Welcome to AGM season!
We are pleased to share our Tops Tips for preparing for and running a successful AGM.
Based on our collective experience, we have designed a list of Top Tips for running your most effective and efficient AGM yet.
A well planned and managed AGM can be more than a tick-box exercise.
These tips can support you to:
1. Lessons Learned
Detailed preparation is critical for AGM success. At the early stages of planning your AGM, it is beneficial to take time to reflect on learnings from the previous year’s AGM. Consider the following questions:
Confirm who will be the minute taker and ensure that they are aware of the Corporation’s expectations for the content of the minutes. Agree on the timeline and plan for preparing the minutes after the AGM, including a process for seeking feedback from the Chairperson and members.
There is an option to keep minutes by using an audio or video recording. Note that minutes taken via audio or video recordings must include every attendee stating their name on the recording.
3. Maximise Attendance
Advertise the AGM broadly to try and maximise attendance. In addition to sending your members a notice of meeting as required under your Rule Book, you may like to consider advertising the key details of the AGM in your Corporation’s newsletters, website, Facebook, newspaper and on a notice board or in the office window.
Consider inviting a guest speaker to the AGM that your members may be interested to hear from or plan the AGM around an event that you know will be well attended.
4. Use Technology for Hybrid-Virtual Meetings
If your Rule Book allows virtual attendance at the AGM, you may consider arranging a digital videoconference option. Hybrid meetings may encourage members to participate who may not have been able to attend the AGM in person.
IT professionals can advise whether the chosen technology platform is the right “fit” for your purposes. The technology chosen must allow members, directors and invitees to attend and participate in the AGM and can assist in getting a quorum.
Give yourself plenty of time to test the technology and check the user experience. Things to consider and check include:
There should be a designated person on the meeting day to manage the technology system and liaise with virtual attendees - the Chairperson should not undertake this role. Members should be aware of who to contact if they are having trouble accessing the technology and be able to contact that person via multiple methods (e.g. virtual chat, email or by telephone).
5. Easy Registration Process
Confirm who will sit at the registration desk and discuss what process they will follow to record members’ attendance at the AGM and assess their eligibility to vote. The AGM is also an important time to ask members to update their details on the Register of Members.
A Corporation should consider how members will check their details on the Register of Members if they will attend the AGM virtually.
6. Efficient Proxy Management
Ensure that proxies are carefully managed by assigning a person the responsibility of receiving all proxies and assessing their validity. Your Rule Book and the CATSI Act have important rules regarding proxies.
It is important that proxies are reported to the Chairperson before the AGM.
7. Annual Report
Your AGM is the opportunity to share with your members the successes and challenges of the past year. Distributing an Annual Report is an excellent way to communicate this, together with a verbal report from the CEO or Chairperson on the day.
It is beneficial to schedule the AGM while the Annual Report and Financial Statements are fresh in the Board’s mind.
8. Director Nomination Process
If your Corporation has a Director nomination process, ensure that it is strictly followed. Check when nominations are to be received by and ensure that a person is assigned responsibility of managing receipt and assessing their validity. Ensure there is clarity about who is going to confirm the eligibility of candidates. Be clear in advance about whether candidates are permitted to nominate “from the floor” or must do this before the AGM.
9. Managing Director Elections
Carefully review the rules in your Rule Book or board policies about Director elections. Where voting by written ballot is required, it is best practice to arrange independent scrutineers. The scrutineers should be briefed in advance on the required processes.
10. Voting Processes
Consider how voting on resolutions will be managed at the AGM. For example, there may be a need for members to split into different rooms at times. Members may want the full wording of resolutions displayed on screen, or the results of voting. Equipment may be required such as voting boxes, post it notes, pens etc. Some Corporations provide coloured wristbands to voting members. There will need to be sufficient people available to monitor member attendance to ensure quorum is maintained, and to assist in counting votes on a show of hands or via technology.
11. Briefing the Chairperson
The Chairperson has significant responsibility for the duration of the AGM. We recommend that you ensure your nominated Chairperson is well prepared for the meeting by familiarising themselves with the following:
12. Prior Communication with External Guests
Reach out to any external guests who will be attending the AGM (i.e. auditor, stakeholders, lawyers) and confirm their role on the day, including any presentation material that they need to prepare and how the Board would like it presented to members.
13. Prior Communication with Key Stakeholders
We recommend you “check in” with key stakeholders to identify whether there will be any contentious or sensitive issues arising before or at the AGM based on current circumstances. With this information, you will be better prepared for any potential dispute, concerns or tensions arising during the meeting and the associated delays.
14. Postponing or Cancelling AGMs
Your Rule Book may allow postponement or cancellation of the meeting. This may be limited to exceptional circumstances, such as the death of a community person or a natural disaster.
If your Rule Book is silent on this issue, a meeting can only be postponed or cancelled once it has been started and the members resolve to postpone or cancel the meeting. We recommend familiarising yourself with the relevant rules of your Corporation.
15. Beyond the Meeting
Regular and effective member engagement throughout the year can lead to a smoother AGM. This can include the flow of information out to members through a variety of channels, and providing opportunities for questions, discussion and feedback. The aim is for members to remain aware and comfortable with the ongoing activities of the Corporation as the year progresses.
Assistance from Jackson McDonald
Jackson McDonald’s experienced team can assist your Corporation to plan and run your upcoming AGM. If you would like more information on AGMs, or if you would like assistance, please contact Emma Chinnery or Kimberley Swift.