Get the best out of your board meetings

Why hiring a Clerk for your Board can increase your meeting engagement and productivity, and improve your governance.

If you run a non-profit, or perhaps you are a CEO of a charity, your duties include quarterly or annual board meetings. These can be invigorating and informative meetings full of actionable points to drive your organisation forward – or they can be a mind-numbing slog, as you manoeuvre through the business of the day.

Yet, these meetings are vital to any organisation’s operations and future growth. So, how can you ensure you maximise the effectiveness of these meetings and really engage its participants? One way is to employ a Clerk to help oversee the running of these events and ensure they are tracked with effective meetings. It is so important to respect your Trustees time, given they are volunteers.

A Clerk’s responsibility is to ensure necessary procedure is followed (when it is needed). This allows the Chair to focus on moving efficiently through the business of the meeting and lets the meeting flow along.

Whether a board of trustees for a charity, the governors of a school, or a committee for a resident’s association, the Clerk ensures your meeting conducts its business properly. They provide independent, objective and professional advice and support.

Their duties cover many things we take for granted, but are essential to the smooth running of meetings, and provide vital support preparing for them, and for chasing up action points afterwards.

The role is not only about good organisation and administration, but it also helps any board to understand its role, functions and legal duties. A Clerk is key to adhering and improving governance. There is no question that the workload of governors and trustees is made much more manageable when a Clerk/governance professional properly covers this role. 

Clerk’s are usually paid by the hour or on a retained basis, to make it affordable, particularly for small charities and organisations.

A Clerk is key to adhering and improving governance. There is no question that the workload of governors and trustees is made much more manageable when a Clerk/governance professional properly covers this role.

A Clerk’s essential duties

✒️ A Clerk is primarily responsible for the smooth and efficient running of meetings of any board of trustees or governors.
They work closely with the Chair or a Chief Executive Officer to provide valuable assistance and support, ensuring agendas and other documentation are properly formulated and distributed, and advising on the content and organisation of the meeting.
Their role is to take the minutes and to ensure these records are maintained with certified copies, and to ensure action is taken on matters arising.
They communicate board decisions to those required to implement them, ensure tasks assigned are managed appropriately and to the required timetable, and report back to the chair and board as required.

✒️ A Clerk is closely involved in monitoring a board’s compliance with various legislative, procedural and regulatory requirements.
They are responsible for ensuring trustees take decisions and act in line with their governing document and comply accordingly. School boards for example have quite complex rules on governance and the Clerk needs to have detailed knowledge of these in order for the governors to carry out their role within a legal and regulatory framework.

✒️ A Clerk assists the chair by ensuring the trustees’ decisions are acted upon.
They flag situations where governors or trustees overstep or deviate from their role.
They also guarantee all decisions are taken in accordance with the articles of association, and that they reflect the objectives of the board.
It is a trusted position because they take care of the underlying legalities, allowing the members to make the most effective use of their time.

It’s a multi-faceted role; part adviser and planner, they need to be great at communication, not afraid to challenge decisions and able to play the diplomat when required. Crucially, they work collectively with the board, enabling it to exercise its functions and aims expediently and confidently.

If you are a non-profit you may think hiring a Clerk is out of your budget – but not necessarily so.

An audit of your Charity or Not for profit organisation will cost between £200-£300 depending on the size and current position. This includes an evaluation of your current procedures with ‘a quick look under hood’., I then create a roadmap for your organisation and a realistic cost based upon budgets. We will then discuss the best fit for the organisation whether that is a project cost or a retainer for a fixed period of time to implement the adjustments.

If you would like to know more, please book an exploratory call with me now.

Lucinda

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