An Annual General Meeting (AGM) is a meeting, held once a year, and open to all members of your community group to attend. Holding an AGM should be seen as part of your group’s commitment to being open and inclusive about what you do.
The procedures for your group’s AGM should be set out in your governing document (constitution or Articles) and it is important that these are adhered to.
What Happens at an AGM
The AGM gives your members the opportunity to review the work of the group over the past year and to be part of the planning for the coming year. This includes looking at the group’s finances and electing a new committee.
The AGM gives a formal platform for:-
- reviewing and/or adopting the Annual Accounts
- election or retirement of committee members
- reviewng the work of your organisation through an Annual Report
- election of an accountant/auditor/independent examiner where applicable (that is depending on your group's legal structure, whether or not you are a registered charity, how much your annual income is)
- passing or putting forward of Resolutions or motions
An Annual General Meeting offers an accountable and formal opportunity for the Annual Accounts to be adopted and signed off by the committee. To do this you need to allow enough time in between your financial year end and your AGM date for preparing the final accounts.
Extending the appeal of your AGM
An AGM is also an excellent opportunity to involve the wider community in the work of your group. Why not think about using it to:-
- celebrate and promote your group’s activities/services
- enroll new members
- generate wider interest
- secure future support from funders and donors
Extending your AGM beyond the business of the meeting (that is, the adoption of accounts, election/re-election of committee members) will make it more appealing for people to attend.
You may want to think about inviting a guest speaker to talk about a topic of interest and relevance to your group. If you do include a guest speaker, make sure that they are given clear guidelines on how long you want them to speak for and ask them if they will stay for questions.
Another good way to make your AGM interesting and appealing for people to attend is to have a buffet afterwards and to encourage people to see it as a social occasion.
If your group includes guest speaker(s) and/or a buffet , these should follow after the business agenda of the AGM.
Planning your AGM
Agree on the best date and time for your AGM based on your local knowledge of your group’s members and community. If you are thinking of including a guest speaker you will need to start planning well ahead and to negotiate dates when they are available. Consider the best time to hold the AGM – would an evening be better than an afternoon or morning for your volunteers?
When booking your venue think about the kind of attendance you will need to accommodate and accessibility. Consider not only wheelchair access but also an induction loop system for people with hearing impairments. Any catering that you organize should include vegetarian options and/or alternatives for people with special dietary requirements.
Notifying and inviting people to attend
Your governing document should also set out the notice your group is required to give for an AGM. This is commonly 21 days.
Notice of your AGM should be extended to all your members along with an invitation for them to put forward resolutions or motions for the AGM Agenda.
You will also need to ensure that the wider public are given notice. Use the method(s) which you feel will work best for your local area - an advert in the local paper, your website diary, e-bulletin, emails, local radio, posters. Make sure your notice or advert includes a contact phone number and/or a means of reply with a deadline date. This will help you to get an idea on possible attendee numbers (and apologies) which you may need to confirm with the venue and/or caterers.
At the AGM
You will want to ensure that the AGM runs smoothly. Make sure that the committee members sitting at the top table (usually the office bearers) are well briefed and that everyone knows what is expected of them:-
- get people attending to sign in so that you will have a record for the Minutes
- have water on the table for the speakers
- have a chair who can ensure that everything on the Agenda is covered in full and on time
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Last Updated 05/02/2013 11:19