Nonprofit board meeting minutes are a collection of what was said and touched upon during a meeting. They are used as a recap for anyone who wasn’t present during the last meeting and to refresh everyone’s minds on the talking points and decisions made during the previous meeting.
This meeting minutes template might seem like a waste of time for certain people, but it can be beneficial for a nonprofit founder. It acts as a schedule that keeps the board on track and allows for preparations to be made for the next meeting. Instead of everyone wondering what to do or accidentally reopening discussions held at the last meeting, everyone can instead get down to business and start the new meeting with a simple reading of the minutes.
Meeting minutes are often used when your nonprofit board has to decide something. The minutes offer proof that the decision was made and allow for a sense of structure to be used for every meeting. If the board knows that someone at the meeting is taking minutes, they won’t waste time joking around.
Your bylaws will state whenever meetings require the minutes being taken. They might say that you will need to take minutes whenever a certain number of board members are present, or only over an approved meeting format. For example, you might take minutes over a video call but not during a face-to-face meeting.
The main rules of nonprofit board meeting minutes should be in your bylaws, but any time your board is making a decision, minutes should be taken to record the event.
For nonprofits, the IRS states that all charities in the public sector must have books and records to show that they comply with nonprofits’ tax rules. You will need to have a collection of receipts, expenses, and your accounting procedures.
Whenever you receive the annual IRS 990 form, they will ask you whether the minutes were documented after the meeting was completed. It’s a good idea to have those minutes taken and available for them to see because the minutes are a record of what transpired during your meeting.
They can also provide a clear timetable on any decisions made with the company and provide evidence of any changes. Once you have the minutes, you should keep them permanently as you run the risk of losing your nonprofit label. This means that you are no longer tax-exempt and the nonprofit you run could turn into a private foundation that can be taxed.
Additionally, all of your meeting minutes records need to be accessible so you can pull them out at any time so that they can back up everything on your 990 tax forms. Make sure to have your minutes in a different place where they can be accessed, and it’s best to have an organizing system to go along with them in case you need to pull out a specific document at a specific time.
One of the easiest ways to catalog your minutes and make sure that you touch on everything is to use your meeting agenda. If you are having a meeting, you likely have a schedule about what that meeting will be about and how long the meeting will run.
The meeting agenda should also have clear expectations about the meeting, what the people at the meeting hope to accomplish, how long it will run, and any other events that might need to be discussed at the meeting. If you take the meeting agenda and add a few things, you can have a good outline for meeting minutes in no time at all.
If you aren’t making a meeting agenda, you need to get into the habit. Not only does it keep your meeting on track, but it also can save time when writing the meeting minutes.
There is no hard and fast rule about what should be in meeting minutes and what shouldn’t be. Given that the IRS is looking at them, there are a few things you should include. You should also have a clear and consistent structure for the minutes, not only for your organization but so you can easily find things if needed. Here are some of the things your minutes should include.
The best way to make sure all of these boxes get ticked is to have both a template prepared and a designated notetaker who records the minutes for every meeting. This ensures that someone is taking the minutes and writing down everything needed by your nonprofit and the IRS.
Additionally, don’t write everything down as it is being said. If you need to remember something exactly, use a recording device. Otherwise, it would be best to take notes about key events and points that happen during the meeting. Also, make sure to write down everyone’s full name on the meeting sheet or do a roll call if the meeting was virtual. It’s much easier than a sign-up sheet!
Taking meeting minutes doesn’t have to be complicated or stressful, and a good set of meeting minutes can keep everyone on track while also keeping the IRS happy. It might take a while to get into the groove on taking minutes, but once you get into it, it will become easy to use the minutes and do more with your nonprofit.