Setting Up A Legal Meeting When You Can’t Legally Meet

June 30 is the end of the fiscal year for a lot of non-profits. In light of that, non-profit organizations generally have board meeting around this time of year in an effort to report where things stand to their boards of directors and generally get things wrapped up.

But of course, currently no one is supposed to be meeting in large groups. An online virtual meeting is the obvious answer. By now people have attended quite a number of webinars and meetings online and are starting to feel comfortable with the whole process (albeit there are STILL people who don’t mute their microphones!!!)

Except….if your bylaws don’t already acknowledge online meeting and voting as valid methods of doing business, any actions you take can be subject to challenge. Likewise there could be an issue if your state laws don’t explicitly recognize virtual meetings or explicitly forbids them.

Last week I made a post on ArtsHacker to help people consider how to address these issues. In many respects this is uncharted territory for a lot groups so it might ultimately require consulting a lawyer to get the most accurate picture. The post will help start people on the road to thinking about what questions they should be asking and what processes might need to be put in place.



Online Meetings & Open Meeting Laws

About Joe Patti

I have been writing Butts in the Seats (BitS) on topics of arts and cultural administration since 2004 (yikes!). Given the ever evolving concerns facing the sector, I have yet to exhaust the available subject matter. In addition to BitS, I am a founding contributor to the ArtsHacker ( website where I focus on topics related to boards, law, governance, policy and practice.

I am also an evangelist for the effort to Build Public Will For Arts and Culture being helmed by Arts Midwest and the Metropolitan Group. (

My most recent role was as Executive Director of the Grand Opera House in Macon, GA.

Among the things I am most proud are having produced an opera in the Hawaiian language and a dance drama about Hawaii's snow goddess Poli'ahu while working as a Theater Manager in Hawaii. Though there are many more highlights than there is space here to list.


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