Minutes of nonprofit Board meetings can vary widely in format, and in the level of detail they capture. In some regards, this is fine; there is no one correct style. Each Board should adopt a style of record-keeping that suits its own particular needs.
However, minutes serve several vital managerial and legal functions. It’s important to understand those functions, in order to understand the types of material that should be recorded.
Minutes are a Board’s collective journal. They provide all members of the Board, including brand new ones, with a common baseline of information about what the Board has seen and done. They are a critical tool for efficient, continuing, sound governance.
Minutes are also the primary record of a corporation’s actions. Approvals of transactions, adoption of policies in compliance with regulatory requirements, and allocations of corporate assets are just a few examples of corporate actions that various parties inside and outside of the organization may need to see recorded in writing.
Finally, minutes are a vital tool when disputes arise as to a Board’s actions or responsibilities.