Under the Canada Not-for-profit Corporations Act, all CNCA corporations must call an Annual General Meeting (AGM) within 15 months of the previous AGM and not later than six months after the corporation’s fiscal year-end.

Due to safety concerns and regulations preventing group gatherings due to COVID-19, many organizations are struggling with how best to hold their AGMs to remain compliant.

With the recent restrictions, many people, even those who rarely used technology previously, are now using technology to stay connected with friends and loved ones. Zoom has become part of our vocabulary. Almost all of us have attended a birthday party, had a FaceTime call with family, or used technology to connect with others since social distancing began. This exposure to technology on a personal level has suddenly made virtual events accessible to a broader audience. The adoption of conferencing technology, combined with the Social Distancing restrictions in place, makes a virtual event the ideal way to hold your next AGM.

What technology should you use?

If you’re using Microsoft 365 / Office 365

Most organizations are already using Microsoft Office 365. If you’re not already, you should be, it’s packed with tools, and it is free for most non-profit organizations. Microsoft Office 365 plans include Microsoft Teams. While Microsoft Teams can do a lot of things, one of it’s lesser known features is Microsoft Teams Live Events. Teams Live Events are a powerful way to hold large virtual events (can support over 10,000 guests). You get the ability to share live video, presentations, show PDFs, and much more. Teams Live Events are also recorded, and you can send your guests a recorded copy of the event once it ends.

There are a few simple things that need to be enabled by your IT admin in Office 365 to allow your event organizer to create the event. Once enabled, it’s simple to set up, and Microsoft has created the following easy-to-follow setup videos.

  1. Schedule a live event

  2. Invite attendees

  3. Produce your live event

  4. Present in your live event

  5. Manage the recording and reports

If you’re using Google G-Suite

For organizations using Google G-Suite there isn’t a free included equivalent product. G-Suite includes Google Meet which is an on-line meeting application with has a limit of 250 maximum attendees. While it could be used, it is not designed to hold scripted/led events like an AGM. Products like GoToWebinar and LiveWebinar may be better for you.

If you want to hold a virtual conference

A number of organizations we work with use their AGM as a convention/training event as well. If your organization typically has this type of more complex AGM with things like a main stage and break-out rooms for training, then you can do one of two things.

  1. The free way – create an agenda/directory then set up a number of virtual meetings and coordinate it all yourself

  2. If you have budget – you can look at using paid trade-show software to handle it all for you. 6CONNEX makes a great virtual trade show tool that is as close to a live conference as you can get.

Regardless of which tools you use, holding a virtual AGM enables you to stay on schedule with your AGM and satisfy your compliance requirements.

If you’re already a happier IT client and would like to learn more about how to use the tools to setup a virtual AGM, we would love to help you out. Simply reach out to your happier IT Account Manager, and they will put you in touch with the right people to help you out.

If you are not already a happier IT client but are interested in learning how happier IT can help your organization, please click here to schedule a discovery call with one of our Not-for-Profit sector specialists.