How to Call an Emergency Board Meeting

  • By: Adam Wire
  • March 15, 2023
Emergency Board Meeting
Reading Time: 3 minutes

An emergency board meeting may be called to discuss immediate issues affecting the organization.

It happens: A pressing issue arises out of the blue and needs immediate attention, but the next scheduled board meeting is still weeks away. 

When this happens, board members must hold an emergency board meeting to come up with a solution to ensure business continuity.  

But how exactly do you call an emergency board meeting? This post discusses the steps for calling an emergency meeting and explains how board management software streamlines this process

What is an Emergency Board Meeting?

An emergency board meeting is held by the board of directors to discuss or resolve an urgent issue that can’t wait the stipulated 24-hour notice period for holding a special meeting. 

These meetings can be called by the board president or any two directors other than the president, upon the organization’s executive committee determining the need for an emergency meeting. At meeting of this type, the board members can only act on matters deemed an emergency. 

Broadly, the meeting should follow procedures outlined in Robert’s Rules of Order. That said, boards usually create their own rules for governing emergency meetings. These rules are typically outlined in board bylaws. In general, there are a few criteria that signal when an emergency meeting might be necessary, including: 

  • An unexpected issue occurs that couldn’t have been reasonably foreseen
  • An issue requires immediate action
  • It’s impractical to provide advanced notice
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How to Call an Emergency Meeting

Here’s a look at the procedure for calling an emergency board meeting: 

1. Review Board Bylaws 

Each board usually has its own rules governing what passes as an emergency and when an emergency meeting should be called. 

You should never call an emergency meeting if the issue at hand isn’t in accordance with the board bylaws. 

2. Submit a Written Notice 

A meeting notice is a document informing board members about a meeting. Every board member has rights and responsibilities. One of the essential rights of a board member requires being notified when meetings will occur, so they can plan accordingly. 

For emergency board meetings, members must be notified of the meeting via a written notice. A written meeting notice is not only crucial for the organization but also serves as a legal requirement for public bodies. 

However, notice may not be required for an emergency meeting if the board’s bylaws stipulate so. 

3. Specify the Meeting Agenda, Location, and Time 

The notice of the meeting should specify the agenda, as well as the time and location of the meeting. Doing this leaves no room for miscommunication and ensures board members come prepared with suggestions to solve the emergency.

4. Capture Board Meeting Minutes 

Board meeting minutes serve as an official record of board meeting attendees, all issues discussed and decided upon, and other consequential next steps from board voting. After determining the best solution, the board of directors should forward it to the change advisory board to ensure the efficient implementation of the new procedure, process, or policy. 

Capturing board meeting minutes can be challenging, especially if the meeting includes multiple topics and speakers. Accuracy and extreme attention to detail are vital to getting the minutes of an emergency board meeting right. 

5. Leverage Board Meeting Technology 

As the world becomes more digitized, technology optimizes every aspect of your business, including board meetings. Leveraging board management software with a full range of capabilities, such as OnBoard, can make your emergency meeting run smoothly in a time of crisis.

Improve Board Effectiveness During Crisis

It’s not abnormal for organizations to find themselves in a crisis due to an unforeseen event or circumstances. One of the first steps organizations take when in a crisis is to call for an emergency meeting, so the board can determine the best path forward. 

OnBoard’s board management software improves your meeting effectiveness by organizing communication and collaboration. OnBoard software includes tools to customize meeting agenda creation as well as a host of other useful features to track compliance, keep better records, and streamline meeting minutes to save time when the meeting ends and the work begins.

Looking for more information on how board management software can help drive your goals forward? Download our free Board Management Software Buyer’s Guide.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

  • How Do You Write an Emergency Board Meeting Notice? 

    An emergency board meeting notice informs board members of an upcoming emergency meeting. These notices should be detailed, providing board members with all the necessary information. It should specify the date, time, and venue of the meeting, as well as the agenda that will be discussed. 

  • Why Might You Call an Emergency Board Meeting? 

    You can call an emergency board meeting to address an unforeseen occurrence that requires immediate action to ensure business operations aren't affected. The board of directors may only discuss or act on emergency matters during the emergency meeting. 

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About The Author

Adam Wire
Adam Wire
Adam Wire is a Content Marketing Manager at OnBoard who joined the company in 2021. A Ball State University graduate, Adam worked in various content marketing roles at Angi, USA Football, and Adult & Child Health following a 12-year career in newspapers. His favorite part of the job is problem-solving and helping teammates achieve their goals. He lives in Indianapolis with his wife and two dogs. He’s an avid sports fan and foodie who also enjoys lawn and yard work and running.