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Parliamentary Procedure Resources: Articles

How to Write and Keep Meeting Minutes

DEFINED
Minutes are the official record of an organization.  It is crucial that they are accurate since they are the legal record of the proceedings and actions of the organization 

BASED ON
Robert’s Rules of Order Newly Revised, 10th, 2000 Edition

CONTENT
First paragraph: Kind of meeting (regular, special, etc.); the name of the organization; the date, time and place of the meeting; the name of the presiding officer and secretary; approximate number of members present; establishment of a quorum; and recording of the action taken on the minutes of the previous meeting.

The body should include, with each motion being a separate paragraph,:

  • The exact wording of motions, whether passed or failed, and the way they were disposed of, along with the name of the maker
  • If the vote was counted, the count should be recorded.  Tellers reports, if there are any, are included.  In roll call votes the record of each person’s vote is included     
  • Notices of motions – previous notice is sometimes required e.g. amendments of the bylaws
  • Points of order and appeals

Last paragraph: hour of adjournment

NOT INCLUDED

  • The opinion or interpretation of the secretary
  • Judgmental phrases e.g. “heated debate” “valuable comment”
  • Discussion: Minutes are a record of what was done at the meeting, not what was said at the meeting
  • Motions that were withdrawn
  • Name of seconder is unnecessary

ATTACHMENTS
The official copy of the minutes should have attached to it the original signed copy of:

  • Committee Reports
  • Officers Reports
  • Written Motions
  • Tellers Reports
  • Correspondence

APPROVAL
If the minutes have been distributed to the members before the next meeting then the approval process can be very short.  The presiding officer simply states “Are there any corrections to the minutes as printed?”  If there are none, or after all corrections have been made, the presiding officer may say  “If there is no objection, the minutes will be approved as printed (or as corrected).”

SIGNATURE
After the minutes have been corrected and approved by the membership, they should be signed by the secretary and can be signed by the president.  The word “approved” and the date of the approval should also be included

MINUTES BOOK
The official copy of the minutes should be entered in the Minutes Book and kept by the secretary.  These are the property of the organization, not the secretary.  If the organization has a headquarters office, the official copy of the minutes should be kept there.

COPIES
If the members receive a copy of the minutes it is not necessary for them to receive all the attachments.  When they do not receive the attachments, the minutes should include a brief summary of the attachments.

ANNUAL MEETINGS/CONVENTION MINUTES
Minutes of an annual meeting or convention should be taken by the secretary with the assistance of the Minutes Approval Committee members.  In advance of the annual meeting or convention, the secretary should prepare a set of skeleton minutes.  In the preparation of this skeleton of the actual minutes the following may be used: agenda, program, previous minutes (as a guide) and the script.  The skeleton minutes are based on what is expected to happen (the script should be of great assistance here).  In preparing the skeleton minutes, be sure to leave many empty spaces for the specifics that may happen during the meeting and any last minute changes.

Copies of the skeletal minutes are needed for the secretary, parliamentarian and members of the Minutes Approval Committee.  During the meeting, the members of the committee and the secretary follow the skeletal minutes and fill in any additional information.  Immediately after each business meeting the committee and the secretary meet and work together on an agreed upon set of minutes for that meeting.  After the last business meeting of the convention, the secretary prepares the final copy of the minutes based upon what is agreed upon by the committee.  This final copy is reviewed by all committee members.  When they all agree, they sign the original copy and the job of approving the minutes is completed.

If there is a transcript of the meeting, it is the secretary’s job to review the transcript making sure all the minutes are accurate.  If it is necessary to change the minutes, all members of the Minutes Approval Committee must agree upon the changes.

Sample Minutes Template
MINUTES of [Organization name]
Meeting date: ________
Call to order: A ______________ [kind of meeting] meeting of the _________________ [organization name], was held in ____________ [place, city, state] on __________ [date], 20__. The meeting convened at ______ [time], President __________________ [name] presiding, and ______________________ [name], secretary.
[Some small organizations choose to list attendees. This works well for boards of directors.]
Members in attendance: [optional item]
Members not in attendance: [optional item]
Approval of minutes: Motion was made by [name], and seconded to approve the minutes of the ______________ [date] meeting. Motion carried.
Officers' reports:
            President
            Vice president
            Secretary
            Treasurer
Board and committee reports:
Unfinished business:
[Subject title]
            Motion: Moved by [name] that [state motion].
            Motion carried. Motion failed. [leave only one of these]
New business:
[Subject title]
Motion: Moved by [name] that [state motion].
            Motion carried. Motion failed. [leave only one of these]
Announcements:
Adjournment: The meeting was adjourned at ______________[time].

________________________________     ___________________
Secretary                                                      Date of approval
[Organization Name]

ABC

MINUTES

Board of Directors
Meeting Date:
Date of Approval _________________

Call to Order:  A regular meeting of the Board of Directors, ABC, was held in [place, city, state] on [date], 200.  The meeting convened at  :00 A.M. on the first day, Chairman _______ presiding, ___________, Secretary.  Members of the Board in attendance were [names].  Members not in attendance were [names].

Approval of Minutes:  Minutes of the ______________________ meeting of the ABC Board of Directors were approved as printed and distributed to the members of the board. 

Officers  Reports:
           
             
Other reports :  [committee reports belong here]

 

Unfinished Business

              Section title

Motion: Moved by [name] and seconded that [state motion].
            Motion carriedMotion failed.

New Business:
 
Section title

Motion: Moved by [name] and seconded that [state motion].
            Motion carriedMotion failed.

Announcements:

 

Adjournment:   [Date] and the [place, city, state], were fixed as the time and place of the next regular meeting and the [date] meeting was adjourned at [time].

__________________________      ____________________
Secretary                                           Date of Approval

ms wordDownload this template as an MS Word Document

pdfDownload this template as an Adobe Acrobat Document

webpage versionView the online, printable version of this script

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