This section provides a description of why a VOPE needs to hold an Annual General Meeting (AGM), and links to a variety of tools, toolkits and examples to help you prepare for your VOPE’s AGM.
It is typical for VOPEs and other non-profit organizations to have an Annual General Meeting at least once a year – during which:
- The VOPE leadership reports back to VOPE members and other interested parties on progress and finances.
- New VOPE leadership is elected or the results of an online election process is shared.
- Changes to the core organizational documents (like the constitution or bylaws, code of conduct, professional guidelines) are approved by members in good standing.
Requirements for an AGM may be spelled out in your VOPE’s constitution or other (legal) documents. This usually determines the agenda, frequency of meetings, the notice period for meetings, the minimum number of people required to constitute a quorum at an AGM, the records (such as minutes and attendance registers) that must be kept, and voting processes.
An AGM is usually conducted as a face-to-face meeting where members and leadership congregate, but depending on the nature of your VOPE and the resources at your disposal, you may want to consider alternatives:
- Consider hosting your face-to-face meeting as an additional event after a seminar or conference or other event where a large pool of your membership is likely to congregate. This saves money spent on travelling to the AGM, and makes it more likely that your members will engage with the meeting.
- If your membership is dispersed geographically, you may consider hosting an online AGM using online meeting software. The IOCE typically hosts its AGM in this way.
- Or you may want to use a hybrid approach where the AGM is face-to-face with a number of members, but for example live-streamed, and where voting can also take place online.
It is important to prepare adequately for the AGM. This means that you:
- have arranged the venue and logistics for the meeting;
- have prepared the relevant financial and progress reports;
- have sent out the necessary notices to members;
- have circulated a draft agenda (as per the constitution or bylaws) to members for approval and input;
- have informed members of any matters that will be put to vote;
- have allocated responsibility for chairing the meeting and presentations, handling attendance register and voting, taking minutes, ensuring that the meeting runs according to the provisions of the constitution, planning for contingencies (like a suddenly sick treasurer);
- have on hand the necessary printed copies of reports (which may have been circulated prior to the meeting);
- have prepared an attendance register clearly distinguishing between members in good standing (and those with the right to vote) and non-members (if legislation for protecting the privacy of individuals is applicable in your country, ensure that the information you collect on the attendance register is in compliance with the stipulations); and
- have set clear deadlines for post-AGM follow-up, meeting minutes and voting results/decisions to be made available to the members.
Typical topics/agenda points discussed at an AGM:
- meeting minutes of the previous AGM;
- accepting the agenda or making last minute adjustments;
- Chair’s report;
- introduction to AGM, the leadership, strategic elements of work – like changes to bylaws, constitution, membership etc. and elections for leadership positions;
- Secretary’s report;
- reporting on activities and matters since the last AGM, and already approved activities and matters for the time ahead;
- financial reconciliation and upcoming budget;
- any voting on decisions to be made, new committee members etc.; and
- any other business.