Executive Directors and CEOs of Nonprofits and their Boards are beginning to explore options for their annual general meetings given the Direction of the Minister Under a Declared State of Emergency.
All AGMs for the foreseeable future will be conducted:
- using a hybrid model of in-person and virtual; or
- they can be deferred for up to 90 days following the last day of the declared provincial state of emergency.
Virtual AGM or #StaytheBlazesHome
The first thing to do is make sure your technology is up to scratch. Not only do you need reliable platforms for meeting and providing feedback, you also need those platforms to be secure and fully auditable.
Whether you’re considering Microsoft Teams, GoToMeeting, Skype for Business, Zoom or another platform there are a few key things you’ll want to consider:
- the platform will need to support engagement functionality like voting, questions and answers, and speaker queueing
- the onboarding and setup should be simple and effective so that you can focus on the event’s content instead of technical logistics
- transparent and comprehensive procedures to securely identify attendees and enable and record online voting are important and should be developed in advance
- procedures for asking, managing and responding to questions remotely will also need to be put in place. For example, you may want to display all reasonable questions for participants to see and organize questions based on their subject matter or the order in which they are submitted.
The Ontario Non Profit Network offers this how-to guide to help facilitate a positive AGM experience.
Hybrid or #NoMoreThan5
With COVID-19, public health guidelines have restricted our meetings to no more than five individuals. With this in mind, you may want to invite up to five of your organization’s executive members to be present during your virtual AGM. In this case, social distancing rules and public health guidelines will need to be followed.
Delay or #NoEndSight
Per the direction of the Minister, a 90-day delay following the last date of the official declared State of Emergency, can be invoked for you AGM. Previous by-laws are surpassed by the declaration. If it is not too disruptive to your current operation, this can be an option for your organization to consider.
- http://www.carters.ca/pub/bulletin/charity/2020/chylb466.pdf - legal considerations
- https://www.watsoninc.ca/news/beyond-the-virtual-board-meeting-10-considerations-for-hosting-an-engaging-online-event/ - designing the AGM
- https://volunteer.ca/vdemo/ResearchAndResources_DOCS/COVID-19_AGMs%20During%20the%20Pandemic_VC.pdf – more in-depth information on the options
- https://www.theverge.com/2020/4/1/21202945/zoom-alternative-conference-video-free-app-skype-slack-hangouts-jitsi - beyond ZOOM, other online platforms to consider
- https://naturecanada.ca/news/blog/qa-how-nature-organizations-can-take-their-annual-general-meeting-online/ - Nature NL’s online AGM experience
- https://www.pacificlegaloutreach.com/news/guest-blog-coping-with-covid-19-meetings - COVID-19 specific adaptations and meeting suggestions