Board Meetings and Retreats

According to the 2015 BoardSource Leading With Intent Survey results: "boards spend less than 25 hours a year in meetings (68% of boards meet 9 times or less per year, and 78% meet for 2.5 hours or less), and board member attendance is declining. Half of nonprofit boards meet 6 or fewer times per year. As a point of reference, 52% of boards meet every other month or less, 16% meet between 7 and 9 times per year, and 33% meet almost monthly. And, 78% of boards meet for 2.5 hours or less. These findings must be taken in the context of other factors. Not surprisingly, geographic scope corresponds to meeting frequency and length. Multistate and national boards meet less often for longer periods of time, while local and state boards meet more often for shorter periods of time."

Based on data from ACCE's FY 2015 Operations Survey (via Dynamic Chamber Benchmarking), Boards of Directors meet between 18 (25th percentile) and 36 (75th percentile) times a year, with the median (50th percentile) being 24 times, depending on the size of the chamber and the Board. CEOs and board chairs are often looking for good ideas to get more out of board meetings. The resources below will give you some ideas for board meetings, how to orient new board members to your process, and why board retreats may be just what your board needs when you have a pressing issue at hand.

Online Resources & Guides

Articles & Blogs

Specific Topic: Board Orientation

  • See all Board Orientation examples from ACCE's Samples Library
  • Jeopardy Board Orientation - The Glenwood Springs (CO) Chamber's board orientation has a Jeopardy theme which is very fun and educational at the same time. Jeopardy "think" music was played off an iPhone at the appropriate times.
  • Board of Directors Leadership Orientation Presentation - Longview Chamber's (TX) presentation covers general information about the chamber and covers the key functions and responsibilities of the board of directors. (January 2014)
  • Orientation with Multiple Benefits - Article by Robert C. Harris discusses the benefits of orientation for chamber board members. The primary purpose of a board orientation is the transmission of information and documents, but there are numerous other benefits that result from the meeting. (Spring-Summer 2013)
  • Avoiding Board Orientation - Article by Robert C. Harris explains the importance of holding an annual orientation for board members, and discusses some common reasons why board members may not understand the extent of their responsibilities. (Winter-Spring 2013)
  • To Steer the Ship, a Board Needs Direction - by Allen Hester, Chamber Executive magazine (Winter 2007)
  • Board Effectiveness - by Aldonna R. Ambler, Chamber Executive magazine (February 2005)
  • Board Policy is Good Policy - by Bob Harris, Chamber Executive magazine (February 2005)
  • Board Orientation - by Robert Harris, Chamber Executive magazine (January/February 2003)
  • The Chamber Board - by Susan Higginbotham, Chamber Executive magazine (January/February 2003)

Specific Topic: Agendas, Including Consent Agendas


  • Board Orientation - Example video on board orientation from the Wisconsin Chamber of Commerce (December 2013)

Webinars & ACCE U Resources

  • Chamber 101: Introducing the Work of Chambers of Commerce - In this foundational 8-part eCourse series, twelve chamber practitioners offer a broad stroke presentation that highlights the work of chambers. The online course is designed to both work in tandem with chamber staff and board orientation programming, while offering a flexible training tool. Log in to view price and to purchase.

Related Chamberpedia Topics

Chamberpedia Home | Governance and Leadership | Board Meetings and Retreats

Last Updated: 11/27/2016

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