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Virtual Annual Meetings Call for a Different Protocol

The backdrop. In large properties, attendance is usually not that great for in-person annual meetings. We manage a 432-unit suburban co-op that has embraced holding its annual meetings virtually, which allows people to attend from wherever they may be. Our process for providing notice and announcing candidates is different from the live event though.


What you need to know. In a normal in-person annual meeting, we send out notices 10 to 40 days before the meeting, depending on what the bylaws say. For a virtual meeting, we want to provide a bit more notice, so we send out a “save the date” memo at least 45 days in advance. This memo gives a deadline for anyone interested in running for the board to submit a brief bio, explaining why they want to serve. We send the official notice of the annual meeting once we get all the bios, and this includes a proxy with candidate information. We also state when we need the proxies back, and because we have an onsite management office at this co-op, we have a ballot box there.


Meet-and-greet time. We hold a virtual information meeting before the annual, and it is here that the candidates introduce themselves. We also bring in the co-op’s accountant to present the financials. Then, when we get to the night of the annual meeting, the sole purpose is to achieve a quorum and elect the board. All the business that normally would be conducted at the annual meeting is done at this informational meeting.


The beauty of mute. With the mute button on Zoom, the virtual annual meeting doesn’t get out of hand. I’ve done a couple of in-person annual meetings where it got a lot more out of control. But on the Zoom platform, it just doesn’t happen. People tend to stick to the point. We give everybody the opportunity to speak. And obviously, if it’s something that gets out of hand or is not relevant to the actual meeting, we do have the ability to mute that individual.

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