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An Annual General Meeting (AGM) is a meeting held once a year by community sports clubs, groups and organisations. An AGM provides organisations the opportunity to update their stakeholders on a range of matters, make important decisions, elect committee members and input into the organisation’s future direction.
Why are AGMs important?
An AGM is a statutory requirement for many organisational structures including; companies limited by guarantee, companies limited by shares, charities, community interest companies, cooperatives, community benefit societies or a Community Amateur Sports Club (CASC). However, even if your organisation is structured in a way where an AGM is not a mandatory requirement there are still a number of benefits of running one, including:
- Providing the chance to share or reiterate the organisation’s values, purpose and mission to ensure awareness and encourage buy-in across stakeholders.
- Enabling organisations to showcase successes both on and off the pitch, encouraging reflection on the past year and planning for the future.
- Promoting transparency and accountability by allowing stakeholders to feed into decision-making processes which will support democracy and encourage open debate.
- Allowing people from across your organisation to ask questions, gain clarity and hold the key decision-making body to account.
How are AGMs held?
It is likely that your organisation’s governing document (e.g. Articles of Association or constitution), will set out specific requirements for your AGM including when, where and how it should be conducted.
Primarily, AGMs are conducted as face-to-face meetings. However, unless your organisation’s governing document expressly prevents you from doing so, you can run AGMs virtually or offer a hybrid approach. For more information on running a virtual or hybrid AGM click here.
What might an AGM cover?
There are a number of points that should be covered in an AGM, and you might want to include items specific to your organisation too. However, it is good to set clear objectives and expected outcomes for the meeting in advance. Typical agenda items include:
- Welcome and apologies.
- Previous AGM minutes and arising matters.
- Reports from key personnel – e.g. Chairperson, Secretary and Treasurer.
- Presentation of annual accounts.
- Planning for the upcoming year.
- Agreement of amendments to documents, policies and procedures as required.
- Election of committee / Board members.
- Any other business – this provides the opportunity to answer any questions which have either been submitted beforehand or invited on the day.
- When organising an AGM it is important to plan and prepare properly. An organisation’s Secretary is traditionally responsible for organising the AGM but it is good to involve others, such as the Chairperson, Treasurer and Volunteer Coordinator, who can be assigned specific roles and responsibilities to share the workload.
- Check your governing document for any information relating to how your AGM should be run. This may include specifications like how many members must be present to make the meeting quorum and any voting processes including in person, online or by proxy, where someone is authorised to vote on another’s behalf. Communicating these processes and ensuring everyone understands them in advance will reduce any misunderstanding on the day of your AGM.
- Once you have checked your governing document, produce a timeline of what needs to be done and by when. This could include key elements like giving people enough notice of the AGM, setting deadlines for nominations, arranging voting for those who cannot attend and submission of questions.
- Encourage people to pre-register for the AGM so you can monitor attendance. This is useful to know in advance, to support the logistics of the meeting, but also means you can track whether the meeting will be quorum.
- If your AGM is being held in person, choose an accessible venue for the meeting to ensure a wide range of people can attend comfortably if they want to. Also, try to minimise any additional cost that might be attached to attendance.
- If your AGM is online or you are taking a hybrid approach, ensure you have sourced the right technology and communicate how this works to enable attendance for anyone who is interested.
- Consider how you can make the AGM a good experience for people and encourage as many people as possible to attend. For example, in person AGMs can be scheduled to coincide with training, matches or another event or function.
- At the start of the meeting, consider setting out expected behaviours for attendees to ensure respect and democracy are prioritised.
- Ensure that copies of the agenda, governing document and other key documents are readily available in case of any queries.
- Record attendance and ask at the start of the meeting if anyone has any interests they might need to declare. If this is the case, these will need to be managed effectively. Click here to find out more.
- Record all actions and decisions made in the meeting minutes.
- If you choose to record the meeting (video or audio), alert all attendees that this is happening and reassure them this is solely for the purpose of ensuring the minutes are accurate. Recordings should be deleted once the minutes are produced.
- Make sure you follow any requirements and processes set out in your governing document fully. This will protect the outcomes of your AGM as it will make sure there are no grounds for any complaints, as well as supporting the effective management of the meeting.
- The minutes and actions from the AGM should be shared with all attendees. It is good to prepare these as soon as possible to ensure notes don’t get lost or are misunderstood. Minutes can be posted online so those who didn’t attend can read what was discussed and find out about the decisions made.
- Agree and arrange an appropriate handover from existing committee or Board members to incoming personnel, to ensure they are effectively inducted and receive the support needed to begin their role.
- Think about how people are welcomed to their new role, as well as how outgoing members can be recognised and thanked.
- Share updates on the actions and any changes agreed during the AGM throughout the year. This helps to keep people informed, but also shows that your organisation is committed to listening and acting on the views of its people.
- Depending on your legal structure you may be required to file any key documents such as your accounts with the relevant statutory authority.