’s a chance for members to ensure that the recorded minutes reflect the discussions and decisions accurately.
  • Executive Director's Report (or CEO's Report for corporations): This report offers insights into the organization's current status, strategic initiatives, and challenges faced since the last meeting.
  • Finance Director's Report: A critical overview of the financial health of the organization, including recent financial activities and future projections.
  • Committee Reports: Specific committees report on their activities and progress. This could include updates from the Fundraising Committee, commonly seen in non-profits, and the Audit Committee, which is essential for all organizations.
  • Strategic Planning Discussion: Time allocated for discussing and updating the organization's strategic direction. This may involve reviewing long-term goals, strategic initiatives, and alignment with the organization's mission and vision.
  • New Business: Introduction and discussion of matters not previously addressed, which may include policy changes, new strategic initiatives, or any other significant new topics.
  • Election of Board Members: A standard item in AGMs where new board members are elected or existing members are re-elected according to the organization's governing rules.
  • Special Resolutions: These are significant items that typically require a formal vote, such as bylaw amendments or major policy decisions.
  • Executive Session: A private session reserved for board members to discuss confidential or sensitive issues without the presence of staff, guests, or the public.
  • Discussion of Emergency Issue: In emergency meetings, the board addresses urgent matters that cannot wait for the next scheduled meeting, focusing on rapid assessment and decision-making.
  • Action Plan and Assignments: After discussing critical issues, the board develops an action plan, delegates tasks, and establishes deadlines for follow-up.
  • Adjournment: The formal conclusion of the meeting, where the board chair announces the end of the session. If a subsequent meeting date is not predetermined, a statement indicating that it will be scheduled as necessary is included.

10 Bonus Tips for Hosting Great Board Meetings

No matter what your role is in the organization, and how much you can influence e.g. the board chair's behavior, these tips should be beneficial. You might receive ideas on how to improve your actions within your role or benchmark good practices that you can teach others. Let's look at what organizations can do better before, during and after meetings.

Pre-Meeting Preparation

1. Set up a Notetaker Tool:

Have more productive board meetings by offloading the notetaking work to AI. This allows the board secretary to engage more in discussion and better make sure no important detail is missed. Their work becomes more efficient while crafting meeting minutes.

Wudpecker is the best choice for this. Once you've set up your account, it automatically joins and records any future meetings for you (you just have to admit it each time). If you're meeting on-site, you can still set up a laptop to record the conversation and you'll receive notes after the meeting (in max 10 minutes).

Wudpecker is compatible with Google Meet, Zoom, and Microsoft Teams. It generates an accurate and objective transcript, meeting summary and action items. The notes are easily shareable to other people. Any number of people can have their own Wudpecker recorder in the same meeting and receive notes to their respective accounts. That way no one has to sacrifice their focus, trying to multitask between taking notes and listening!

Here's how you set it up:

  • Make sure your meeting shows up in your account and the notetaker is able to join it (more detailed info here)
  • Admit the notetaker in your virtual meeting.
  • Access the meeting notes and transcription shortly after the meeting in your account. They stay safely stored in your account unless you remove them.

2. Leverage Committees Effectively:

Have committees perform detailed analyses and bring refined reports to the board for strategic discussions.

For instance, if there's a major fundraising event on the horizon, the Fundraising Committee should present a comprehensive plan, including anticipated challenges and proposed solutions. This allows the board to focus on providing strategic guidance rather than getting into the operational weeds.

3. Adhere to Bylaws and Governance Practices:

Confirm that the agenda and proposed meeting procedures are in line with the organization's bylaws.

A practical application could be reviewing the voting procedures for new board member elections. Ensure that the nomination process outlined in the bylaws is clear in the agenda and that all necessary documentation is prepared and distributed beforehand.

4. Educate and Onboard New Members:

Prior to the meeting, ensure new members are well-acquainted with their roles and the meeting’s objectives.

Consider providing a ‘Board Member Handbook’ to new members, which includes past meeting minutes, bylaws, a directory of current board members, and an overview of the strategic plan. This can be discussed in a pre-meeting orientation session.

During-Meeting Execution

5. Maximize the Board Chair's Leadership:

The board chair should actively facilitate the meeting, ensuring that discussions stay on course and are productive.

During the meeting, they should direct the flow of conversation, tactfully cut off long-winded discussions, and bring focus back to the agenda when needed. The chair is also responsible for recognizing when a topic has been sufficiently discussed or when it may require more time or additional meetings to resolve.

The chair could use consent agendas to expedite routine items, freeing up time for critical issues. For example, routine approvals could be grouped together and passed with a single vote unless a member requests an item be discussed separately.

6. Encourage Strategic Discussions:

Focus the meeting on strategic topics, and be prepared to adjust time allocations for agenda items as discussions unfold.

During the meeting, keep the conversation focused on strategic-level topics rather than operational details. The chair should encourage forward-thinking and safeguard the time allocated for strategic discussions. This could involve asking probing questions that challenge the status quo and inspire innovative thinking, or facilitating scenario planning exercises that explore different strategic directions.

7. Ensure Conflicts of Interest Are Managed:

It is essential that any conflicts of interest are addressed in real-time during the meeting. If a conflict arises, the affected board member should immediately disclose it, and the chair should facilitate the necessary steps to manage the situation, which may include asking the member to recuse themselves from the discussion and vote.

This process should be transparent and recorded in the minutes to uphold the integrity of the board's decision-making process.

Post-Meeting Follow-Up

8. Empower the Board Secretary's Role:

Encourage the secretary to use Wudpecker in the meeting to capture all decisions and action items accurately, aiding in accountability and follow-up.

This AI tool does more than just make notetaking effective; it allows the secretary to remain actively engaged in discussions, contributing more to the meeting.

9. Review and Reflect on the Meeting's Effectiveness:

After the meeting, assess how effectively the time was used and whether the strategic objectives were advanced.

For instance, you can implement a quick anonymous survey after the meeting to gather feedback on the meeting's efficiency and the clarity of decisions made. This might inform improvements for subsequent meetings.

10. Close with a Look Ahead:

Schedule the next meeting date before adjourning and clearly outline the deliverables expected at that time, such as a progress report on new business or updates from strategic initiatives.

Assign specific responsibilities to designated individuals, ensuring accountability and fostering a sense of ownership over the tasks. This focused approach not only clarifies expectations but also drives commitment, as each member understands their direct contribution to the board's objectives for the forthcoming board meeting.

Conclusion

Selecting the right board meeting agenda template is helpful for steering your meetings toward successful outcomes. Each template serves as a tailored blueprint for different scenarios, from annual general gatherings to emergency sessions, ensuring that every discussion is purposeful and every decision, impactful.

These board agenda foundations are a strategic tool for productive board meetings. Let them guide your board towards constructive collaboration and precise action.

FAQs

What are the standing agenda items for a board meeting?

Standing agenda items are the backbone of every successful board meeting, ensuring a consistent approach to governance. These include:

  • Call to Order: Officially starting the meeting.
  • Approval of the Agenda and Previous Meeting Minutes: Ensuring the meeting plan is set and past records are accurate.
  • Reports: Regular updates from the Executive Director, Finance Committee, and other standing committees.
  • Old Business: Items previously discussed that need further attention or resolution.
  • New Business: New topics and issues for the board to consider.
  • Adjournment: Formal closing of the meeting and announcement of the next meeting date.

What does a good board meeting look like?

A good board meeting is:

Well-Prepared: Agendas and supporting documents are circulated in advance.

Structured: Meetings follow a clear agenda, respecting time limits for each item.

Engaging: Members actively participate, offering diverse insights.

Decisive: The board makes informed decisions, with clear actions and responsibilities assigned.

Documented: Minutes are taken to record decisions and discussions.

What does a board meeting consist of?

A board meeting consists of:

  • Deliberation: On reports, performance, finances, and other key matters.
  • Decision-Making: On policy, strategy, and organizational direction.
  • Oversight: Ensuring the organization adheres to its mission and complies with laws and regulations.
  • Action Planning: Setting clear steps for future initiatives and reviewing progress on existing ones.

In each of these areas, the goal is to advance the organization's objectives while upholding the standards of good governance.

Automatic quality online meeting notes
Try Wudpecker for free
Dashboard
Free & Copyable Board Meeting Agenda Templates
Min Read
Free & Copyable Board Meeting Agenda Templates
Min Read
Free & Copyable Board Meeting Agenda Templates
Min Read
arrow
arrow

Read more