Jeremy Barlow reports:
"Writing a motion for a board meeting isn’t difficult, but it does take some forethought. Perhaps you’ve been to a board meeting where someone filed a motion and so many amendments followed it that the final version didn’t remotely resemble the original wording. A well-written motion is specific, unique, and concise. By writing a clear motion, you will reduce time spent in discussion and in making amendments. More importantly, you can be sure that your motion will be carried out exactly as you intended...A main motion is an item that you want to introduce to the membership to consider and vote on. You cannot introduce a main motion when any other motion is on the floor. Main motions yield to privileged, subsidiary, and incidental motions...The purpose of a subsidiary motion is to change or affect how a main motion is handled. The membership votes on the subsidiary motion before they vote on the main motion...The purpose of a privileged motion is to bring up items that are urgent about special or important matters that are unrelated to pending business...The purpose of an incidental motion is to question or clarify the procedure relative to other motions. Incidental motions must be considered before the motion that it questions. Robert’s Rules lists incidental motions that cover almost any issue that surfaces...Think through your motion carefully and determine exactly what it is you want to accomplish with it. Include details and support it. Anticipate questions and objections and answer them in your motion. Address any legal concerns in your summary. If there is a fiscal component, include how the action will be funded. Main motions that require funding may require two main motions—one to pass the action and one to fund it. Review your motion to see if it asks for a clear action to be taken. State a timeframe when applicable. Rely on your chair and fellow board members for assistance. Ask one or more of them to review your motion and offer feedback...One of the negatives in writing vague, unclear motions is that your motion will be subjected to being amended many times. Moreover, you risk losing the substance of your original intent. Writing motions that are specific, concise, and unique keep the meeting moving along fluidly. By understanding the type of motion you are making, taking time to think it through, and addressing potential objections, you can write a clear motion that will help members make an informed vote."
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