Annual General Meetings (AGM) are meetings that are held annually for the members or ‘owners’ of an organization. The meeting allows the board of directors to demonstrate how they have governed the organization over the past year and an opportunity for members and directors to talk with each other.
All AGMs should cover the following topics:
- Present the activities of the board for the previous year
- Present the audited financial statements
- Run elections for the board of directors
- Appoint the financial reviewer for the next fiscal year
There are three key steps to a successful AGM
- Planning & preparation
- Successful execution of the AGM
Notice of Annual Meeting
Make sure you give plenty of advanced notice of the Annual General Meeting. The notice should include a draft agenda and other supplementary information that may be needed during the meeting. Notices can be sent by traditional mail or sent by email. Be sure you have permission from the member before sending email notifications.
Other ways to promote your AGM to a broader audience include:
- Social media – Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, etc
- Unpaid media
- Other organizations
- Special invitations to sponsors, vendors, exhibitors, community groups, local dignitaries
The annual report gives members, volunteers and sponsors reasons to support your organization based on important facts, changes that have been made, or new policies. The report includes:
- Achievements and challenges
- Vision and mission
- Audited financial statement
- Board of Directors and staff list and contact information
- Performance measurements
Make your annual report interesting and have hard copies available as well as a digital version on your website.
Examples of Annual reports
- Canadian National Exhibition: https://com/assets/pdf/documents/Annual%20Report/2017_CNE_annual_report_online_final.pdf
- Norfolk Agricultural Society https://norfolkcountyfair.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/06/Annual-Report-2017-2018-FINALa.pdf
- Canadian Association of Fairs & Exhibitions https://www.canadian-fairs.ca/wp-content/uploads/2017/04/Annual-Report-2016-17.pdf
Audited Financial Statement
An audited financial statement is a review of the organization’s financial statements such as income statement, cash flow statement or balance sheet, that have been audited.
- Balance Sheet: Assets and Liabilities of the organization (including land and buildings)
- Income Statement: Profit/Loss for the current fiscal year
- Cash Flow Statement: shows how changes in balance sheet accounts and income affect cash and cash equivalents
Be prepared for potential questions that may be asked during your AGM by having a discussion with your board of directors: Are there any issues that the membership will want to know about? Are there any significant changes in the financial position of the organization? Have there been new or updated policies or procedures?
Have the information you need at hand and have trained staff in place to answer the questions. Make sure everyone on the board knows the answers to financial questions; the Treasurer is not the only one accountable for the finances. Furthermore, be honest and transparent when addressing major issues and explain the actions the board will take to remedy the situation.
Prepare a very detailed agenda for your AGM. Consider the length of the meeting, anticipated discussion time, motions to be made etc to minimize potential omissions and errors.
Sample AGM Agenda
- Call to order
- Establish quorum
- Approval of minutes of previous AGM
- President’s Report or Report of Board Activities
- Financial Statements: Treasurer’s report, Auditor’s report
- Executive Director or General Manager report
- Election of directors
- Resolutions/Motions requiring approval by the membership (constitution or by-laws)
- Optional – Guest Speaker
- Meeting Adjournment
Determine the meeting logistics in advance: setting the date, time and location. Also, look for sponsorships for speakers, refreshments and door prizes. Know who is chairing the meeting in advance; note that the president does not have to chair the meeting. Create a member sign in to help confirm quorum, also have a member package that includes minutes, ballots, annual report etc. Have someone assigned to be the parliamentarian for the meeting, to answer question on the constitution or procedures of the meeting.
AGM’s are a great opportunity to engage members. Create name tags for everyone attending and set up the room with round or rectangular tables, and have the chairs face each other to encourage friendly conversation. Include refreshments as well as having a break for networking.
Have your nomination process planned out in your constitution or by laws, whether you allow nominations on the floor or in advance. Include written policies/procedures, term for directors and an application process.
Always prepare in advance for an election, have the written policy/procedures ready and have the ballots prepared. Create an opportunity for nominees to address their membership either written or verbally. There are two different ways to give nominees an opportunity to address membership.
- If you have a nomination form, use this information as the bio for each nominee.
- If there are nominations on the floor, have each nominee speak for a few minutes.
An AGM is about motivation and celebration; remember to give recognition to volunteers, sponsors, leadership and youth. Also, celebrate the achievements and milestones and conclude with a meaningful motivational speaker.
After the AGM remember to evaluate the event with a short write up. Send out a survey to your members or have them complete one before they leave to give you some feedback for your next AGM.