What is an Inaugural General Meeting?
An Inaugural General Meeting (IGM) is a General Meeting held to establish a new Club and is one of the key steps to start a New Club.
How do I run an IGM?
The steps are outlined below. Please note that if your IGM does not meet the requirements below, it may be declared invalid and you may be required to hold the meeting again in order for the Club to become affiliated with Arc. You can find a condensed list of the IGM requirements in the IGM, Affiliation and Getting Started Checklists document.
Before the IGM
- Read the sections of the Clubs Handbook about Starting a Club (Section 3), Club Constitutions (Section 7), IGMs (Section 3.1) and Elections (Section 10).
- Prepare your Club’s Constitution using Arc Club’s Model Constitution as a guide. Note any requirements you need to fulfill at a General Meeting, including election requirements (some of these may be stricter than Arc’s requirements, including some mentioned in this guide and in the Handbook). We recommend that you consult with the Arc Clubs team in advance to ensure that your Constitution will meet Arc’s requirements.
- Decide on a date, time & location to hold the IGM. To prevent podtential issues, make sure to have a clear decision-making process and a written communication of the final decision. Note: Voting members of the Club must not be charged a fee to attend the meeting. For example, if the meeting is taking place as part of a charged event (e.g. during an end of year social), the meeting could be held in the same venue at the start or end of the larger event, where non-paying attendees are allowed entry only for the meeting. Arc representatives attending the meeting as an observer must also not be charged a fee.
- If required, contact Arc Clubs to make a booking for the location and any other resources needed (for bookings, submit at least 7 business days before you need the location confirmed). Include extra time before and after the event for setup and pack up, and in case the meeting runs longer than expected. Make sure to have your confirmation email accessible in case there is an issue at the IGM.
- Allocate/confirm tasks for Organisers at the IGM (e.g. taking minutes, chairing the meeting, checking members in, counting votes etc.).
- Prepare a form to prove attendance at the IGM (use an Arc Attendance Form or make your own), as long as it contains: a. Club Name, Date and Activity at the top b. Space for each attendee to complete their name, student number and signature
- Prepare election materials & processes, if required (e.g. voting slips)
At the IGM
- Arrive at the location early to set up. If you are using voting slips, you may want set aside a space to do that where people won’t be seated.
- Check the attendees in as they enter the event.
- Check that they can be a full member (and any other attendance requirements)
- Have them complete their details on the attendance list. If they are a non-member attendee note these down separately (e.g. an observer, guest, associate member, returning officer).
- If relevant, distribute voting slips to those eligible to vote
- The IGM can only start once you have the required number of members at the event (this is called quorum and is usually 15 or half of your members, whichever is less). If members leave the meeting such that you no longer have the required numbers, then you will need to pause or stop the meeting. If you never achieve the required number, you will need to reschedule the meeting for a later date and try again (still meeting all the requirements, including notice of the new meeting).
- Take minutes of the meeting. This is a summary of the meeting which should detail exactly what occurred during the meeting (in the order that it happened) as a record for your Club as well as for Arc to check over. Most importantly, the minutes should contain any key discussions, resolutions passed at the meeting including accepting the constitution and elections (nominations and results). It should also record if members leave or re-enter the meeting (who and when) or arrive after the meeting has started.
- Conduct the meeting, covering the following agenda items:
- Open the meeting – note the time in the minutes
- Apologies - this is prior notice that a member is unable to attend the meeting and have sent their apologies (especially Club Executives)
- Acceptance of the Official Club Name, Club aims and objectives, and Club Constitution.
- Elections of Executive positions (unless otherwise specified in your constitution). This should include nominations (unless these were received prior), brief speeches from candidates, a short time allocated for questions, voting and announcement of results.
- Determine the three bank signatories out of the Executive team (including the Treasurer). Include their full names (from their government-issued ID) in the minutes.
- General Business (if any) – this could be a discussion about future events, initiatives or anything else you want to discuss with the members. You can also open up the floor for members to bring up discussion points.
- Close the meeting – note the time in the minutes.
- Pack up the event, making sure to collect the signed attendance sheet, minutes and anything that contains private/sensitive information. If you are disposing of physical copies private/sensitive information, use a shredder (there is one in the Clubs Space).
Sending the IGM notice
The official IGM Notice (and any other additional/updated information sent later) must be sent to all Club Members and/or interested students (all people voting at your IGM must be students that have joined your Club before or at the IGM). Social media & other forms of communication can be used as well as the emailed notice but cannot be used as a substitute.
Holding an online meeting
The structure and format of General Meetings themselves have not changed, i.e., minute keeping, discussions, voting, amendments etc. still function the same way. The main difference is that attendance forms and voting is can now be filled out online. Other requirements and procedures are identical to the information above.
Instead of a physical location, you can organise something like a Zoom meeting, Microsoft Teams meeting, schedule something on a Discord channel and so on. You hold the meeting identically to as if it was occurring in person, except those attendees should enter the following information as part of attendance/registration:
- Full Name (as per student ID)
- If they are an Arc Member
- Optionally, contact details such as email or phone number if you deem it necessary (this must be kept private and only accessible by Executives)
Your voting will also have to occur digitally. If your constitution specifies a particular type of voting system that must be used, you’ll also need to emulate it through the digital voting system/website you choose to use. If you haven’t had to conduct online voting before, here are some ways to ensure the validity of votes:
- Providing each member present at the meeting with a unique, randomly generated code that is matched to their zID. If a submitted vote contains a code that is not in the list of those given, or is used multiple times, you can tell something doesn’t add up.
- Having each member privately message their vote to the person chairing the meeting, or a trusted and impartial third party.
- Open a voting form that is only available for the duration of the meeting, providing everyone with the link during the meeting itself.
The same organisation for an online general meeting is done, but a physical location is also prepared for start time of the meeting. Attendance and voting will also need to be available in both an online and physical format. A computer, speakers and microphone are recommended so those attending online can easily participate, but if need be, phones can be used too.
A proxy vote can be used when a member of the Club that is eligible to vote at the General Meeting is unable to attend the meeting but has signed a proxy form allowing their vote to be cast by someone else. Arc requires that any Clubs holding a General Meeting on a non-academic day must allow proxy votes at that meeting. This means that if your Club’s constitution specifies that your Club can only hold General Meetings on an academic day, then you don’t need to allow proxy votes at all.
Arc has an example proxy form that you can use. At minimum, Club members who want to vote by proxy must write their full, student number, sign and date the form and writ the full name and student number of their proxy. Club members may choose to specifically state how they intend to vote on a particular motion on the form or they may leave it up to the discretion of their proxy holder. The proxy holder must bring all proxy forms to the meeting and show them to the returning officer before they can cast those votes.
Quorum for the meeting (the minimum number of voting members that must be at the meeting in order for it to be valid) is calculated on the number of voting members in attendance at the meeting (so proxy votes don’t count). On the other hand, proxy votes are included when calculating the number of votes needed for a motion to pass.
Other important things to note:
- Each (full) member is entitled to one vote in each motion (decision).
- Voting may only be restricted if these restrictions are specified in the Club’s constitution. Arc has limitations on what restrictions would be accepted in the constitution.
- At every IGM, all Executive positions are vacant and free to be contested unless otherwise specified in the Constitution.
- Elections for Executive are conducted using a ‘first-past-the-post’ system (i.e. the candidate with the most votes wins), unless your Constitution states otherwise.
- Any full member of the Club is entitled to run for a vacant Executive position unless otherwise specified in the Constitution (only some restrictions are permitted for Arc-affiliated Clubs).
- See Clubs Handbook Section 10 for more information about Executive elections.
- All elected Executive members must sign the Arc Clubs Affiliation Agreement.
How often do I need to hold an Inaugural General Meeting?
IGMs only need to be held once at the inception of the Club.
Do we have to hold our meetings on campus, or can I have an off-campus meeting?
Meetings can be held either on campus or off campus, however on campus meetings will generally allow more members would be able to attend.
Where can we book areas to hold our meetings on campus?
If you are not expected a lot of people, the easiest option is to book a room in the Library. If you need a larger venue, get in touch with the Arc Clubs team and we will assist you in finding a location In general, rooms can only be booked by Clubs once they have been successfully affiliated.
Can my Club access any resources before it has been approved for affiliation?
Generally speaking, no. This includes that your Club will not be eligible for funding for events held and purchases made before your Club has been formally approved for affiliation. The main exception is that we can assist you in booking a location for your IGM.
Is there a minimum number of people that must attend the IGM?
Quorum for an IGM is 5 people for Regular clubs and 15 people for Constituent Clubs. Quorum is the minimum number of members in attendance at a General Meeting that are required for the meeting to be considered valid.
Where can I found out more information?
Clubs Handbook (www.arc.unsw.edu.au/clubs/clubshandbook)
- Section 7 – Club Constitutions
- Section 10 – Guidelines for Elections
Forms & Files (www.arc.unsw.edu.au/clubs/club-admin/club-forms)
- Sample IGM Document
- Arc Clubs Example Proxy Form