Whether you use Zoon, Uberconference, Google Hangouts or something else to conduct your farm bureau meeting, there are few ways to make the process easier and some things to keep in mind. As always, CFB staff is here to help you navigate the process and ensure you can continue to have meetings, whether or not they’re in-person.
Remember your Farm Bureau bylaws:
- Do your county bylaws allow for virtual meetings? Make sure your county’s bylaws allow it before you conduct business. Many counties have amended their bylaws to make sure they have flexibility to do so.
- If your county’s bylaws prohibit Video/Teleconferencing or electronic (email voting), it may possible to discuss business, but voting and agenda approval may have to be tabled to the next official board meeting where an in-person quorum is required.
How Colorado laws affect your meeting:
- What’s the Law? Nonprofit board members can meet both in person and virtually as long as all directors can hear one another (i.e., a conference call or Skype). It also allows for a written action instead of a meeting. Organizations with voting members can accept votes in person, or through written ballot instead of in person.
- Board voting. For nonprofit corporations, directors can vote in writing as long as the vote clearly identifies who is voting and their decision. Additionally, votes can be taken by email as long as bylaws permit it.
- Member voting. There has been confusion regarding whether or not voting members can vote electronically. However, a revision to Colorado law opens the door for nonprofit organizations to allow members to vote electronically. Be sure to check your county’s bylaws to see if this works for you.
If you believe your county farm bureau is prepared for holding virtual meetings, here are some good tips to keep everything running smoothly!
- Send out copies of agenda, minutes, financial statements and other vital information before the virtual meeting.
- Set-up the meeting in a conference calling service like Uberconference, Zoom, Skype, Google Hangouts or Microsoft Teams.
- Set an agenda that includes key talking points, the meeting structure, what participants will be in attendance and what participants are presenting.
- Consent agendas are Key! These help move the meeting forward in a timely manner and make for less confusion.
- Create a contingency plan for technological failures. For example, have the group move to a conference call if the video function is not working.
- Recommend that all attendees arrive a few minutes before the meeting to give everyone time to settle in before getting down to business.
During the meeting:
- Introduce everyone or take attendance.
- Make time for casual conversation at the beginning by checking in on everyone.
- Stay focused on the virtual meeting, making sure to close your other tabs, including your email.
- Mute your mic or phone when you are not talking to minimize unintentional background noises or feedback issues.
- Turn off all notifications on your cell phone.
- Check to see that all participants are in a quiet area free from sound and distractions.
- Try to engage everyone in the discussion, the more comfortable everyone feels talking over the virtual meeting the more ideas will be shared.
For Video Conferencing:
- Wear solid color clothing and check the lighting. Light shouldn’t be behind you, but in front of you for everyone to see you best.
- Make sure your camera is adjusted properly! Your camera should be slightly above your eyeline, about an arms length away.
- Look directly at the webcam while addressing others in the meeting, not your computer screen.
- Simplify the background! If the area behind you is too busy, people may focus on your background instead of you!
- Remember to turn off your camera when having to get up to do something, this makes it less distracting for those that are viewing the conference.