Without structure, booster club meetings can be chaotic, disagreeable gatherings. Knowing how to take meeting minutes correctly is sometimes the only way to make heads or tails of what happened in a meeting after the fact. So how do you record minutes for your club to ensure important notes are memorialized, and what are the benefits?
Minutes are a formal record of who said what, who will do a thing, and by when. Recorded properly, there is no confusion about decisions made, votes taken, outstanding or resolved conflicts, and other details. The minutes for a new meeting begin by reviewing the minutes of the last one to bring everybody up to speed. Best of all, well-prepared booster club meeting minutes help your get-togethers begin and end on time.
This piece discusses the basics of how to take meeting minutes. It looks at what your records should include and why they’re so crucial to the smooth running of your organization. But first, a look at what not to include in the minutes of your booster club.
What Not to Include in Your Club’s Minutes
Don’t write a meeting transcript, not even if you’re a shorthand expert or speed typist. A raw transcript of your meeting would take time to read and make it difficult to find the important information and actions taken in the meeting. Instead, summarize the meeting’s main points, including any documents shared. With the latter, reference the files by name only and attach them to the minutes.
Lastly, keep to the facts and don’t include personal opinions, comments, or observations, no matter how tempted you may be.
|Keep Your Minutes Simple|
Think of your minutes as concise notes of what members discuss, agree, postpone, or reject. The best meeting minutes are short, straightforward, and void of fancy language and jargon.
Why Take Meeting Minutes?
General and board meetings can cover a lot of ground. It can be difficult to remember what exactly happened without notes. Minutes ensure the items discussed and decided are not forgotten or misremembered. The minutes of your meeting is a logged history and help you plan for future events. They record past decisions and endorsements and express the will of members. Your minutes also help drive action and shape future programs and policies.
The mark of a successful booster club is when all supporters are on the same page. That’s why you should always forward your meeting’s minutes to all members. Doing so can bring absent members up to speed with events. Also worth noting is that capturing accurate minutes is much easier with a well-run gathering. So let’s look at what constitutes an efficient booster club meeting.
The Benefits of Regular Meetings
Regular face-to-face mission-focused meetings keep members in the loop and help them feel part of a team. Unlike ad hoc meetings, regular gatherings are easier for your members to schedule. Furthermore, a monthly meeting on the same day and at the same time is shorter and less overwhelming than infrequent, sporadic get-togethers. And clubs that send out pre-and-post-meeting communications enjoy even smoother outcomes (more on that shortly).
In-person Meetings Work Best
In-person gatherings have more benefits than virtual meetups. That’s partly because you can read body language and nonverbal cues better. Hence, it’s easier to build trusting relationships when physically present, as conversations are more fluid. Plus, brainstorming sessions are more fun and collaborative in person, and disputes are easier to settle. In fact, studies show that face-to-face requests are 34x more effective than virtual communication .
Robert’s Rules of Order for Structured Meetings
You may have heard or read about booster clubs using Robert’s Rules of Order to conduct meetings. It’s a manual of parliamentary procedures and a standard used to facilitate fair-minded discussions and group decision-making . It sounds complicated, but it’s not.
Here’s how booster clubs use Robert’s Rules to conduct fair, well-structured meetings:
- A group member gets the floor to raise a topic for discussion (the motion)
- Another member has to second the motion (approve their idea)
- Other attendees get the chance to voice their opinion before the vote
- The idea is approved if more people vote yes than no
- The idea is rejected if more people vote no than yes
Members can also abstain from voting if they are undecided. The point of following Robert’s Rules is to keep meetings structured, orderly, and just. If you follow these “rules” to manage your club’s meetings, be sure to reference them in your bylaws.
Now let’s look at how to prepare your booster club’s meeting minutes.
How to Take Meeting Minutes 101
To accurately capture minutes, you need to know what to include and how it relates to your club. Disorganized groups often lack proper guidelines and planning. Therefore, effective meetings are the foundation for organizing your club, its people, pursuits, and procedures.
Here are the seven points of consideration when preparing your minutes:
- Members in attendance and absent at the last meeting
- Items covered at the previous meeting
- Any failed motions
- Details of upcoming events, i.e., type, location, and date
- Outstanding tasks and member’s allocated to them
- Financial update by the club’s treasurer
- Other business, e.g., votes, results, etc.
Who Should Take Your Meeting Minutes?
The ideal person to take, organize, and disseminate your minutes is your booster club secretary. If your club does not have a secretary, anyone from your volunteer pool who is willing and able can take on the responsibility.
But prepare to be a little patient with amateur helpers. For example, the note taker may occasionally ask for a pause if they need you to slow down or clarify a thing. Consider adding to your meeting’s agenda pursuing an amendment to your bylaws that would provide for a group secretary position.
How to Take Meeting Minutes Using a Template
Over time, you will develop a comfortable format for your minutes that works for your club. However, using a meeting minutes template is a great place to start, especially for new booster clubs. Use the sample template format below to ensure you cover the basics. And feel free to modify it to match your organization’s meeting format and procedures.
You simply add the notes to your meeting minutes template above. This puts everything into order in an easy-to-read format for club members. But try to do it as soon as possible. Even our own quickly written notes can be hard to decipher when put aside for too long. So, the best practice is to get everything done as soon as possible—preferably right after the meeting, but at least by the next day.
When You Don’t Take Meeting Minutes
Your meeting’s minutes provide accountability for decisions made. So, not taking minutes may lead to conflicts among members. People can forget what was discussed or have their own interpretation of events. It then becomes a battle of he-said-she-said, potentially causing rifts and legal challenges. Plus, measuring progress accurately and identifying failings without minutes is difficult. You would also lack a common starting point for subsequent meetings.
Minutes and Legal Protection
Archived minutes are invaluable documents from a legal perspective. They represent the actions taken by your club’s board of directors. Thus, recording minutes helps keep your organization in check with the law. You can also use them to back up your tax returns. Indeed, the courts, IRS, and auditors consider formal minutes as legal documents when clubs are investigated or sued.
AIM Directors and Officers (D&O) Liability Insurance
Directors and Officers Liability coverage protects your club officers from potential lawsuits for“wrongful acts.” AIM insurance pays for any loss resulting from claims against misinformation and mistakes spoken, written, or recorded at your booster club meetings, including wrongful decisions, statements, or inappropriate measures taken by your officers.
Don’t Neglect Pre-Meeting Communication
Successful major booster club meetings inform members it is upcoming, often by a week or more before the event. The idea is to send a copy of the forthcoming meeting agenda, which you can create using your meeting minutes, as a reminder. The communiqué helps people focus and prepare should they have anything they want to add to the discussions.
The pre-meeting communiqué typically include:
- The meeting date, time, and location
- Location directions and parking, if necessary
- Overview of meeting topics
- Call-to-action for attendees, if needed
- Reminders as appropriate
Remember, your pre-meeting reminder should be brief, yet informative.
Post-Meetings Matter, Too
Busy people can forget who said what and the items discussed soon after a meeting. That’s why you should send out a post-meeting communication as a refresher. Try to ensure everyone has a copy of your meeting minutes within a day or two at most. And remember to include those members who were unable to attend the meeting.
The post-meeting communiqué typically includes:
- The meeting date, time, and location
- Meeting duration and end time
- Names of attendees and positions (including guests)
- Meeting minutes and name of the note taker
- Major discussion points and decisions/rejections made
- Any voting results
- Details of the next get-together, e.g., date, time, location, meeting agenda
- Other upcoming events worth mention
You may want to create simple, customizable templates for both pre- and post-meeting communication.
Never discard your minutes, even after every member has a copy. These are valuable notes that you can revisit to keep track of past actions and decisions. Plus, the club’s current and future leaders can review previous minutes to make future organizational decisions. They are also considered legally binding documents by various authorities.
See ‘Meeting Minutes and Legal Protection’ above if you need a recap.
So, always keep records of your minutes and any other documents used in the meetings. The best practice is to store physical and electronic duplicates for safekeeping where possible.
Examples of supplementary meeting documents to archive with your minutes are:
- Meeting agenda
- Treasurer’s report
- Links to referenced documents
- Issue logs
- Updated project schedules
Capturing meeting minutes is not the most exciting task, but it is critica to ensuring your club stays organized and on-task. These written notes help to keep your booster club structured and well-organized. And the result of that is less stuff falling through the cracks, fewer disputes, and more harmony among members. Your archived minutes also offer legal protection as they are legally recognized by the IRS and other bodies.
AIM’s Embezzlement Coverage for US Booster Clubs.
Accurately recorded meeting minutes help you review the timing of expenses and transactions. This is valuable data, especially when the numbers don’t add up. AIM’s embezzlement coverage protects your booster club funds when a trusted team member is less than honest. Whether that’s the president, treasurer, board member, volunteer, or courier, we have your back.