Have you ever been part of a sports team and arrive to a game, only to find that many of your teammates didn’t show up? For every sport, there are regulations in place that determine how many players are required for a game to start. The same goes for association meetings.
In the sports team scenario, if the required number of players do not show up, you can only imagine the dismay of the players, coaching staff, and fans when the game has to be cancelled. What could have been done to avoid such a disappointing outcome?
With regards to associations, members (i.e. the players) must attend association meetings in order to meet quorum. Quorum is the minimum number of members that must be present to allow for a meeting to proceed. Whether it be a Board of Directors meeting or an Annual General Meeting, it is imperative that there are enough members in attendance to comply with association standards. This number can be found in the association’s by-laws. It is usually written as a percentage of the entire membership with voting privileges.
Here are four ways to help achieve this number.
Provide Members with Enough Notice to Fit the Meeting into their Schedules
Giving meeting details with ample time to prepare, it will help to make sure that attendance numbers are sufficient to meet quorum. It will provide members with the opportunity to put the meeting in their calendar, reschedule prior commitments if required, or notify the meeting organizer if they are unable to attend. If many members are not available to attend on the date that was selected, you may still have time to reschedule the meeting.
For this, consider using an online tool called Doodle, which allows you to select and share meeting dates for members to mark their availability. This works best for small meetings such as a Board of Directors meeting. For more on Doodle or other online tools, refer to my article on Connecting with Association Members Using Online Tools.
Schedule the Meeting when the Majority of Members can Attend
A good way to ensure that there are enough members in attendance is to schedule the meeting when most convenient and when you can be sure the majority of members can attend. For instance, it is a good idea to schedule the Annual General Meeting (AGM) during the association’s national conference. Members attend the conference in large numbers so you can almost guarantee a strong attendance at the AGM. It is important to hold the meeting on the day when most members are available. If you notice, that over the years, attendance at the AGM seems low, consider having the meeting via teleconference. For more on this, read my colleague’s article In-Person vs. Teleconference Association Annual General Meetings: Which is the Better Method?
Send Personal Reminders to Make Members feel more Motivated to Attend
Members receive numerous emails every day. It should come as no surprise that a meeting announcement may often go unopened in their inbox. For this reason, connecting with members with a personal reminder can make all the difference in achieving quorum. It also gives members a sense of importance and shows them the association needs them. After all, without members, an association would cease to exist. If members feel involved, they are more likely to willingly participate in association events.
Provide Proxy Forms to Allow Members to Participate without Attending
It is still possible to meet quorum if a lot of members are not able to attend the meeting. Forms of proxy give the member the ability to acknowledge the meeting and vote on the motions before the meeting even takes place. Collect all forms prior to the meeting and count each one towards the final attendance number. For more on the requirements and process of an annual general meeting, visit my previous article: Preparing for Meetings Held During an Associations Annual Conference
As you can see, being proactive when notifying members about an upcoming meeting will help avoid disappointment. The more notice and options members are provided, the better chance of a successful event. So, make sure you follow these four tips to ensure your next meeting is a home run!