Summarizing the possible goals of meetings, one can outline two most urgent purposes of general assemblies with elections. These are as follows: to give an account of the past year to the members, and to carry out the elections for the board and the auditors. However, such a general meeting is at the same time also public relations and, therefore, so it is of a big importance that everything is planned and carried out flawlessly. In such a way the local association is seen from its best side. This is precisely what discusses the following article – all the important details that must be considered.
There are annual general meetings and extraordinary general meetings. As already mentioned, board elections are held every two years. Such general meetings are therefore mandatory. In addition, however, meetings may also be necessary if e.g. Early or early elections are pending or the delegates are to be elected for the district association meeting. Many speak so far of so-called ordinary (regular) and extraordinary member meetings. An extraordinary general meeting is to be convened if it is requested by the managing local council, or members of the local council. The district council also has the power to convene general assembly meetings if it considers this necessary for a particular reason.
Planning is extremely important. Therefore, one should create a plan first to know exactly what sources are needed. It does not matter when a general meeting takes place. After all, you want to have as many members as possible. There are some critical things to consider, including time, location, supporting preps, etc.
Season: not in winter. With snow and ice, wind and rain, the members stay at home. Not in school holidays. Parents and grandparents often travel with the children. Time: The meeting should not end when it’s getting dark outside. Older members want to go home in the bright. In general, the time must be reasonable. On Sundays and public holidays, an earlier start than 11.00 am is not advisable.
Timetable. The duration of a general meeting is, so to speak, proportional to the overall program; you should consider:
long board reports
(possibly) subsequent program (games, music and dance, dinner).
On average, membership meetings without a follow-up program take 2.5 to 3.5 hours. They should not last longer, because the attention of the participants noticeably decreases already after the first hour. The reports of the board should therefore be short and meaningful. Too long reports strain the audience. All spent the aforementioned time, 45 minutes are filled only with reports. The length of the debates is difficult to assess. But you should plan at least 10 to 15 minutes for it.
Agenda in a nutshell
The agenda does not have to be the program at the same time, but it is usually part of the program. The aim of a program and a clear agenda should be to motivate as many members as possible to come. After all, you want to have a full house and, ultimately, the members’ assembly should also be an advertisement for our association. On the one hand we achieve this with an attractively designed invitation and on the other hand with a well-organized and organized meeting. The parts before, during and after are essential for the success of a general meeting. That’s why every local association should plan its general assembly as early as possible and comprehensively in advance.
In time, so that all preparations can take place calmly and comprehensively, so that as far as possible no important details are forgotten.
An agenda must inform members so accurately about the contents of a general meeting that they can decide on the participation and prepare properly. The agenda is therefore an indispensable part of an invitation to a general meeting.
There are many details to consider when choosing the function room, for instance, size, distance, parking, bus stops, disabled access, toilets.
Size. The size of the room depends on certain factors:
• consider local association and past experiences
• number of guests
• introductory program
• table layout (U-shape, E-shape, T-shape, stand-alone), which, in turn, depends on the need for demonstration, passage width and operability with coffee and / or dinner board.
The room should not be chosen too small in any case.
Disabled Access. For wheelchair users and people with walking difficulties, it is important that the meeting room is as accessible as possible.
Toilets. For wheelchair users and disabled people, it is important that the toilets are continuously accessible. There should be a disabled toilet or at least as wide doors to and in the toilets, that a wheelchair user without any problems approach to the toilet and also from the wheelchair to the toilet (repositioning).
Distance. Especially for older and disabled members, the accessibility of the venue is important.
The meeting room should therefore be chosen as centrally as possible for all members. The distance on foot should not exceed 15 minutes. There should be a bus stop in front of or near the restaurant.
Parking. Nowadays, many participants come with their own cars. Therefore, there must be sufficient car parking spaces in front of, next to or behind the restaurant. If possible also at least one disabled parking space.
Dispatcher. For various reasons, some members are dependent on being picked up from home by a car and brought back home. Mostly, the boards know who they are and they should organize a shuttle service for these members.
If you want, you can invite some special nice guests that may include the mayor or the head of the municipality, the pastor (more for the Christmas party), chairpersons of other organizations, the chairperson of the senior club, etc. Guests should be given the opportunity to receive a greeting. As soon as possible at the beginning of the meeting. It is irritating when the guests thank you at the end of an event for their invitation and greetings from their club.