Annual Meeting Planning Tips
If youve just been handed the responsibility for organizing your credit unions annual meeting, you may be thinking, where do I start? Youre probably already searching madly for reference materials and making to-do lists. To put you on the path to a successful event, your colleagues at credit unions and leagues nationwide contributed these annual meeting planning ideas.It pays to plan ahead
- Read through your credit union bylaws for annual meeting requirements. The bylaws provide a roadmap for conducting an annual meeting, nominating directors and committees, and conducting the election.
- Locate last years annual meeting files.
- Determine what type of event it will be. Depending on your traditions and budget, it may be a bare-bones business meeting or a combination business meeting and social event complete with a buffet, bingo, dancing, and door prizes.
- Dont go it alone. Many credit unions appoint teams to help with planning, publicity, nominations, arrangements, and entertainment. Give each team a written list of responsibilities and deadlines.
- Review the credit unions annual meeting budget. Each team should be aware of how much money they can spend.
- Set your annual meeting date, time, place, program, and content.
- Prepare an action plan with an itemized list of meeting preparations. Determine deadlines by working backward.
- Schedule regular check-in meetings to follow up on the progress of all arrangements.
- Document and update your action plan at every step, to make the process easier next year.
- Need promotional materials or supplies? CUNA offers coordinated annual meeting products. New designs are created every year for stationery, statement stuffers, posters, banners, clothing, and other promotional items. For information, call 800-356-8010, press 3 or see the Web site at www.cuna.org.
- Many state leagues offer a wealth of reference materials and assistance for planning annual meetings.
- As soon as your annual meeting date has been set, locate a facility for the meeting.
- Send a request for proposal (RFP) outlining the requirements of your meeting. Your RFP should list the meeting date, food and beverage requirements, a tentative agenda, the amount and type of meeting space needed, and equipment and audiovisual requirements.
- Do a site inspection and meet with the propertys convention services planner.
- Ask what menu items can be done well for your meal budget.
- Ask about hidden charges such as gratuities, service charges, setup fees, carving person, labor, bartender, tax, etc. These items can add more than 25% to the total bill.
- Specify that your credit unions name be listed on the facilitys marquee and function board.
- Make sure you have a written contract that outlines the specifications, date, costs, method of payment, and cancellation policy.
- Ask when the sites program coordinator for the event will arrive to check on last-minute details.
- Be certain the hotel or meeting room will be open early enough for you to set up and check everything before the meeting. Check lighting, equipment, heat, sound, tables, chairs, head tables, and podium.
- Know where light switches are and how to operate them if you plan to show a video or PowerPoint presentation.
- If the meeting is in borrowed space, arrange to leave the room in good condition.
- Prepare and mail official notices to members. Check your bylaws for when notices need to go out (generally 30 days before the meeting).
- Use a coordinated annual meeting theme that can be woven throughout your promotions, articles, meeting decor, and speaker presentations.
- Write articles and prepare ads for credit union and sponsor newsletters.
- When writing your promotions, focus on why members should attend and what they will take away from the meeting.
- Add annual meeting information to your Web site.
- Send announcements with statements.
- Hang posters, signs, or banners in your lobby.
- Use drive-up envelopes with annual meeting information.
- Send reminder postcards two weeks before the meeting.
- Send notices to newspapers for the special event section.
- Most credit unions hand out annual reports to all attendees. At a minimum, the financial statements should be available for inspection.
- Look for ways to make the annual report interesting and informative to members. The report should:
- Summarize the past years financial performance.
- Communicate activities, accomplishments and growth.
- State the credit unions philosophy and uniqueness.
- Educate members about the credit unions services.
- CUNA offers professionally designed annual report covers. Call 800-356-8010, press 3 or see the Web site at www.cuna.org.
- Arrange for greeters to welcome members as they arrive, hand out programs and annual reports, and direct members to seating.
- Use your annual meeting as a marketing opportunity for showcasing your products and services. Set up displays and have staff available to answer questions and hand out promotional giveaways and member education materials.
- Some credit unions ask all employees to attend the annual meeting to lend a hand, learn, mix and mingle. Notify them well in advance of the meeting date.
- Have a photographer record highlights for your newsletter, bulletin boards, and web site. Be sure to identify the members pictured and add a line or two of explanation.
- Some credit unions hire a professional stenographer to take meeting notes.
- Prepare board chair and other committee representatives for presenting their reports.
- Determine how door prizes will be awarded and who will present them.
- Obtain speakers, videos and other aids needed to produce an interesting, educational, and entertaining program.
- Invite your senators and representatives at the state and federal level. It's a great way for legislators to learn about credit unions, and they'll appreciate the opportunity to speak with their constituents.
- Highlight positive achievements or areas in which your credit union grew in the past year: assets, loans, membership, online banking.
- Be open and honest about any difficult issues, but follow closely any legal advice that may be required.
- Look for recommendations when hiring entertainment or engaging a speaker. If possible, observe a performance or listen to a tape.
- Be sure to start the meeting on time and stick to your timetable.
- Allow adequate time for food functions. A rule of thumb is to allow 45 minutes to an hour for lunch, an hour and 15 minutes for dinner. Add more time for speakers.
- Some credit unions serve food at the beginning of the meeting and draw for door prizes at the end to maintain attendance.
- Present awards and provide recognition to charter members, board members, and employees.
- Recognize any new select employee groups you have added during the past year.
- Arrange for overhead projection, video, or PowerPoint presentations.
- Determine how the programs and annual reports will be distributed (handed out at the door, placed on each chair) and assign someone to that task.
- Heres one format for an annual meeting agenda:
- Opening welcome
- Agenda review
- Determination of a quorum
- Reading of the minutes
- Presidents report
- Treasurers report
- Credit Committee report
- Supervisory Committee report
- Old business
- New business
- Elections (many credit unions handle the election outside of the annual meeting)
- Guest speaker or entertainment
- Door prizes
- Ad specialties
- Annual report contents and covers
- Certificates of appreciation
- Clothing items
- Door prizes, giveaways
- Drive-up envelopes
- Extension cords
- First-aid kit
- Memento for the guest speaker
- Minutes and handouts
- Name badges
- Notepads, pens, and pencils
- Place cards for head table
- Recognition awards for volunteers and staff
- Registration book
- Scissors, tape, rubber bands, paper clips, markers
- Signs and banners
- Slips of paper and box for drawings
- Statement stuffers
For information about CUNA's line of annual meeting materials, call 800-356-8010, press 3 or see the Web site at www.cuna.org
Two weeks before the event
- Double-check all arrangements facility, speakers, food, supplies, presentations, entertainment, decorations.
- Meet with staff and management to cover last-minute details and assignments.
- Box up and label meeting supplies and handouts that need to be delivered to the meeting.
Soon after the meeting
- Return rented or borrowed equipment.
- Write thank yous to speakers and annual meeting committee members.
- Prepare follow-up articles for your local newspaper, newsletters, and web site.
- Get feedback from staff and attendees. Those evaluations will be immeasurably helpful for your next event.
- Update your annual meeting plan with notes to help next years planners.
Special thanks to
Virginia Cosgriff, Pennsylvania Credit Union League
Amy Crowe, CUNA Credit Union
Karen Deas, South Carolina Credit Union League
Delaware Credit Union League
Cassandra Grayson, Florida Credit Union League
Marian Kenworthy, Idaho Credit Union League
Audrey Kroll, North Dakota Credit Union League
Randy Maas, South Dakota Credit Union League
Marilyn Pearson, Utah Credit Union League
Carolyn Ricks, Louisiana Credit Union League
Alice Smith, Delaware Credit Union League