Tag: board meetings

VIDEO PODCAST: Unlocking the Secrets Behind Effective Meeting Minutes

Join Matt McEwan of Minutes Solutions, and Steve Roderick and David Velasco of JGS Insurance, as they dive into the realm of community association meetings in episode 159 of Community Association Car Chat.

In this episode, they discuss the challenges of minute taking for community associations and the benefits of professional minute takers. Matt walks you through the process of utilizing our minute-taking services and highlights the key qualities that make a great minute taker.

Additionally, he delves into the differences between minute takers and stenographers, providing valuable insights to help you navigate your options effectively.

Ready to enhance the efficiency of your community association meetings? Watch the video to gain valuable insights and learn how to start putting your meeting minutes to work.

Minutes Solutions Inc.

At Minutes Solutions Inc., we don’t just document meetings; we transform them. With a wealth of experience specializing in professional minute-taking for community associations, our team stands ready to elevate your meetings to new heights. As a professional third-party minute-taking company, Minutes Solutions provides prompt, accurate, and objective minutes for associations in every field. Since 2014, the company has provided minute-taking services for over 50,000 meetings for more than 4,000 organizations across North America. Its cohort of over 150 professionally trained minute takers in Canada and the U.S. undergoes rigorous training in industry best practices that help make board meetings more effective and allow staff and board members to focus on their core responsibilities.

What are Robert’s Rules?

Meetings are a vital part of organizational communication. It’s where decisions are made, plans are formed, and ideas are exchanged. However, without structure, meetings can become chaotic and unproductive. This is where Robert’s Rules of Order come in, providing a framework for conducting meetings efficiently and democratically. But what are Robert’s Rules and where did they come from? In this article, we’ll answer that question and look at the pros and cons of using Robert’s Rules of Order for your meetings.

Who is Robert?

The “Robert” in Robert’s Rules of Order is Henry Martyn Robert, a U.S. Army officer. Faced with the task of leading a church meeting in 1863 and not finding suitable guidelines, Robert was inspired to develop a standard set of rules for orderly and fair meetings. His initial rules were published in 1876 as “Robert’s Rules of Order,” and they have been a cornerstone of parliamentary procedure ever since.

The Genesis and Evolution of Robert’s Rules

Robert’s motivation was to bring order to the chaos he witnessed in meetings. He compiled and adapted various parliamentary procedures to create a comprehensive and adaptable set of guidelines. Since its first publication, Robert’s Rules have evolved through several editions, reflecting changes in society and the way organizations operate.

The Staying Power of Robert’s Rules of Order

The longevity of Robert’s Rules can be attributed to their adaptability and fairness. They provide a democratic structure where every member’s voice can be heard, and decisions are made transparently. This universality makes Robert’s Rules as relevant today as they were over a century ago.

Common Users of Robert’s Rules

Robert’s Rules are used by a wide range of organizations, including non-profits, corporations, governmental bodies, and community groups. They’re especially prevalent in places where democratic decision-making is paramount and where order and efficiency are necessary for handling complex issues and diverse opinions.

Pros and Cons of Robert’s Rules


  • Structure and Order: They bring a clear structure to meetings, making them more efficient and productive.
  • Equal Participation: All members have an equal opportunity to contribute, fostering a democratic environment.
  • Clarity in Decision-Making: Votes and decisions are made transparently and systematically.


  • Complexity: For newcomers, Robert’s Rules can seem daunting due to their detailed nature.
  • Potential for Misuse: In some cases, individuals knowledgeable in the rules can use them to manipulate meeting outcomes or stifle dissent.
  • Rigidity: In smaller, less formal groups, the strict adherence to rules can hinder open, creative discussions.

Robert’s Rules and Meeting Minutes

While Robert’s Rules of Order can provide a structured approach to conducting meetings, it’s important to note that understanding these rules is not essential for writing effective meeting minutes. Meeting minutes serve as a formal record of what transpires during a meeting, and their primary goal is to document key discussions, motions, votes, and decisions accurately and objectively.

For inexperienced minute-takers, familiarity with Robert’s Rules may be beneficial, as it could offer guidance on the procedural aspects of meetings. However, the focus for minute-takers should be on capturing the essential elements of the meeting clearly and concisely, regardless of their knowledge of Robert’s Rules.


The journey of Robert’s Rules of Order from their genesis to their current status is a testament to the vision of Henry Martyn Robert. Organizations across the spectrum, from volunteer-run community groups to governmental bodies and corporate boards, have adopted Robert’s Rules to streamline their proceedings. For these organizations, Robert’s Rules play a crucial role in ensuring meetings are democratic, orderly, and effective. As meetings continue to be a pivotal part of organizational operations, the importance of both Robert’s Rules and accurate minute-taking remains paramount.

What are Robert’s Rules? – Additional Resources

The best resource for readers looking to delve deeper into Robert’s Rules of Order is the official book itself, currently in its 12th edition titled Robert’s Rules of Order Newly Revised (RONR). This book provides the most comprehensive and updated set of guidelines for parliamentary procedure as envisioned by Henry Martyn Robert.

For those who are new to the subject and seeking a more approachable introduction, Robert’s Rules of Order Newly Revised In Brief is a shorter, more digestible companion to the full manual. It is designed to help users conduct meetings, participate in them effectively, and move business forward in an orderly manner.

Additionally, some websites and organizations help answer the question, “What are Robert’s Rules?”. The National Association of Parliamentarians, for example, offers resources, training, and workshops on Robert’s Rules. These can be especially helpful for individuals who prefer interactive learning or need specific questions answered.

Good Governance: The Vital Role of Community Association Boards


Effective governance is essential for the success and well-being of condominiums and homeowners’ associations. The board of directors, as the governing body of these communities, plays a crucial role in promoting good governance. In this article, we will explore the key responsibilities of the board of directors and how their actions contribute to fostering transparency, accountability, and a thriving community environment.

Upholding the Governing Documents

The board of directors is responsible for upholding and enforcing the governing documents of the community association, such as the bylaws, declarations, and covenants. By ensuring compliance with these documents, the board establishes consistency, fairness, and predictability within the community.

Decision-Making and Policy Development

A fundamental role of the board is making decisions and developing policies that guide the community. The board promotes good governance by engaging in thoughtful deliberation, considering the interests of all residents, and adhering to legal requirements. Clear documentation of discussions and decisions through accurate minutes is essential for transparency and accountability.

Financial Stewardship

Managing the community’s financial affairs is a critical responsibility of the board. This includes creating and managing budgets, collecting assessments, and overseeing financial reporting. The board promotes trust and good governance by exercising fiscal responsibility, conducting regular audits or reviews, and ensuring transparency in financial matters.

Enforcing Rules and Regulations

The board of directors is tasked with enforcing the rules and regulations of the community. This includes addressing violations, resolving disputes, and maintaining a harmonious living environment. Consistent enforcement, done fairly and transparently, fosters a sense of equity among residents and contributes to good governance.

Communication and Transparency

Open and effective communication is vital for good governance. The board should regularly communicate with residents, providing updates, sharing important information, and seeking input. Transparent communication channels, such as newsletters, community websites, and town hall meetings, help build trust and engage residents in community matters. The minutes of board meetings play an integral role in serving as a record of communication and decisions made, ensuring transparency and accountability.

Community Engagement

Encouraging homeowner engagement and participation is key to a vibrant and cohesive community. The board should actively seek input, involve residents in decision-making processes, and create opportunities for involvement through committees or volunteer activities. Engaged homeowners contribute to the community’s success and enhance good governance.

Engaging Professional Expertise

At times, the board may need to seek professional expertise to address complex legal, financial, or maintenance issues. Engaging qualified professionals can provide valuable guidance and ensure compliance with applicable laws and regulations. Documenting these engagements in the minutes reinforces the board’s commitment to informed decision-making and responsible governance.


The board of directors plays a pivotal role in promoting good governance within community associations. By upholding governing documents, making informed decisions, managing finances responsibly, enforcing rules fairly, fostering open communication, encouraging homeowner engagement, and seeking professional expertise when needed, the board establishes a foundation of transparency, accountability, and community well-being. Accurate and comprehensive minutes provide a historical record of board actions, enhancing transparency and ensuring that the community’s interests are upheld. Through these efforts, the board contributes to a thriving community where residents can enjoy a harmonious and fulfilling living experience.

Bolstering Your Board: Tips for Supporting Nonprofit Boards

In the realm of nonprofit leadership, addressing the intricacies of board dynamics is essential. Nonprofit boards encounter a spectrum of challenges, from recruitment hurdles to strategic misalignments between boards and staff, and other pitfalls that can impede organizational growth. 

Navigating these challenges requires a strategic approach to achieve effective board governance.

In this power-packed webinar, Matt McEwan of Minutes Solutions, Jill Krumholz of RealHR Solutions, and Barbara O’Reilly of Windmill Hill unravel the complexities of nonprofit board management. They share valuable insights on building strong relationships, strategic planning, fostering collaboration and a culture of open communication, as well as leveraging technology for effective board support.

This webinar is not just a discussion; it’s a roadmap for nonprofits to overcome hurdles, enhance board effectiveness, and, ultimately, drive impactful change. Whether you’re a seasoned nonprofit professional or just starting, the insights shared by the panelists offer actionable strategies to elevate your organization. 

To access the full webinar, simply follow the link provided.

Minutes Solutions Inc.

Minutes Solutions is your trusted ally, dedicated to enhancing the efficiency and accountability of nonprofit organizations. As a professional third-party minute taking company, Minutes Solutions provides prompt, accurate, and objective minutes for nonprofit boards across various fields. Since 2014, the company has provided minute taking services for over 45,000 meetings for more than 3,000 organizations across North America. Its cohort of over 125 professionally trained minute takers in Canada and the U.S. undergoes rigorous training in industry best practices. This commitment ensures that nonprofit boards can streamline their administrative processes, allowing them to focus on their core mission.

Can Radical Transparency Work for Associations?

A can’t-miss session at the 2023 CSAE Annual Conference in Montreal

Matt McEwan
VP, Sales & Marketing – Minutes Solutions Inc.

November 10, 2023, at 11:15 a.m. – 12:15 p.m. 

Rue McGill

As the Canadian Society of Association Executives (CSAE) annual conference in Montreal draws closer, we’re excited to spotlight a compelling session on our agenda, put on by our own Matt McEwan: “Can Radical Transparency Work for Associations?”

With the continuous evolution of digital technology and the growing demand for accountability in the corporate world, the concept of radical transparency has become a hot topic of discussion. But can such an audacious idea find a home in the world of associations?

Imagine a world where employees and members of your association are privy to the core of its operations – from staff salaries to daily communications. At first glance, it may sound chaotic, perhaps even a bit alarming. But dive deeper, and a vast sea of possibilities emerges from such openness.

Radical Transparency: A Boon or a Bane?

This question forms the essence of this session. It’s not just about exposing the underlying mechanics of your association. It’s about questioning the traditional norms, exploring the uncharted territories of management philosophy, and gauging the effects of such transparency on collaboration, trust, employee satisfaction, and overall operational efficiency.

What if lifting the curtains on your association’s strategic objectives and financial metrics leads to greater member engagement? What if it results in unbiased, clear-cut communication that enhances collaboration and accountability? On the flip side, are there dangers of discontentment, insecurity, or even exploitation?

Real-World Case Studies and Critical Analysis

The session will not just remain confined to theoretical musings. Be prepared to journey through the history of this concept as we uncover real-world examples of organizations that embraced radical transparency in its different forms. Learn from their success stories, understand the challenges they faced, and draw valuable lessons that can be applied to the unique landscape of associations.

While the benefits of radical transparency, like improved trust and reduced biases, might be evident, the potential risks and pitfalls, especially in the context of associations, need to be addressed critically.

Why Attend This Session?

For association leaders looking to innovate, enhance member trust, and create a more inclusive environment, understanding the dynamics of radical transparency is crucial. This session promises to do the following:

  • Provide a balanced perspective, weighing the pros and cons.
  • Equip attendees with actionable insights and strategies.
  • Foster interactive discussions, allowing leaders to share their apprehensions and aspirations.

Whether you’re contemplating introducing radical transparency in your association, or you’re simply intrigued by the concept, this session will offer a spectrum of insights and information. It will empower you to make informed decisions about how transparent your association should be and how to navigate the complexities that come with such a decision.

Add It to Your Calendar!

Montreal’s vibrant energy coupled with CSAE’s promise of enriching content makes this conference an unmissable event. “Can Radical Transparency Work for Associations?” is bound to be a highlight, so make sure you mark it on your itinerary.

We’re ready to challenge, inspire, and most importantly, engage with all association enthusiasts. 
Are you?

WEBINAR: Improve Governance with New Technology and Processes

Traditional governance practices often come with challenges, especially when adapting to remote and hybrid environments. Outdated methods, such as printing and mailing bulky board materials and managing all minute-taking in-house, can cause security concerns and severely limit the efficiency of staff and board members.

The solution? Innovative governance processes and technologies!

In this engaging webinar, Matt McEwan of Minutes Solutions, Kevin James Karas of Yoga Alliance, Alicia Meiklejohn of AOAC INTERNATIONAL, and Jordan Castel of OnBoard explore the dynamics of modernizing governance.

By embracing modern governance solutions, you can streamline your processes, improve communication, and enhance the overall efficiency of your association’s board. Learn from industry experts and gain valuable insights to transform the way you manage governance and compliance.

To watch the full webinar, simply click the link below and take the first step towards a more empowered board and a brighter future for your association’s governance.

Minutes Solutions Inc.

Minutes Solutions takes the minutes for ASAE and CSAE boards and committees. As a professional third-party minute taking company, Minutes Solutions provides prompt, accurate, and objective minutes for associations in every field. Since 2014, the company has provided minute taking services for over 45,000 meetings for more than 3,000 organizations across North America. Its cohort of over 125 professionally trained minute takers in Canada and the U.S. undergoes rigorous training in industry best practices that help make association meetings more effective and allow staff to focus on their core mission.

The Human Touch in Minute Taking

In today’s digital era, technology has revolutionized how businesses operate, streamlining processes and increasing efficiency. Professional services across various industries have embraced automation, artificial intelligence, and cutting-edge tools to optimize their operations. Among these services, minute taking, which involves documenting critical meetings and discussions, has also witnessed technological advancements. While technology has made minute taking faster and more accurate, the question arises: does the human touch still matter in this age of automation?

In this blog post, we will explore the essential role of the human touch in minute taking and why organizations should value the unique contributions of human minute takers. There is no doubt that minute taking is part science and part art, but what portion of this does the human touch play? We will delve into the irreplaceable aspects that human involvement brings to this indispensable practice, paving the way for deeper understanding and personalized approaches.

1. Understanding Context and Nuances

Minute taking is not merely about recording words spoken during meetings. A human minute taker brings a unique ability to comprehend the context, identify essential points, and capture the subtle nuances that technology might overlook. By understanding the flow of discussions, emotions, and non-verbal cues, human minute takers can provide more comprehensive and accurate meeting minutes that capture the true essence of the gathering.

2. Customization for Client Needs

Every client and organization is different, with varying preferences for formatting, content, and level of detail in their meeting minutes. Human minute takers excel in tailoring their approach to meet these unique client needs. They can adapt their writing style, prioritize specific points of interest, and ensure the final minutes align precisely with the client’s requirements, fostering a deeper sense of collaboration and satisfaction.

3. Real-Time Adaptability

During fast-paced meetings or complex discussions, the ability to adapt in real-time is crucial. Human minute takers can promptly adjust their note-taking methods based on the meeting’s pace and intensity, ensuring no crucial information is missed. This adaptability is invaluable in capturing accurate and relevant data that could be easily overlooked by automated systems.

4. Quality Assurance and Expertise

While technology can assist in data processing and organization, it still requires human oversight to ensure accuracy and quality in the final deliverables. Human minute takers possess expertise in proofreading, fact-checking, and fine-tuning meeting minutes to meet the highest standards of professionalism.


The human touch remains an indispensable aspect of minute taking, even in the age of technology. While automation and AI offer incredible speed and efficiency, they cannot replicate the deep understanding, customization, adaptability, and empathy that human minute takers bring to the table. The synergy of technology and the human touch creates a powerful partnership that elevates the quality of minute taking and enhances the overall experience and quality of work. In professional services, where client satisfaction and trust are paramount, embracing both technology and human expertise in minute taking ensures a winning combination.

Why Minute Taking is So Vital for Professional Associations

In the world of professional associations, effective governance, transparency, and accountability are the cornerstones of success. As decision-makers, these organizations are entrusted with shaping policies, charting ambitious goals, and ensuring the collective voice of their members is heard. Amidst this dynamic landscape, one essential practice stands out as a powerful catalyst for progress – minute taking. In this digital age, where information flows at unprecedented speeds, minute taking may appear as a traditional practice. However, as we shall discover, it is far from obsolete; rather, it serves as a steadfast guardian of institutional memory and a key driver of effective leadership.

Why minute taking is imperative to any professional association:

1. Legal Compliance and Risk Mitigation:

   – Accurate and comprehensive meeting minutes serve as legally binding documentation of decisions made within the association.

   – By maintaining detailed records, professional associations demonstrate compliance with laws and regulations, reducing the risk of legal disputes or challenges.

2. Transparent Decision-Making and Accountability:

   – Well-documented minutes provide a transparent account of discussions and decisions made during meetings, ensuring accountability among association members and leaders.

   – Members can refer back to previous minutes to understand the rationale behind decisions and hold leaders responsible for their actions.

3. Continuity and Succession Planning:

   – As leadership roles rotate within the association, meeting minutes become vital resources for new leaders to understand past discussions, decisions, and ongoing initiatives.

   – Minutes facilitate smooth transitions and effective succession planning, ensuring the association’s objectives remain on track.

4. Communication with Members:

   – Meeting minutes serve as concise and easily accessible updates on important matters and decisions for members who were unable to attend meetings.

   – This enhances member engagement by keeping them informed and involved in association activities.

5. Evidence for Grant Applications and Fundraising:

   – Clear and well-documented minutes demonstrate responsible management, strengthening the association’s credibility when applying for grants or seeking fundraising opportunities.

   – Potential donors and funding agencies appreciate organizations that maintain transparent records, enhancing the association’s chances of securing financial support.


Minute taking plays a vital role in the success and sustainability of professional associations. By maintaining detailed and accurate records, these organizations ensure legal compliance, transparent decision-making, and accountability among members and leaders. Meeting minutes facilitate effective communication with members, support succession planning, and strengthen the association’s position when seeking grants or fundraising opportunities. Moreover, they serve as valuable evidence in legal situations and prevent misunderstandings or conflicts, fostering a cooperative and engaged association community. As a fundamental practice, minute-taking cements the foundation for strong governance and efficient operations within professional associations.

Minutes Solutions Inc.

Minutes Solutions takes the minutes for ASAE and CSAE boards and committees. As a professional third-party minute taking company, Minutes Solutions provides prompt, accurate, and objective minutes for associations in every field. Since 2014, the company has provided minute taking services for over 40,000 meetings for more than 3,000 organizations across North America. Its cohort of over 100 professionally trained minute takers in the U.S. and Canada undergoes rigorous training in industry best practices that help make association meetings more effective and allow staff to focus on the meeting and what they do best.


10 Laws & Regulations Maryland HOA Managers Should Know

As a homeowners’ association (HOA) manager in Maryland, it is essential to have a comprehensive understanding of the laws and regulations that govern HOA operations. Adhering to these laws not only ensures the smooth functioning of the HOA but also helps maintain positive relationships with residents and promotes a harmonious community environment. This article will discuss 10 laws and regulations that every Maryland HOA manager should be familiar with.

HOA Laws and Regulations in Maryland

  1. Maryland Homeowners Association Act (HOA Act): The HOA Act serves as the cornerstone of Maryland’s HOA governance. It outlines the rights and responsibilities of both the association and its members, covering areas such as bylaws, assessments, architectural guidelines, board meetings, and enforcement of rules. Understanding this Act is fundamental for effective HOA management.
  1. Open Meetings Act: Maryland’s Open Meetings Act mandates that HOAs hold open meetings where members have the right to attend and observe. This law ensures transparency in HOA decision-making processes and allows homeowners to stay informed and engaged with the association’s activities and allows them to inspect the minutes of the board meetings.
  1. Maryland Condominium Act (Condo Act): For HOAs that include condominium units, familiarity with the Maryland Condominium Act is essential. This act covers various aspects of condominium governance, including unit owner rights, common elements, maintenance responsibilities, and financial management.
  1. Fair Housing Act: The Fair Housing Act prohibits discrimination based on protected classes such as race, color, religion, sex, national origin, disability, and familial status. HOA managers must adhere to fair housing guidelines and ensure that their community’s policies and practices do not discriminate against any individual or group.
  1. Maryland Reserve Study Requirements: Maryland law requires HOAs and housing cooperatives to conduct reserve studies at least once every 5 years. These studies assess the long-term maintenance and replacement needs of common elements within the community. HOA managers must ensure that reserve studies are carried out as required and that sufficient reserve funds are established to meet future obligations.
  1. Maryland Stormwater Management Act: HOAs in Maryland are subject to stormwater management regulations to control runoff and minimize pollution. Managers should be familiar with these requirements to implement appropriate stormwater management measures within the community.
  1. Maryland Consumer Protection Act: The Maryland Consumer Protection Act safeguards homeowners from unfair and deceptive trade practices. HOA managers must understand their obligations under this law to ensure that all interactions with homeowners and service providers are conducted ethically and transparently.
  1. Debt Collection Laws: HOA managers need to be well-versed in Maryland’s debt collection laws when pursuing delinquent assessments or fees. Understanding the proper procedures, notification requirements, and limitations will help managers navigate the collections process effectively and legally.
  1. Architectural Guidelines and Covenants: HOA communities often have architectural guidelines and covenants in place to maintain aesthetic standards and protect property values. HOA managers should be well-acquainted with these guidelines and ensure their consistent enforcement while handling architectural requests and modifications.
  1. Maryland Real Property Code: The Maryland Real Property Code governs various aspects of property management, including leases, evictions, liens, and easements. HOA managers should familiarize themselves with the relevant provisions to appropriately address property-related issues and comply with the law.


Compliance with the laws and regulations governing HOAs in Maryland is paramount for effective community management. By being well-versed in the laws and regulations outlined in this article, HOA managers can ensure legal compliance, foster positive homeowner relationships, and create thriving and harmonious communities where residents can enjoy the benefits of shared living.

Minutes Solutions

Minutes Solutions is a professional, third-party minute-taking company that specializes in prompt, accurate, and objective minutes for community associations. Since 2014, the company has provided minute taking services for over 40,000 meetings for more than 3,000 communities and organizations across North America, including the Community Associations Institute. Its cohort of over 100 professionally trained minute takers in the U.S. and Canada undergoes rigorous training in industry best practices that help protect community associations and instil confidence in residents, allowing community managers to focus on operational responsibilities.

WEBINAR: Hybrid Board Meetings Are Here to Stay

As associations look for ways to improve meeting efficiency and effectiveness post-pandemic, hybrid board meetings that combine in-person and virtual attendance are becoming a permanent fixture. However, while hybrid meetings offer advantages, they also come with potential challenges.

In this on-demand webinar, Matt McEwan of Minutes Solutions, Dave Bergeson of Association Management Center, Jordan Castel of Onboard, and Eileen Murray of the American Epilepsy Society share best practices for creating engaging and purposeful hybrid meetings, structuring agendas effectively, and leveraging technology for seamless execution.

Discover expert advice on engaging virtual attendees and creating an inclusive environment that fosters productivity and collaboration. Whether you’re a board member, association leader, or simply interested in the evolving landscape of board meetings, this webinar provides invaluable insights and practical tips to help you shape the future of your association’s board meetings.

To access the full webinar, simply follow the link provided.

Minutes Solutions Inc.

Minutes Solutions takes the minutes for ASAE and CSAE boards and committees. As a professional third-party minute taking company, Minutes Solutions provides prompt, accurate, and objective minutes for associations in every field. Since 2014, the company has provided minute taking services for over 40,000 meetings for more than 3,000 organizations across North America. Its cohort of over 100 professionally trained minute takers in the U.S. and Canada undergoes rigorous training in industry best practices that help make association meetings more effective and allow staff to focus on the meeting and what they do best.