Charity update – a good minute taker is worth their weight in gold
Minute taking is a skill. Discussions and conclusions need to be clearly recorded but the chit chat needs to be excluded. From personal experience I know it’s difficult to take minutes while being engaged in the conversation. Multitasking is not appropriate in this situation. An independent minute taker is hugely valuable.
Why are minutes important?
Hindsight is a wonderful thing, but when challenged on a decision made two years ago, memories are not always reliable. Reference to minutes that clearly show the discussions, and the ultimate decisions, will help to support the actions taken and justification of those actions if required.
Good minutes are also helpful when trustees are faced with a similar situation to one that has previously been considered by the Board. It is useful to review the discussions previously held to assist with current deliberations. Having said this, please remember that the past is not always a good indication of the present or the future. Recurring problems often need new solutions but reference to previous discussions can help the thought process.
Minutes should be distributed to the whole Board as soon as possible after the meeting. They should clearly show the action points arising from the meeting, as well as who is responsible for actioning them, and by when. All too often, the next meeting starts and it becomes apparent that action points agreed at the previous meeting have not been actioned.
To sum up, minutes that are accurate and distributed to trustees quickly after the meeting will help your charity achieve the trustees’ objectives. Giving minutes out at the start of the next meeting hinders this process and often means that good ideas go to waste.
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