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.
- Call for Nominations – Nomination Form (nominations to the Board of Directors)
- Notice of AGM
- Previous year’s meeting minutes
- Script (Chair’s Agenda)
- Scrutineers list
- Financial Talking Points
- AGM PowerPoint
Calls for Nominations
Calls for Nominations are typically sent out to the membership by email a few months before the AGM. These calls for nominations and nomination forms are edited each year and submitted to the Executive Director for approval before distribution to the membership.
Notice of AGM
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 you update this the better, as it may need to be reviewed by legal counsel. This will be the script the president reads at the meeting. Send it to them 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. Add the reports to the minutes. Keep them on file so you have an electronic version.
The scrutineers list is a list of all voting members. Everyone in attendance should sign it. 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.
Financial Talking Points
The accounting staff prepares the financial talking points for the Treasurer’s report. Submit this to the treasurer for review prior to the meeting.
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:
- Committee Chair, ie. Nomination, Program, Marketing, etc.
The President is the main speaker at this meeting. They read the script and provide 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.
Each committee chair should write their own reports. The report outlines their committee’s accomplishments during the past year thanks 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 print and ship all documents to the location of the AGM 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, an association staff member or secretary should record meeting minutes 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.