|  Register
You are here : Resources  >  League Resource Guide  >  Community Leagues  >  Tools For Boards
Tools for Boards

 

 

What is a Community League?

 
A community league is a volunteer, not-for-profit organization formed to meet the needs and interests of residents within a defined geographic area. Community leagues are recognized by the City of Edmonton as the primary speaking body for the community. Leagues are part of a network of neighbourhood-based organizations operating under the umbrella of the Edmonton Federation of Community Leagues (EFCL).
 
A community league is an autonomous body, registered under the Societies Act with the Corporate Registry of the Government of Alberta. Therefore, it must have a properly elected board of directors including committee chairpersons responsible for carrying out the business of the league. Each community league is required by the Societies Act to prepare and approve a set of bylaws which govern how the league is to operate.
 
Any resident within the boundaries of the community may become a member. Membership must be voluntary for the association to be recognized as a community league. 
 
A league’s members are responsible for electing a board of directors, which is responsible for overall operation of the league. Each league is required to hold an annual general meeting where directors are elected and financial statements reviewed.
 
A community league acts on behalf of its members. On occasion, and as appropriate, a league may be able to assume that its position likely represents the majority views of the community. Even in these instances, however, each community league representative should take care to put comments and observations within the context of the members it serves.
 
The effectiveness of each individual community league depends on the commitment of its volunteer board of directors to engage its membership at every opportunity to determine their needs and wishes and to ensure programs and services reflect members’ needs, interests and diversity. A common function of all community leagues is to bring neighbours together and typically decide to undertake the following:
 
  • provide recreation and social programs such as soccer, basketball, learn-to-skate, family events, community garage sales, discussion evenings, movie nights, etc. for its members,
  • develop amenities such as a community hall, rink, playground, tennis courts, basketball courts, etc. for the benefit of its membership, and
  • represent the community at large on matters of interest to the appropriate order of government and other organizations (e.g.) traffic issues, new developments, housing, crime prevention, etc.
 
The EFCL Board of Directors passed the following policy outlining the role of community leagues:
 
 
Role of the Community Leagues
 
  • To speak on behalf of their community league members
  • To report on behalf of all residents within the community league’s specified geographical area
 
Focus of the Community Leagues
 
  • Issues that directly impact the community league’s specified geographical area (e.g. rezoning applications; neighbourhood and/or corridor plans; development permits; parkland development and operations; school closures; public participation management; traffic operations; bus service)
  • Issues outside the community league’s specified geographical area that affect the community league either directly or indirectly (e.g. area transportation plans for projects including LRT lines, freeway/arterial/collector roads, mature neighbourhoods policies, city centre airport, “upstream” industrial or other major development; oil and gas approvals; river valley and district parks management; school consolidation/closure processes)
Process Used by the Community Leagues
 
  • Inform residents of the community league’s specified geographical area of projects and emerging issues/events.
  • Inform community league members of projects and emerging issues/events.
  • Check with and gather feedback from residents.
  • Check with and gather feedback from community league members.
  • Consult with appropriate government staff.
  • Review with appropriate committee and/or partner groups (e.g. civic committee; park planning committee; block parents; ways-and-means committee; sports organizations).
  • Decision determined by the community league board of directors
    or
  • Decision determined by community league members through general meeting and/or special resolution
  • Community league board of directors presents and upholds the decision.
Community League Responsibilities
As members of EFCL, community leagues are expected to:
·       follow the EFCL Code of Ethics,
·       establish a set of bylaws in compliance with the Societies Act and EFCL bylaws, 
·       work toward effective improvement of those common activities in which they participate,
·       act on behalf of the membership in an informed and responsible way,
·       be willing to share expertise and experience in the development of other member leagues,
·       encourage EFCL to grow and develop in a manner that meets the needs of its members.
 
 Responsibilities to EFCL:
 
  • Every community league is automatically a member of EFCL and shall learn and operate according to EFCL bylaws which include but are not limited to payment of dues and providing EFCL with a board contact list immediately following each election. **Fees were last increased in 2011, approved by a quorum vote at the October RGM (minutes on page 12 of the 2012 RGM Agenda package, the fee structure details are outlined on pages 41 to 46 of the 2011 RGM Agenda Package)
  • Every community league is eligible to vote for an EFCL director representing the district in which the league is located.
  • Every community league should maintain contact with its district representative and use this representative to bring issues and opportunities to EFCL’s attention.
  • Every community league is also eligible to vote at EFCL general meetings, and is encouraged to participate in these meetings.
  • As a member of EFCL, every community league is eligible for an annual operating grant from the City of Edmonton and is able to call upon EFCL for advice and guidance regarding this grant. The City of Edmonton requires a receipt of membership payment to EFCL and confirmation that the community league operates as a member in good standing in accordance with EFCL bylaws.
 
The working relationship between member community leagues and the Edmonton Federation of Community Leagues, (EFCL), will be more effective when the following are observed. 
 
1.    The officers of the community league shall know and abide by the EFCL Code of Ethics and Bylaws.
2.    The community league board shall send a representative to all EFCL meetings where such representation is requested.
3.    The community league board shall cooperate with the EFCL in the collection of information about their operations to allow for effective representation by the EFCL.
4.    The community league board shall assist the EFCL in its representative role by providing or helping to locate volunteers for ad hoc committees or for the board of directors.
5.    The community league representative shall review all EFCL mail and forward the material to the appropriate volunteer for action.
6.    The community league board shall conduct league affairs in a businesslike manner in order to preserve and uphold the good name of other leagues.
7.    As soon as possible following elections, the league shall notify the EFCL office of the changes to their board.
 
 
Responsibilities to the City of Edmonton:
 
Community leagues license public parkland from the City of Edmonton for their buildings and facilities. The Tripartite Licence Agreement, a legal agreement between the City and individual community leagues, spells out the responsibilities of each party relative to the use of city parkland and any community league facilities on that parkland.  Tripartite Licence Agreement links. Copies of your league’s agreement are available through your CRC.
 
 
 
Responsibilities to its Members:
 
The community league exists for and through its members; the board of directors, therefore, must serve them in the following manner:
 
1.    To ensure all activities are conducted with courtesy and respect and without discrimination. The members of the board are community leaders and must set an example.
 
2.    To realize the board serves the membership of the community league and is responsible to it.
 
3.    To provide opportunities for the membership to discuss and approve actions that affect them. 
 
4.    To notify members about meetings and their purpose, in a timely manner, and to provide sufficient information for members to make informed decisions. Difficulties often occur because appropriate information is not provided.
 
5.    To establish operating policies to supplement the bylaws.
 
6.    To conduct the business of the community league in a legal and businesslike manner. Appropriate procedures and conduct will help protect volunteers and avoid mismanagement.
 
7.    To adopt proper transition procedures and methods whereby policies can be carried forward from year to year. Procedures must be followed so that when questions are asked, they can be answered and supported by proper records. Procedures properly followed protect the integrity and good name of the volunteers.
 
8.    To ensure that minutes contain clearly worded motions, including details of the action to be taken, the amount of funds needed, the nature of the responsibility, the group responsible for the action, and the timeframe within which action is expected or required. Ensure that the motion is properly moved, seconded, debated, voted on and recorded. The minutes are a legal record of league decisions. 
 
9.    To realize that when people volunteer, they do not necessarily have all the skills needed for the job. The community league, in cooperation with EFCL and other organizations, should make its best effort to provide a course/workshop and/or bring in resource people or information for members to improve their skills.
 
10.  To set up ways of expressing gratitude to the volunteers who assist in the activities of the community league.
 
11.  To engage its membership at every possible opportunity including meetings and events, and through the use of tools such as surveys and open houses, and incorporate the acquired information as appropriate.
 
 
Responsibilities with the Community:
 
As well as serving its own members, the community league has a responsibility to the greater community. To enhance the relationship between the community league and the community, the league should observe the following:
 
1.     To realize, that by conducting the affairs of the community league in a proper, businesslike manner and in a friendly atmosphere, the league activities and membership benefit.
 
2.     To realize that efforts must be made to reach out to include non-members into the community league. This can be done by broadening the fee structure and offering a wide variety of programs. The philosophy of inclusiveness can go a long way in developing a good community.
 
3.     To make every effort to welcome people into the life of the community. Reaching out to new residents or saying hello builds a pleasant atmosphere in which to live, work, and play.
 
4.     To determine, from time to time, the needs of the broad community, not only to serve the community, but, in so doing, attract new people into the activities of the community league.
 
5.     To be aware that the community changes from time to time because of change in age and interests and that the community league must be prepared to meet these changing needs to remain viable.
 
6.     To accept a group of residents into the organization in an atmosphere of warmth and cooperation, (for example, a group of young parents wanting a playschool program or some citizens expressing concern about community problems). Be open to working with organizations willing to provide services beneficial to your members (e.g.) playschools, pre-school, day care, Cubs, Scouts, Girl Guides, cultural or sporting organizations.
 
7.     To realize that each community league is part of a city-wide structure and that how each league conducts its affairs reflects on every other league in the city.
 
8.     To be familiar with agreements in place with local schools and to nurture this relationship.(Joint Use Agreement).
 
9.     To be aware that churches, local businesses and institutions are important components of community life and should be included whenever possible.
 
Community leagues are often called upon to represent the community before various orders of government. It is important to incorporate the views of non-members to the fullest possible extent. While community league representatives cannot speak on behalf of non-members, they are often asked to report as accurately as possible on community-wide views.
 
Board Positions and Responsibilities
Information in this section is designed to give all board members a foundation of information about board roles, responsibilities and opportunities. Board members may also want to check out the hypothetical scenarios of typical situations leagues face – and their recommended solutions.
 
 
Role of the Board
 
The role of the board must be recorded in the bylaws. Policies and procedures should be established and documented. All board members are to be informed of their expected roles and responsibilities at the beginning of their terms.
 
An orientation program is important for new board members. Also, when assigning new members to committees, ensure there are opportunities for them to ask questions and absorb the organization’s process. This builds their commitment to their role as directors.
 
(a)  Trusteeship. Trusteeship is the most important responsibility. The directors are responsible for the organization’s programs, image and assets. They have a duty to manage the organization honestly, in good faith, and in the best interests of the organization.
 
(b)  Financial Management. The directors are responsible for funds the organization raises, accepts and disperses. Adequate financial controls that protect the assets and limit the liabilities are required.
 
(c)  Program Planning, Implementation, and Evaluation. The directors must ensure that the board sets goals, defines obligations and develops plans to reach these goals. The goals should reflect the needs of the organization and the community and be translated into the budget or utilization of resources at the disposal of the organization. Methods of evaluating the effectiveness of programs are essential.
 
(d)  Communications. Communications within the organization, written and verbal, enable the membership to understand and support the board actions. The board must listen to members, especially when establishing goals and planning programs. Interaction with others outside the membership, including potential members, community leaders, other organizations and various business and government bodies is very important. The organization’s image is developed through communicating its actions, concerns and vision effectively to all of the community.
 
 
Responsibilities of All Board Members
 
1.     Commitment to the work of the organization.
2.     Knowledge of board governance: policy, finance, programs and services, personnel and advocacy.
3.     Responsibility to serve on committees.
4.     Attendance at monthly board meetings, assigned committees and general meetings.
5.     Support of board decisions externally (e.g., in public).
6.     Adherence to the league’s bylaws and Code of Ethics.
7.     Membership in a community league.
Job Descriptions
All board positions should have accurate, complete and updated job descriptions to ensure clarity of responsibilities, and overall efficient operation of the league.
 
A job description: 
 
·         helps prevent misunderstandings,
·         indicates whether a job is too much for one person, requiring a committee,
·         helps introduce a new board member to a position,
·         serves as a reminder all year as to responsibilities and when they should be carried out,
·         can be printed in the newsletter to inform residents, and can be useful for recruiting new Members and volunteers,
·         provides directions and support to volunteers,
·         helps identify overlaps/gaps in responsibilities, and
·         helps identify the limits of each person’s/committee’s responsibility and authority.
 
A job description should identify:
 
·         the duties as specifically as is reasonable, 
·         when to do each duty, (e.g. booking hall months ahead for the Christmas Dance),
·         the estimated time required to perform the duties,
·         the responsibilities, especially if money is involved. Make clear where the person’s authority and responsibilities begin and end, what decisions can be made, what needs board approval, etc.,
·         the line of reporting and authority, and
·         sources of help available.
 
Boards are also strongly encouraged to include term limits in their bylaws. EFCL recommends term of office is two years. EFCL also recommends leagues set a maximum number of years an individual can hold a board position, or a maximum number of re-elections an individual can allow his or her name to stand to maintain a healthy balance of authority, experience and personalities on the board. Limiting each director’s term of office:
 
  • makes recruiting volunteers easier,
  • lets the directors know how long they have to accomplish their agendas,
  • gives directors a way to retire gracefully, and
  • ensures a healthy turnover of board members.
See our templates for job descriptions your league can use as is, or adapt to suit your specific needs and the requirements of your bylaws.
 

Hall Manager
Hall Rental Director 
Rink Director 
Membership Director 
Program Director 
Communications Director  
Civics Director (Government Relations)
Sports Director 

Seniors Director

 
Community leagues are free to create other board positions as required, such as:
 
·       Playground Director
·       Neighbourhood Watch Liaison 
·       Seniors’ Liaison
·       Director-at-Large
 
 
For more information about board positions and responsibilities, board committees and director job descriptions, visit:
 
  • Alberta Culture and Community Spirit, Board Development Program at www.culture.alberta.ca/bdp
  • the HR Council for the Voluntary and Non-Profit Sector at www.hrcouncil.ca
  • Volunteer Today at www.volunteertoday.com  
Board Committees
Community leagues commonly develop committees to assist board members with their duties. It remains the sole prerogative of each league to determine which committees they need to fulfil their mandate. The chairperson of each standing committee is a board member to ensure a direct link between the board and the committee.
 
Standing Committees
 
Common standing committees – those that exist throughout the board term – include:
 
Executive Committee. Typically, this committee is composed of the president, vice-president, treasurer and secretary. The committee typically oversees the league’s day-to-day operations including the supervision of staff such as the executive director if one is employed. The executive committee is also involved in strategic planning, setting agendas and ensuring that the league’s legal obligations are fulfilled.
 
Finance Committee. This committee is responsible for the overall financial operation of the league, assisting the treasurer in developing the overall league budget and monitoring the day-to-day expenses. The finance committee helps the accountability and transparency of the league’s operations and ensures the league operates in a businesslike manner.
 
Program Committee. The mandate of this committee is to ensure the league develops and implements programs of interest to its members, recruits volunteers as well as instructors to run programs and helps attract registrants and, where applicable, sponsors. Successful program committees commit to consulting league members regarding their wishes and priorities at every opportunity to accomplish this mandate.
 
Social Committee. This committee ensures the league offers social programs of interest to its members. It also recruits volunteers to help run the programs and events and to help promote them. Again, committee members are strongly encouraged to consult with members to ensure the success of their programs and events, which are of significant importance in helping the league maintain a high profile in the community.
 
 
Ad Hoc Committees
 
Community leagues may also wish to strike ad hoc committees – those committees formed to fulfil a specific purpose and then are disbanded when the project is complete – for projects such as developing or redeveloping a playground or organizing a volunteer recognition event. As with standing committees, each committee requires a chairperson who sits on the community league board to ensure a direct link between project work conducted on board direction and the board.
 
 
Bylaws
 
Bylaws set out in detail the way your league is organized and the rules surrounding all of its activities. Your bylaws must answer all the requirements of the Societies Act and include:
 
  • how new members join and their rights and obligations,
  • how members can leave the league and, if required, how members may be expelled,
  • how and when general and special meetings will be called,
  • the definition of quorum at any of the meetings,
  • the rights of voting,
  • how directors and officers are to be appointed and removed, and their duties, powers and pay,
  • how money will be borrowed and by whom,
  • the procedures for financial audits,
  • how the league’s corporate seal will be used and who has responsibility for it,
  • how bylaws will be made, amended and rescinded,
  • how minutes will be prepared for meetings of the entire league or for meetings of the directors, and who has responsibility for keeping minutes and other records, and
  • the time and place, if any, at which the league’s books and records may be inspected by members.
 
See our sample bylaws based on EFCL’s bylaws.
 
 
Changing Your Bylaws
 
Under the Societies Act, a community league’s bylaws cannot be rescinded or changed except by special resolution of the league. Changes to the bylaws cannot take effect until the changes have been registered by the Government of Alberta Registrar.
 

See our special resolution template for changing a bylaw. You may wish to adapt this sample and the template for your own league. 

 

Policies

More details coming soon.

Function of Bylaws:  Bylaws define the governing and operational rules of the Society (Community League) under which the board of directors and any management/staff must operate, on behalf of the membership. Bylaws specify when the board meets, when the annual membership meeting takes place, the term of office for board members, who appoints management and other governance matters.

Function of Policies:  Policies are set by the board to define the operations of the Community League, such conflict of interest, board member conduct and other operational matters (volunteer management, etc.).

Significance:  Bylaws can only be changed by a vote of the membership.  Policies can be changed by board decisions.

Policy Resources:

Restructuring your policies?  Perhaps Mount Royal Policy Studies Internship can help you 

http://www.culture.alberta.ca/bdp/bulletins/DevelopingPolicy-Print_09.pdf

http://managementhelp.org/boards/index.htm#anchor1322914

Board Development
Strategic (Annual) Planning
 
All community league boards are strongly encouraged, as a group, to plan their year’s programs, services and activities very early in the term – using input gathered from the league’s members to guide league decisions.
 
This is the simple definition of strategic planning: annual planning that lays out a general plan of action for the entire year based on the needs and wishes of those individuals whom you are serving – your members – and then ensuring roles and responsibilities for implementing the plan of action are clear.
 
Following the basics of strategic (annual) planning will yield positive results. Strategic planning shows your members their input is important and valued, and creates a “blueprint” that will guide your work for the year. Your board’s financial and programming decisions will be based on clear priorities that your board has gathered from members.
 

P.S. Ask EFCL's Board Development Director or your CRC for help with strategic planning!

 
Other excellent sources of information about strategic planning are: 
 
  • Alberta Culture and Community Spirit – Board Development Program (BDP). Visit www.culture.alberta.ca/bdp or phone 780-427-2001.
  • MacEwan’s Resource Centre for Voluntary Organizations (RCVO). Visit www.rcvo.org or phone 780-497-5040.
  • Edmonton Chamber of Voluntary Organizations (ECVO). Visit www.ecvo.ca or phone 780-428-5487.
  • City of Edmonton Public Consultation Office. Visit www.edmonton.ca and use the search words “public consultation” or phone 311.
 
As well, EFCL, the City of Edmonton and others will conduct workshops on these matters. Call EFCL at 780-437-2913 to ask about its workshops and contact your CRC for information on other opportunities.
 
P.S. When you map out your year’s programs early in the year, promote the exact dates if possible, or if not, approximate dates to your members so they can block off the dates in their calendars.
 
 
Several templates are available for download that you may wish to adapt for your own strategic planning sessions.
 
 
Building a Strong Board
 
Imagine the following happy scenario: board decisions are reached by consensus after informed discussion; board members respect others’ opinions and support the final decision; all members pull their weight; work is shared among all members; enough people agree to volunteer for board positions and project implementation.
 
This scenario is not “pie in the sky” dreaming, but achieving these results takes strong board leadership, a commitment by all board members and hard work.
 

P.S. Take the time to recruit, develop and recognize the best people to serve on your board. Your efforts will pay dividends.

 
To successfully recruit and retain board volunteers, take the time to understand what motivates them. Benefits might include:
 
  • opportunities to contribute to the community,
  • opportunities to use the individual’s skills and time,
  • time commitment fits the individual’s personal schedule,
  • networking opportunities, and
  • opportunities to influence the programs and services offered.
 
Board Orientation
 
Once new board members have been recruited, they need orientation regarding the league as a whole and their role within it.
 
Each new board is strongly encouraged to hold an orientation session within the first month of the term to ensure each board member understands the basics of the league. The session should include all board members.
 
Use the Board Member Orientation Checklist template and the Board Member Contact Sheet template on Pages __ and __ in the Appendices to ensure board members have all the information they need to get up to speed quickly. You may wish to compile the listed information in a binder and keep a copy of the binder as a single source for these important documents.  
Meetings
 Responsibilities
 
Of the chair:
 
  • Prepares the agenda with input from other board members.
  • Starts the meeting on time. If members know the meeting will start on time, they will arrive on time.
  • Is aware of organization bylaws that relate to meetings and basic rules of order.
  • Keeps discussion on topic and moving forward.
  • Ensures all members are allowed to contribute equally to the debate.
  • Manages each item of the agenda so the meeting ends at its stated time. If necessary, negotiate any time extensions of the meeting.
  • Sets a time for adjournment and manages each item on the agenda so the meeting ends at its stated time. Accepts motions and conducts votes on any requests to extend the length of the meeting.  

P.S. Following formal rules of order such as Robert’s Rules of Order or Bourinot’s Rules of Order ensures clarity of Board actions and decisions. Robert’s Rules is widely available at bookstores. As well, a number of online versions and summaries are available. Start by checking out www.robertsrules.com or searching “Bourinot’s Rules of Order.”

  

Of the secretary:

 

  • Accurately records motions and voting.
  • Prepares and distributes minutes to all members including copies of any reports submitted to the board or committee.
  • Ensures all board or committee members are advised of upcoming meetings.
 
Of all board or committee members:
 
  • Be aware of the date, time and location and attend all meetings, arriving on time.
  • Review the minutes of previous meetings to ensure discussions have been accurately recorded. This will also help ensure you are up to date on previous motions and discussions that might occur at the next meeting.
  • Review the agenda and any information provided for the upcoming meetings.
  • Do your homework before the meeting so you are prepared to discuss your items and answer questions related to your portfolio.  
 
Efficient and Effective Meetings
 
On average, a board will meet about 10 times in a year – likely not more than a total of 30 hours. In that time, the board is expected to make decisions that lead the league through its entire operation – and plan for the next year. With that workload and that tiny timeframe, there is no time to waste!
 
While there is a need for efficiency, it’s also important to make your meetings enjoyable for the whole board. Have some fun! You might consider these ideas for building your team at your meetings – and making them something your directors enjoy:
 
  • Schedule some time after the meeting adjourns for socializing – and note the opportunity at the beginning of the meeting.
  • Take turns telling a joke or recalling an amusing anecdote at the beginning of the meeting.
  • Hold the occasional fun and fast contest at the beginning of the meeting. For example, predict the day of the first snowfall, the last day of the rink operation or the number of participants your newest program will attract.
When you’re back to business, the board must ensure it gets the work of the league accomplished – with no time wasted. Following are characteristics of meetings that waste members’ time:
 
  • There is no agenda – or the agenda is not followed.
  • Material for the meeting is not given out ahead of time.
  • Little gets accomplished.
  • More than one person talks at once.
  • Some participants dominate the discussion.
  • The meeting goes longer than scheduled.
  • Not everyone participates.

P.S. Before every meeting, board members should be able to answer, “What are we going to resolve or accomplish at the meeting?”

 

Sometimes, the behaviours of one or more board members can detract from the meeting. The board chair must be prepared to deal with these situations effectively. Here are some suggestions:
 
  • For complainers. Anticipate their comments and try to prevent them from speaking until others have given some positive comments. Ask them specific questions about the issue such as, “How would you handle this situation, Terry?” Or, “Can you think of one or two ways to improve on this suggestion?” Another technique is to first ask for clarifying questions when someone presents a new idea. This approach makes sure everyone understands the idea before opening the meeting for discussion and other questions. Experience has shown that clarifying takes care of many issues people have and reduces the number of negative comments.
  • Devil’s advocates. Be aware of people who consistently look for what is wrong with new ideas or who immediately take the opposing view in discussions. First, compliment them on their interest and enthusiasm in the topic. Then, have them summarize the position they disagree with by asking, “Ann, would you please tell us specifically what you don’t agree with in this proposal?” Recap their interest, trying to emphasize the points they agree with and to minimize the points of disagreement. You can also redirect the board to the topic at hand by asking a direct question on the subject and bringing others into the discussion.
  • Experts. Do not discourage their input, but also do not let them off easily. Ask them for specific examples of information that supports their statements. You may find out that, in fact, they do not know what they are talking about.
  • Limelighters. These people like to be the centre of attention and often have little to say, but take a long time to say it. Ask them “funnel questions” that start with general information but quickly narrow to specifics. For example, “Our year end is six months away, and a 25% reduction in funding is expected for next year. Can we come up with a practical way of deciding our priorities for service if we are unable to locate other funding sources? You can also smile, tell them their point is interesting and politely refer to the agenda, indicating, “We are a bit off the subject.” Another approach is to wait for a pause, then thank them for their input. Immediately refocus the discussion and move on.
  • Quiet ones. Make your meetings a safe place for everyone to participate and establish group norms that everyone’ input is needed. Reinforce this concept with supportive statements such as, “In this board, we value everyone’s input. It’s OK to disagree with someone’s idea but it’s not OK to tune them out or to be disrespectful.” Sometimes you can also encourage the quiet people to speak by drawing out someone next to them. Then ask for an opinion about the view expressed. Consider talking with these people privately. Find out their thoughts and feelings about what is being discussed. Ask them how they would like to participate.
  • Involving more people. Try “relay questions” to reinforce the value of everyone’s input and reduce people’s tendency to see the chair or another board member as in charge of the conversation. Example statements could include, “How do the rest of you feel about . . .” or “Has anyone got an idea or opinion about . . . “ or “Have any of you had a similar experience and what has worked for you?”
 
Source: “Board Development” PDF, Board Development Program, Alberta Culture and Community Spirit.
 
 
See our template checklist for chairing an effective meeting. Use it as is, or adapt it to suit your specific needs.
 
Board Elections
 
Elections of the board must be held at a meeting, generally the annual general meeting, open to the membership. Specifics of running an election should be described in your league’s bylaws. Please be aware that the Societies Act requires each league to conduct an annual general meeting.
 
Generally, the election of officers is held by ballot – not by voice or a show of hands – so the confidentiality of the person casting the ballot can be maintained.
 
Leagues are strongly recommended to arrange for at least two people who are not involved in the election and have no personal interest in the outcome of the election to count ballots. These two individuals could be City staff such as your CRC or community league members who are not running for a position on the board or have a close relative running for a position on the board.
 
Immediately following the board election, leagues must forward an updated board contact list with full names, positions, addresses, phone numbers and e-mail addresses to EFCL.
 
 
Agendas and Minutes
 
Behind every well-run meeting is a good agenda. The agenda acts as a blueprint to guide the meeting – and shows all participants that the chair is organized, in control and respectful of everyone’s time.
 
There are several types of agendas that work well. Some are detailed; others are simple. All good agendas, however, cover the basics of meeting processes and allow for the actions and decisions of the group to be organized and recorded so they can be accessed over time.
 

 P.S. Never hold a meeting without sending out an agenda at least several days before the meeting. How can participants think about items and prepare for them if they don’t know what to expect?

 
Minutes
 
Minutes are extremely important as official records. Accurately recorded minutes and financial records are vital for your annual audit or records. The minutes are the record of resolutions and directions, and protect the officers and board members in the actions that are taken. The key to good minutes is being able to accurately summarize conversation or discussion so they remain clear and easy to navigate months down the road. Minutes do not have to include all discussion, but should include enough detail so an individual can understand the context of a resolution, action or direction.
 
Meeting minutes also play a vital role in protecting board members because they show the managerial duty, fiduciary duty, duty of care, duty of diligence, duty of skill and duty of prudence. See Page __ for more information on the legal responsibilities of members of the board.
 
Minutes of the meeting should be available as soon as possible after the meeting. The purpose of the minutes is to:
  • provide a permanent record of the proceeding of a meeting,
  • keep track of progress,
  • inform absent members,
  • help orient new members, and
  • provide a useful guide for evaluating the league’s work

Two meeting agenda templates and two meeting minute templates are available to adapt for your own board meetings.

 Record Keeping/Disposal
Each league is strongly encouraged to develop a policy regarding record keeping and disposal. Information and documents that should be included under such a policy include:
 
  • The business matters of the board – agendas, minutes, reports, etc.
  • League financial information
  • Personal information of board members and staff (names, addresses, contact information)
  • Membership records
  • Correspondence
  • Contracts and letters of agreement (staff, hall rentals, program rentals, etc.)
  • Program information
  • Other information as identified by each league
The policy should outline in detail:
 
·         the length of time electronic (computer) or paper files should be retained,
·         where paper files should be kept until they are destroyed,
·         on which computers electronic files can be kept (i.e.) the acceptability of maintaining league information on the personal computers of board members and other league volunteers,
·         the method to be used for ensuring no league electronic files remain on the personal computers of individuals no longer on the board,
·         where/how electronic files should be kept until they are destroyed,
·         how paper records will be destroyed
o    it is strongly recommended that records containing financial or personal information be shredded
o    it may not be necessary to shred information that is not financial or does not contain personal information
 
All financial records, including those associated with Alberta Gaming casino and bingo initiatives, and including documentation of memberships sold, are to be retained for a minimum of seven years. Incorporation documents, bylaws/objects and amendments, annual audited financial statements, meeting minutes of the membership and the board should be archived and kept indefinitely.
 
Community leagues are governed by the Personal Information and Protection Act (PIPA) regarding the collection, use and disposal of personal information. For more information about PIPA, visit the Office of the Privacy Commissioner of Alberta at www.oipc.ab.ca.