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How to improve trustee meetings with digital tools

Meetings are a place where people share, create and innovate.  However, this requires effective communication and the tools to enable this to happen.  Failure to communicate effectively as a board of trustees, can result in unnecessary discussions taking place during trustee meetings and important business not getting done. 

In this guide, we share some digital tools that can support effective communication and collaboration before, during and in between trustee meetings.  Before deciding on which tools to use and how, you should make sure you are not in breach of any requirements in your governing document or constitution.  For more information, have a look at the Charity Commission’s guidance.


Before the meeting

  • Choosing a time to meet that suits all trustees can be a thankless task, with a lot of unnecessary email exchange. Doodle is an easy way to find a date that suits everyone. Simply put in all of the possible dates and times, set up a poll, send the link to all participants and ask them to tick the dates they can make.
  • Google Docs is an easy way to share papers in advance of your board meeting.  It is free to use and means all your documents are stored in one place. Using google docs, you can also allow people to collaborate in creating a document, for example adding items to the agenda or sharing individual updates.
  • Why not create a Google Account for your trustee board? It will help you do some of the other things below.

During the meeting

  • If one of your trustees can't physically make the meeting, then why not try setting up a web call? Skype is free (but needs to be downloaded in advance onto your computer) and easy to use.
  • You can use Google Docs to create a document at the time of the meeting to record the minutes of the meeting. They can be accessed immediately by all trustees.

You may prefer to record your actions in a spreadsheet format.  You can do that in Google Docs too.


In-between meetings

There are a number of ways you can easily discuss issues in between trustee meetings using digital tools:

  • Easily share your thoughts on a document.  Anyone with permission can add their comments to a document saved on Google Docs. All versions of the document will be available.
  • Set up an email group for the trustee board.  This will make it easier to send an email to all trustees.
  • You can use tools that have an online chat function to communicate as a team about immediate issues. For example, if all of your trustees are on Facebook then set up a private group or alternatively try Yammer or Slack.  For a larger organisation you could invest in Huddle which will store documents as well as host discussions. 

Face to face/virtual chat: you can use Skype to have a chat with fellow trustees in between meetings.  Alternatively, you can invest in a webinar platform such as Go to Meeting or Zoom.


Your tips

What do you do to make sure meetings run smoothly? Please share your tips here by editing this how-to and adding your tips to this section.


Page last edited Dec 05, 2019 History

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