Taking minutes at a meeting is not always a popular activity, but it is an important one. The meeting minutes serve as a record of what action the board of directors has taken. In the eyes of the IRS, courts, and auditors board meeting minutes are legal documents. Nonetheless, there is no single format to take minutes. You can do what makes sense for you and your group. However, following these tips can help make writing meeting minutes easier:
- Remember that meeting minutes are for future and outside readers as much as they are for the people present. Make sure whatever you write down will be clear to people coming into the process at a later time.
- Typing meeting minutes on a laptop can make the process quicker and easier; however, a pen and paper work well, too, and might keep you from writing down too much information.
- Make a note of who is present. If necessary, pass around a sign-in sheet.
- Use the meeting agenda as an outline for the minutes.
- Details do not belong in meeting minutes. Do write down any motions and decisions made and the key findings of any committee reports.
- Use bullet points to make the minutes easier to read. Each bullet statement should represent a different finding, discussion, or decision. Use nested bullets (bulleted statements within a bullet) if appropriate.
- Make a note of issues that were tabled until future meetings; this will serve as an important reminder to the board of things that still need to be done.
- Transcribe or review minutes as soon as possible after the meeting, while your memory of what happened is still fresh.
- Before you submit the meeting minutes, proofread for typos and omissions.
Follow the format of the sample meeting minute template below to help you record meeting minutes.
Name of Organization
Board Meeting Minutes: Month Day, Year
Time and location
Present:Name board members in attendance
Absent: Name absent board members. You may want to subdivide this category into people with and without proxies.
Others Present: List any organizational staff and guests and their affiliations here
- Meeting called to orderat (time) by (person, usually chair)
- Minutes from (prior meeting date) amended and approved.
- Subcommittee Reports – (highlights of information presented and discussions had)
- Any action taken. For instance, MOTION to (do action); seconded and passed.
- Meeting adjourned at (time)
Here is a place to remind people of:
- conversations that were tabled until next time,
- possible agendas for upcoming meetings,
- assignments that board members have taken on
Minutes submitted by (name)