Many associations have a requirement that “written notice” is required of meetings. Many have a time frame in which written notice is needed. But, many associations have not defined what they mean by “written notice.” And, these days, many associations wonder if email is appropriate. In cases such as these, consulting Robert’s Rules of Order Newly Revised (RONR) is your best bet.
RONR, 11th edition, p. 89 says, “When notice is required to be sent, unless a different standard is specified, that requirement is met if written notice is sent to each member either:
- a) by postal mail to the member’s last known address; or
- b) by a form of electronic communication, such as e-mail or fax, by which the member has agreed to receive notice.”
Therefore, the use of email should be fine. We find, however, that when folks start playing the parliamentary rules game, the issue is not always about the rule, but the substance of the business to be discussed. Be sure to keep in mind the purpose of providing notice. It is not only about making sure that people know the date, time and place of the meeting, but also the purpose of the meeting and what will be discussed there. They can then decide if they need/want to attend.
It’s not a good idea to send notice of a meeting and then have “surprise issues” for consideration. When providing notice by email, the notice can contain a link to the website which includes the proposed agenda for the meeting and any relevant background information that would make those attending a more informed and engaged deliberative body. This works for board meetings as well as large annual business meetings.
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