Board meetings are a part of life for leaders in the nonprofit sector. Most organizations hold them monthly with maybe a month or two off over the summer or winter holidays. Some organizations only meet a few times a year. Regardless of their regularity they are a legal and practical function for organizations, boards and EDs/CEOs. They are the place where most high-level discussions and decisions about the organization are had. Good board meetings, led by strong leaders, can help organizations make deeper impacts.

So how do we ensure that our board meetings are effective?

For starters, clarifying roles and responsibilities for board members, the board chair and the ED/CEO is critical to productive board meetings. But also, the relationship between the Board Chair and ED/CEO must be strong, built on trust and mutual respect.

When these critical factors are attended to, then we can move on to the practical aspects of a productive board meeting.

Below you’ll find a number of resource that can help board members, board chairs and EDs/CEOs ensure their board meetings are NOT a waste of time, and that meaningful discussions are had, and decisions and directions are made.

1. Starting with Board Effect just makes sense. They are all things boards. This blog post, “How to Chair a Board Meeting”, lays out the fundamentals of leading a board meeting. The blog shares the basic framework needed in order to get started.

2. Sometimes we just need some solid policies in place to get started. This blog from Governing Good on Sample Policies for boards can help get us set off on the right foot. Or, can help us through a rough patch and get our good governance back on track.

3. This video from Stanford Graduate School of Business, “How to Run an Effective Nonprofit Board Meeting”, suggests that board chairs should view a board meeting as an event, and that as the facilitator, the board chair should think about what they want board members to think about and how they want them to feel. Preparation is critical.

4. If you like quick lists, then this post from Fast Company is for you. “The Do’s and Don’ts of Running a Great Nonprofit Board Meeting” is handy for newbies and experienced nonprofit leaders, alike. It’s a good refresher for those of us who have been doing this awhile; it helps us to recognize if we’re falling into habits that may not be totally productive. Guilty. 😉

5. In around 30 minutes, this webinar from Diligent Corporation and The Director’s College shares an excellent learning session on productive and efficient board meetings. “Effective Board Meetings: Do’s and Don’ts for Board Members and Executives.”

6. This blog from Compass Point is specifically for Board Chairs and how their leadership can really set the tone for meetings and, ultimately, for the organization itself. Learn these 10 tips here: “10 Great Board Chair Practices”.

7. Sometimes the best information comes from great, common, pointed questions. Board Source rounded up some frequently asked questions about board meetings and answered them all here in “Board Meetings – FAQs

There are so many resources out there to support boards and board chairs. If we’ve missed one that has been helpful to you, please share it in the comments below.

Until next time,


This week’s blog was written by Tina de los Santos. Tina brings a diverse mix of nonprofit and business leadership to her role at PLC. Throughout her career, she has been passionate about creating engaging learning experiences that support and inspire people’s professional and personal growth. Tina is our chief knowledge sharer and enjoys digitally connecting with other leaders in Peel to help them find great resources and learning tools.

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