When emergency situations arise, an organization relies heavily on its members’ agility and responsiveness. During these situations, the first thing to do is call a board meeting.
Calling for emergency board meetings is different than regular meetings, though. Robert’s Rules of Order state that special meetings must meet certain conditions and requirements.
If your organization is facing a crisis and you need to call an emergency board meeting, this post is for you. Read on to find out how to prepare an emergency meeting efficiently and how its preparation differs from your regular board meetings.
1. Identify the cause for an emergency meeting
First, assess the situation and the need for an emergency meeting. Doing a risk assessment helps you set expectations, prepare the agendas for the meeting, and establish transparency with the board.
The reasons could vary, but the usual culprits are:
- An urgent matter that requires immediate attention before the next regular meeting
- An unexpected crisis needing an immediate solution
- A proposal to amend bylaws
- A discussion on changing the special rules of order
2. Let the board members know of the meeting
Legal requirements require that a notice of meetings or waivers be sent to board members as soon as possible. In this way, they will have sufficient time to assess the situation.
The notice of the meeting should include specific details of the meeting, such as:
3. Establish communication
Discuss with your preparation committee your communication plan for this emergency.
Usually, organization guidelines already contain the details of the communication systems in preparing for a meeting. However, it would do everyone good to go over the flow of the communication hierarchy, especially in emergency situations, to ensure everyone knows their roles and points of contact.
Having the right tools to communicate and hold your meetings is also handy in preparing for emergency meetings. With the rise of organizations holding virtual meetings today, it is imperative that all your communication tools, such as a video conference app, are prepared. This is so everyone can discuss the crisis and find a solution as soon as possible.
4. Assign responsibilities
Assign all tasks to available staff to ensure the emergency board meeting goes smoothly. For instance, someone should be in charge of communicating with the board members, one should handle releasing a public notice (if need be), one for gathering all pertinent documents, and one for verifying the quorum for board meeting.
5. Document everything
Whether the emergency is resolved or is in need of another special meeting, it is always a smart practice to document everything that transpired at this emergency meeting – from preparation to the conclusion. If the organization encounters a similar event in the future, at least everyone will have a reference to respond to the crisis faster and more efficiently.
It is ideal to document everything as soon as the meeting concludes so that all details are still fresh in your mind.
6. Evaluate and improve your emergency response system
Once the crisis or the situation is resolved, reflect on your response procedure and see how efficient and productive it was. Did it live up to the expectations of the board? Did you manage to respond to the emergency promptly? How was the communication between all involved parties? Were all agendas accomplished?
Your evaluation of preparation for your emergency meeting will allow you to see blind spots and improve your response method for future emergencies.
Your internal operations, such as board meetings, should also be digital-first. The use of board management software to run your board meetings will help you survive the tides of this digital age.