Creating Effective Board Meeting Minutes for Charity Trustee Boards
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Creating Effective Board Meeting Minutes for Charity Trustee Boards


Effective board meeting minutes are an essential tool for charity trustee boards. These documents not only serve as a record of the board's decisions and discussions but also play a crucial role in ensuring transparency, accountability, and legal compliance.

When done correctly, board meeting minutes can be a valuable resource for trustees, staff, donors, and regulators. I have seen some wonderful and woeful examples. Being a good minute-taker takes practice. So what should good board meeting minutes include?

Meeting Details
Every set of board meeting minutes should begin with basic meeting details, such as:

  • Date and time of the meeting.
  • Location or virtual platform used for the meeting.
  • Names of the chairperson, secretary or other offices, and attendees present.

This section helps establish a clear timeline and context for the meeting's proceedings.

Approval of Previous Minutes
The minutes should include a section where the previous meeting's minutes are approved. This demonstrates that the board is committed to reviewing and endorsing past decisions, fostering accountability, and maintaining continuity.

The minutes should include a summary of the meeting agenda. This section provides an outline of the topics and items discussed during the meeting. It helps readers quickly identify the issues addressed, making the document more accessible.

Discussion and Decisions
The core of board meeting minutes should encompass a detailed record of discussions and decisions. Key elements to include are:

  • Summary of discussions: Briefly outline the key points raised during the meeting. This should not be verbatim but capture the essence of the conversation.
  • Resolutions and decisions: Clearly state any resolutions, motions, or decisions made during the meeting. Include who proposed, seconded, and the outcome of each vote. Note if any decisions were deferred to a later date.

This section should be comprehensive enough for stakeholders to understand the rationale behind decisions.

Action Items
List any action items assigned during the meeting. Clearly state who is responsible for each task, the due date, and any specific requirements or expectations. This section ensures that follow-up actions are documented and that accountability is maintained.

Reports and Updates
Summarise reports presented during the meeting. This can include financial reports, reports from committees, or updates from staff members. These reports provide context for the decisions made during the meeting.

Guest Speakers and Presentations
If the board had guest speakers or presentations, briefly summarise the main points or topics covered. Include the names of the speakers and any key takeaways that are relevant to the board's activities.

Any Other Business
Include any other business that may have been discussed or raised during the meeting. This section allows for the recording of unexpected or impromptu discussions that occurred. However, personally I am not keen on this section and like topics to be tabled in advance so everyone has a chance to consider the item.

Conclude the minutes by stating the time of adjournment and any plans for future meetings.

The minutes should be signed by the appropriate person, such as the chairperson or secretary, to confirm their accuracy and completeness.

Well-structured board meeting minutes are an invaluable resource for charity trustee boards. They serve as a historical record of decisions and discussions, providing transparency, accountability, and compliance with legal and regulatory requirements. By including meeting details, agenda, discussion and decisions, action items, reports, and other relevant information, charity trustee boards can create effective and informative minutes that contribute to the success and sustainability of their organisations. Good minutes not only aid in internal decision-making but also demonstrate responsible governance to stakeholders and regulatory bodies.


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