There are several types of meetings. Most are called ordinary or regular meetings. Some are special meetings. Sometime the term extraordinary meeting is used. Then there are Annual General Meetings and Special General Meetings.
Ordinary Meeting or Regular Meeting
Most meetings are ordinary or regular meetings. These are meetings which are held usually on a regular basis and conduct business for which no special notice needs to be given (according to the organisation’s rules or constitution). The monthly meeting of a sports club or a parents’ group is are examples of regular meetings.
Special or extraordinary Meetings
A special meeting (sometimes called an extraordinary meeting) can have two meanings. The first meaning is simply a meeting that is outside the regular timetable. This meaning tends to be simply a colloquial term that is used for something out of the ordinary.
It is usually called to discuss something important or unusual. This type of meeting usually requires no special notice but it is good governance to advise everyone who is eligible to attend, that the meeting is being held, and the purpose for it being held outside of the normal timetable – that is the topic of discussion.
The second type of special meeting is one that is defined in your organisation’s rules or constitution and has special requirements. These requirements may be length of notice for the meeting, it may be a special quorum (the number of people required for the meeting to transact business) or there may be other requirements written into your rules or constitution.
A special meeting may also have special voting requirements – for instance it may allow proxy votes.
The Annual General Meeting
This is the meeting which most organisation have once each year and the retirements are usually found in the rules or constitution, and also often in the legislation under which the organisation is constituted.
An Annual General Meeting (usually referred to as an AGM) will often have the reports of the major office bearers, consideration of the annual financial report, election of officers, adopting the budget for the next 12 months (which should include the membership fee if there is one) and also changes to the constitution.
AGM’s have special requirements in terms of the period of time for which notice of the meeting has to be given and often also, the nature on information that must be provided in advance – financial reports for instance.
The word “general” in the AGM means that anybody who is a member of the organisation is entitled to attend and vote in most cases.
The Special General Meeting
The Special General Meeting (SGM) is sometimes called an Extraordinary General Meeting (EGM). This meeting has exactly the same powers as an AGM and must meet all the same requirements such as a minimum period for notice of meeting.
Special General Meetings must have a specific purpose. The most common is to consider changes to the constitution. Another is consideration of the budget for larger organisations.
Rule of Thumb to Maintain Good Governance?
The rule of thumb is to know your constitution or rules. These should clearly describe when a special meeting can and should be held and the rules under which it must be held.
Please Note: The author accepts no responsibility for anything which occurs directly or indirectly as a result of using any of the suggestions or procedures detailed in this blog. All suggestions and procedures are provided in good faith as general guidelines only and should be used in conjunction with relevant legislation, constitutions, rules, laws, by-laws, and with reasonable judgement.