Nonprofit Network Blog

Get the Most Out of Your Minutes

Wednesday, March 29, 2017 12:55 PM | Jessica Chipman (Administrator)



Jessica Chipman

Office Manager

Many people can relate to sitting in an unproductive meeting.  However, meetings do not have to be a waste of time. If accurate minutes are kept and clear-cut action steps are identified, then hours spent in a meeting can lead to a productive outcome. 

Taking quality minutes at a meeting is very important. High-quality minutes are powerful tools that you can leverage to do the following

  • Help refresh memories from the last meeting
  • Offer background information for those that could not attend the meeting
  • Summarize decisions made
  • Identify goals and point out clear action steps
  • Provide organization and structure
  • Act as a historical record and may offer legal protection

Minutes play a crucial part of a meeting. Here are key components that should always be part of your minutes:

1)  Agenda

Before the meeting, an agenda should be sent to all those involved in the meeting.  Having an agenda before the meeting not only helps keep the meeting on track, but also makes it easier for the note taker to follow along and take accurate minutes. The best part is that meeting minutes can be taken right into the agenda.


2)  Type of Meeting, Date, Start and End Time

The heading of the minutes should indicate the type of meeting being held (for example:  Board Meeting, Finance Committee Meeting, etc.). The minutes should also contain the date the meeting took place, the time the meeting started, and the time the meeting ended.


3)  Attendees/Excused

Everyone that attended the meeting and those that were excused/absent should be listed in the minutes.


4)  Key Discussion Points

Important parts of the conversation during the meeting should be well documented.


5)  Action Items

To-dos or outcomes from the conversation should be clearly outlined.


6)  Motions/Approvals

When voting takes place, it is important to keep a record of who motioned, seconded the motion, and if the vote was approved or not approved by the group. 


7)  Time/Date/Location of Next Meeting (if reoccurring or if decided during the meeting)

This allows everyone to know when the next meeting will take place.

After meeting minutes are proofread and finalized, the note-taker should make sure the minutes are signed by the appropriate person (such as the secretary of the board) if necessary. Once finalized, the minutes should be sent to everyone that attended the meeting as soon as possible.

Well-documented meeting minutes can help turn discussion into decisions, and decisions into results. At your next meeting, make sure quality meeting minutes are keptensure that hours spent in discussion can lead to a positive outcome.  


Do you want to see a sample of meeting minutes that demonstrate the suggestions above?  Email Info@nonprofnetwork.org to let us know you're interested and we'll share a resource with you! No strings attached.

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