Online board meetings can be an ideal option for nonprofit boards who are unable or not willing to meet in person due geographical constraints, travel costs, or a busy schedule. However they can be challenging to conduct in a way that is productive and ensures that everyone is engaged and included. Utilizing a few basic best practices can make these virtual meetings more efficient and productive.

It is important to clearly communicate meeting materials to board members prior to the meeting to allow them to read and submit questions prior to the conference call. This will make the meeting more focused, move faster and provide better insights. Mentimeter is a powerful presentation tool that enables you to gather important information from your participants via dynamic images. The material will appear in the minutes of the meeting which will create a document that can be referenced several years later.

Encourage attendees to use their cameras to be able to see one another. This will keep everyone entertained. Also, establish guidelines that allow everyone to be equally involved, such as the chair asking for a hand raise to detect when someone is talking or asking people to turn off their microphones when they are not speaking. It is also recommended to limit meetings to 90 minutes, and to avoid scheduling them around meal times so as to keep participants from eating on camera.

Establish specific discussion topics with time allotments for each item, which will give directors a sense of urgency in addressing items that are on the agenda. This will losing majority shareholder support also boost productivity. In addition, focusing on specific topic areas will eliminate distractions that could otherwise happen during in-person meetings like chatting with other directors or checking email.