Are Nonprofit Board Meetings Open to the Public?
One of the key responsibilities of a nonprofit board is to have frequent board meetings to reestablish the ideals and goals of their mission. Understanding what the organization did well and didn’t do well will help improve functionality. Depending on the nonprofit’s circumstances, the nonprofit may be required to host public board meetings.
What is the Sunshine Law?
Sunshine laws require nonprofit organizations that receive government funding to open board meetings to the public. Allowing the public to see how the government’s money is being allocated expresses the nonprofit’s transparency and accountability. Being able to see how the board of directors handles the decision-making process can truly show the authenticity of the nonprofit and their drive for the attainment of their mission. The Sunshine law does not apply to employee or staff meetings that offer daily updates, but only to board meetings.
Nonprofits that receive state funding, have government contracts, were created by law, are operating state, county, political, or municipal functions, or who have state officials on the board are ways an organization can all fall under the Sunshine Law but can vary by state. The Sunshine law also requires that reasonable notice of this meeting should be provided to the public. With that, minutes of the board meeting should be promptly recorded in a report that can be viewed by anyone.
What Should be Covered in a Board Meeting?
Various topics regarding the performance and status of the nonprofit should be addressed in a board meeting. It is important that every board member, officer, and director participates in the discussion so that the organization works as a team.
Whether the public comes to join in on the meeting or not, every board meeting should be recorded. Examples of minutes that must be documented include the name of the nonprofit, date and time of the meeting, board members that are in attendance and names of those that are not, a summary of points being made, steps of future action, voting results, documents or reports presented, the length of the meeting, a signature from the board secretary, and more.
When discussing future plans for the nonprofit, tasks should be assigned to a set individual or team of individuals with a due date of completion. When it is reinforced in a board meeting numerous times as to what every participant’s duty is, there will be more action taken and progress made for the organization.
Who Usually Attends Board Meetings?
Since the purpose of a board meeting is to review how the nonprofit has been performing and strategize ways to improve, it is essential that some key representatives are present at each board meeting.
The chief financial officer typically reviews how well the budget was followed from the last period and sets an updated budget for the following period. If the nonprofit spent too much money, the chief financial officer can instigate strategies on how to spend it differently and inexpensively. The development director identifies additional sources of funding such as grants, donations, and possible fundraising events. The marketing director updates the board on developing the organization’s branding to gain more supporters and funders.
Employees may join board meetings to help reflect on the progress of the nonprofit if asked to join. Potential future board members can join to observe how the board members and the organization function jointly. Only officers, directors, board members, and the executive director participate in board meetings, everyone else is an observer and does not provide feedback unless their feedback has been requested.
With the public and government examining the functions of a nonprofit, it is important that everything discussed in a board meeting is virtuous and meaningful. Be sure to come to every meeting with an agenda and plan of action.
Financing Solutions Nonprofit Line of Credit
It has always been hard for a nonprofit to get a line of credit from a bank. The reason is that banks look at nonprofits the same way they look at for-profit businesses. Banks want collateral and personal guarantees and for a nonprofit, that is often very hard to obtain.
Since 2012 Financing Solutions has been the leader in providing a nonprofit business lines of credit to nonprofits who have at least $200,000 per year in revenue. The credit line requires no collateral or personal guarantees.
The nonprofit credit line costs nothing to set up, nothing until used and when used, is very inexpensive. It can be paid off at any time but most nonprofits use the credit line for a very short period of time and then pay it back. The credit line is most often used to make payroll which is illegal to miss.
The best time to set up a nonprofit line of credit is when you don’t need it so consider applying today.