Board Portal Best Practices: Three Ways to Improve Your Minutes
By Dustin McKissen, December 13, 2017
The minutes from your board meetings are an important record of
the decisions your directors make. Meeting minutes are also a great resource
for a future board member or other senior staff leader who wants to understand
the history of the organization he or she just joined. Unfortunately, meeting
minutes are also important legal documents that might be used in the event of
Because they are so important, here are a few things your
organization and your board of directors need to know about taking meeting
1. Understand your minutes “strategy.”
Minutes strategy? Weird, right? Yes, but there is some strategy
that informs the type of minutes your board takes. Many minute-takers record
details of discussions that occurred during the meeting. However, some
organizations record only the basics, like who attended, and the outcome of
votes taken during the meeting.
Even though it may seem strange, there is a sound reason for a
minimalist approach to minute-taking. If your organization becomes involved in
some sort of litigation, minutes may be included in the information used by the
party suing you, and information that isn’t recorded can’t be used against you.
There is no right or wrong answer to the type of minutes you
should record for your board meetings. It depends in part on the type of
organization you lead. Certain organizations like banks, credit unions, and
trade associations are far more likely to end up in litigation than the local
chapter of a social services organization or nonprofit. If you have any
question about how much information you should record in your minutes, consult
your legal counsel.
2. Record your minutes at the meeting, not
Trying to construct minutes by memory is difficult and risky.
Make sure someone is recording minutes during the meeting. Additionally, make
sure that person feels comfortable asking questions if he or she doesn’t
understand what action was just taken, or didn’t capture who made or seconded a
A meeting of an engaged board of directors can become lively or
even heated, and it’s easy for a minute-taker to miss information. If that’s
the case, make sure that individual (even if it’s you) asks for clarification.
Inaccurate minutes negate the whole point of taking minutes—and can come back
to haunt your organization in the event of future litigation.
Yes, we know we keep talking about getting sued, but it can and
does happen—and if you find yourself on the wrong end of a lawsuit, having
accurate meeting minutes will be important.
Especially if a decision by your board of directors is part of
3. Distribute a draft of minutes soon after a
It’s a best practice to distribute a draft of meeting minutes to
your board of directors soon after a meeting. This allows directors to correct
any mistakes or ask for clarification while the meeting is still fresh in their
mind. Waiting to distribute a draft increases the risk that your directors will
either fail to review the draft minutes, or remember the board meeting
A relatively minor administrative task like drafting meeting minutes
can go overlooked—until it’s too late, and you find yourself needing an
accurate record of a decision your board of directors made that occurred months
or even years in the past. The truth is that like agendas, meeting minutes are
an important but often overlooked aspect of board governance.
That’s why BoardPaq has designed a board portal with features that
make drafting and distributing minutes as easy and convenient as possible,
• Minutes Builder,
a feature that allows you to keep track of attendance, minutes, resolutions,
assignments, and votes during your meetings.
• Total Content Control,
which allows a board admin to manage when minutes and other information become
available to users through multiple meeting stages.
• Action Items, which
allows users to quickly review a summary of board member tasks before and after
meetings with BoardPaq's Agenda Follow-up Menu. You'll see everyone's feedback,
including reviews of minutes and updates on assigned tasks.
These features and more are available in BoardPaq’s Admin Center.
Interested in learning more about the board portal of choice for more
than 1,000 community banks, credit unions, school districts, trade
associations, cooperatives, nonprofits, and other cost-conscious organizations?
Sign up for a demo today!