How To Take Non-Profit Meeting Minutes + Template

The non-profit sector is one of the best performing for taking meeting minutes. In our State of Meeting Management 2024 report, 86% of meeting participants from non-profits confirmed that someone minuted meetings and distributed them afterwards. However, only 54% of those in non-profits reported that action points stayed on the radar and were followed up in a timely manner. 

As minutes play a key role in holding non-profit board members accountable, it could suggest that there is an issue with the way organisations are dealing with the minuting process

In order to make sure your organisation’s minutes help the board follow through on decisions and help the organisation meet the goals of its mission, this article provides a comprehensive guide to the process. You will also find a non-profit meeting minutes template to help craft a lasting and effective record of your meetings and their outcomes. 

Why take non-profit board meeting minutes?

There are a number of reasons why non-profit boards should take minutes of their meetings:

  • Accountability to donors, shareholders, sponsors and other funders, showing them transparently how the organisation is set up to make the most of its money with a clear strategy to meet its goals.
  • As a legal record of the discussions held and decisions made during the meeting. This is useful in case there is any legal issue in the future and the board needs to prove that a decision went through the correct procedure to put in place a policy or procedure. 
  • To inform actions that take place following the meeting. The minutes should list what the action is, who is assigned to it and when it should be completed. The outline of the discussion around the action point will also help the assignees towards completing it in the desired manner. 
  • As proof that the non-profit is working towards its stated goals and mission in order to maintain its status as a non-profit with the authorities in the jurisdiction in which it works. 

How to take non-profit meeting minutes

Here are some important tips to bear in mind when taking non-profit meeting minutes.

Prepare in advance

The more work you can put into the minutes in advance of the meeting, the more you will be able to concentrate on the conversations taking place when board members are around the table. 

This means distributing and having stakeholders approve the previous meeting’s minutes. This way, you can use any feedback on the structure or clarity of the minutes to improve the next set. 

Reviewing the meeting agenda helps you fill in your minutes template with the topics to be discussed, saving time during the meeting. It is also important to understand the aims and objectives of the meeting and to familiarise yourself with the discussion items. This could include, for example, fundraising campaigns and projects the company is involved in to make it easier to document the discussion accurately. 

Use a standard template

Rather than beginning each meeting with a blank sheet of paper, using a standard template makes sense as it helps to structure the minutes correctly. Consistency is key, especially if you have to go back and search previous meeting minutes for any reason in the future. 

Add in sections for:

  • Date, time, location and meeting type
  • A list of those in attendance
  • Previous meeting minutes approval
  • Chair’s report
  • Treasurer’s report
  • Executive director’s report
  • Committee reports
  • Previous business
  • New business
  • Any other business
  • Action points
  • Adjournment
  • Details of the next meeting.

You can then fill in the relevant sections with notes as the meeting progresses, writing them up afterwards. 

Download non-profit meeting minutes template

Get the Meeting Minutes Template Kit

Meeting minutes templates to suit every organisations' needs, download the kit now!

iBabs Meeting template package iBabs Meeting template package

Record attendance

It is important to know who was at a meeting when decisions were made. When dealing with sensitive subjects, such as using donors’ money, there can often be questions over the propriety of decisions made by the board. As directors have a legal responsibility for their actions, a record of who attended each meeting is essential. 

Note on the minutes who was at the meeting, who sent apologies and any guests who attended that session. 

Summarise key discussions

For each item of business on the agenda, briefly describe the discussion points, detailing the viewpoints on either side of the debate. Aim to capture the essence of the conversation in an impartial manner so that there is a coherent picture as to how a decision was made. 

This is an essential part of the process of taking minutes as it adds context to the decisions that a non-profit makes regarding its direction of travel. 

Document decisions and votes

The minutes should contain a comprehensive record of the decisions that the participants make during the meeting. This means listing who proposed the motion and who seconded it. List the outcome of the vote, including who voted either way, and state clearly the decision made. 

List action items

After your decisions are made, you need people to put them into action if you are going to effect change. During the meeting, action points are raised and assigned to attendees. The minutes should show what those actions are and who is responsible for them, as well as the timeline in which they should complete the action. 

How to follow up after the meeting

Life in a non-profit can be busy and that means that people can let the outcomes of meetings slip their minds as they return to their daily duties. To counteract, take these steps:

  1. Distribute the minutes as soon as possible after the meeting. This also helps you with accuracy, as the details of the session are still fresh in your mind. The sooner you release the minutes, the more likely assignees are to start working on their actions and the sooner you can have those minutes approved. 
  2. Take any feedback or suggested edits from attendees and adjust them in the document to ensure accuracy.
  3. Send out the final, edited version of the minutes for approval by the attendees ahead of the next meeting. This saves time in the following meeting.

What not to include in board meeting minutes

Here are some elements to avoid when compiling meeting minutes:

Verbatim conversationsThe minutes become unfocused. They should concentrate on the essence of the debate and the decisions and actions that derive from it, not on the exact words used. This makes it easier to read and approve for attendees.
Personal opinionsThe person creating the minutes should not add their own feelings to the record. Remaining neutral and reporting on the facts is the professional approach to minuting. 
Confidential or sensitive informationSome details can compromise the privacy or legal positions of the non-profit. Only add sensitive information to the minutes if it is crucial for the record and you can guarantee the document will be handled securely.
Irrelevant detailsSide conversations and unrelated discussions can happen in the context of a meeting, but they are not relevant to the outcome and should not form part of the official record. This includes speculative or hypothetical conversations that do not lead to a decision. Concentrate solely on the agenda items
Identifiable information in sensitive contextsNon-profits often work with vulnerable individuals and, as such, identifying them in the context of the meeting minutes could expose them to negative consequences. Take this into account when taking minutes. 
Draft versions of documentsYou should include the final, approved versions of documents relevant to the conversation in the meeting. Do not attach draft versions to the minutes as the content may differ from that discussed.
Unsubstantiated accusations or grievancesThe record should be professional and objective as well as focused on the agenda items from the meeting. Even if the discussion becomes heated, the minutes are not the place to document accusations with no basis or comments made due to personal grievances. Keep the focus on the nature of the legitimate viewpoints expressed about the topic.

Tips for taking non-profit meeting minutes

  • Prioritise action items and deadlines to ensure that the decisions made make a material difference to the work of the organisation.
  • Use bullet points for clarity and brevity. This makes the minutes easier to read and digest. 
  • Reference documents or presentations discussed. Attach them to the minutes document within your board portal
  • Use non-technical language for accessibility. The minutes should be a transparent record of the events of the meeting so make sure not to make them difficult to read. 
  • Highlight follow-up meetings or future agenda items to guide attendees towards their upcoming duties.
  • Specify any unresolved issues for the next meeting and use that to inform the creation of the agenda. 
  • Acknowledge contributions or guest speakers for their attendance and contributions.
  • Ensure compliance with legal and regulatory requirements, including proper documentation and any record-keeping obligations. 
  • Store them in a manner that allows you to easily retrieve and search them in the event that you need to find details of a previous meeting.


How detailed should the minutes be?

Effective meeting minutes should be concise yet detailed enough to capture the essence of discussions, decisions and assigned tasks. Avoid transcribing verbatim; focus on outcomes and actionable items.

Who is responsible for taking minutes at a non-profit board meeting?

Typically, the board secretaries are responsible for taking minutes. However, another board member or a designated staff member can be assigned this task if necessary.

How should non-profit meeting minutes be stored and distributed?

Store minutes securely, in compliance with the organisation's document retention policy. They should be distributed to all board members and other stakeholders as determined by the organisation's byelaws or standard practice.

Are non-profit board meeting minutes public?

Non-profit board meeting minutes are not generally public but may be made available to members or stakeholders if necessary. Regulators may ask to see minutes in the event of a legal dispute. 


These tips and non-profit meeting minutes template will help you create minutes that are easy to read and understand, as well as giving an accurate record of the events of the meeting. In order to show that the non-profit is carrying out its duties in accordance with its mission and making the best use of its resources to help its beneficiaries, you should note how decisions are made and what must happen next to turn decisions into actions. 

Using a board meeting portal helps you create and distribute minutes in the cloud, welcoming feedback and being able to adjust and distribute again with ease. Request a demo of iBabs for your organisation today. 

References and further reading

iBabs Meeting Assessment
iBabs is a leader in paperless meetings and enables you to reduce these piles of documents to the thickness of your tablet. Thousands of organizations have been using this system for more than 15 years.

Popular posts

Posts by topic

iBabs Meeting Insights

Join over 24,000 professionals on the Meeting Insights email list to get updated to the latest on meeting management. All our tips and tricks delivered to your inbox.

Get updated to the latest on meeting managementJoin the list!