The Strauss Blog

How to Prepare for your Association’s Annual General Meeting

All associations are required by law to hold an annual meeting of members, or Annual General Meeting (AGM) yearly. The AGM is to be held within six months of the association’s year end.

The purpose of the AGM is for the membership to approve the financial statements of the previous year, elect or re-elect board members, hear reports from the board and/or committees, approve motions on any edits to the by-laws, and bring forth any comments. The AGM is a member-only event.

Both association staff members and the board of directors have preparations to make for the AGM.

The Role of Association Staff

The AGM is organized by the association staff and they are in charge of collecting and printing all documents and scripts for the meeting.

Below is a sample of a process that I use for one of the associations I work with. Having a written process is important as there are many steps that must be done for this meeting.

The Process

  1. Call for Nominations – Nomination Form (nominations to the Board of Directors)
  2. Notice of AGM
  3. Previous year’s meeting minutes
  4. Script (Chair’s Agenda)
  5. Scrutineers list
  6. Financial Talking Points
  7. AGM PowerPoint

Calls for Nominations are typically sent out to the membership by email a few months before the AGM. Calls for nominations and nomination forms are edited each year and submitted to the Executive Director for approval before distribution to the membership.

The Notice of AGM is sent to the membership between 60 and 21 days prior to the meeting or as per your association by-laws. For further information on the notice and requisitioning meetings of members please visit this past guest article.

The previous year’s meeting minutes must be submitted to the members prior to or at the AGM, but the minutes are only approved at the AGM. Printed copies of the minutes should be printed and available at the meeting for review by the membership.

The Script, or otherwise known as the Chair’s Agenda, is to be updated and submitted to the Executive Director no later than two weeks prior to the meeting. The sooner this is updated the better, as it may need to be reviewed by legal counsel. This will be the script the president reads at the meeting and will need to be sent to him or her prior to the meeting so they can be well prepared.

Collection of the President’s message and all committee reports is also important. Association staff must remind the president and committee chairs to write their reports no later than two weeks prior to the meeting. The reports are to be added to the minutes, so it is important to have them on file in an electronic version.

The scrutineers list is a list of all voting members and is to be signed by all in attendance. Appointed scrutineers will oversee this, ensuring that all members sign in. They will submit the final document to an association staff member. This document will then be filed with the rest of the meeting documents.

The financial talking points are prepared by the accounting staff for the Treasurer’s report. This will need to be submitted to the treasurer prior to the meeting for review.

Some associations have a PowerPoint created for their AGM that follows the agenda items and any motions.

The Role of the Board of Directors

If you are on the board and in one for the following positions, you will most likely be responsible for presenting a report at the AGM:

  • President
  • Treasurer
  • Committee Chair, ie. Nomination, Program, Marketing, etc.

The President is the main speaker at this meeting. He or she is the person who reads the script that is created by the association staff and provides the “President’s Message”, which is an overview of the past year as President.

The Treasurer is responsible for reviewing the year-end financial statements for approval by the membership. The association staff will provide the Treasurer with the financial talking points. For information on financial reporting visit one of my colleague’s articles, Basics of Financial Reporting for Board Members Without Financial Experience.

Committee Chair reports are to be written by each committee chair. The report is to cover what was accomplished by their committee during the past year and to thank the committee members. There will be a Nomination Committee report as well, which will bring forward motions to elect or re-elect board members for the upcoming year.

 The Day of the AGM

Association staff need to ensure that all documents that need to be printed and shipped to the location of the AGM have been completed and everything is in order on the big day!

What needs to be printed:

  • Previous year’s meeting minutes
  • Financial Statements
  • Two copies of the scrutineers list
  • Three copies of the Script
  • Three copies of the Financial Talking Points

During the AGM, meeting minutes are to be recorded by an association staff member or Secretary, for approval at the following year’s meeting.

Are you ready for your AGM?

By following the process I have described above, you as an association staff member or board member should be well prepared and ready for your next annual general meeting! For more on preparing for annual meetings of an association, read this article.