If you are a member of a non-profit society then one way to influence how people are served is becoming active in the business sessions of your organization.
If you want to be able to be effective at a General Meeting or a Business Session then you need to know a little about parliamentary procedure.
The rules of order allow a meeting to proceed within in a democratic structure of rules. The rules ensure that the minority gets heard, but the majority rules. In my view, the rules should be used to encourage debate, but some use it to stifle debate. In any event, it allows the membership to crystallize its collective thought into action, by putting forward a motion.
"I move that…," is a very powerful phrase when it comes to business sessions. When something is moved like, "I move that the walls be painted green" it is called a "motion on the floor." A motion must be seconded by another member in good standing. The Chairperson will ask: The motion has been moved and seconded – is there is any discussion? If there is some discussion, the chair will recognize the speaker. The speaker must address the chairperson. After all discussion is done, both pro and con, then the chairperson must "put the question." This means that the motion will be voted upon. The vote could be won by a simple majority or any other percentage of the total vote but it will be stated in your constitution.
Get to know your Constitution! It is the backbone for any non-profit organization. Constitutions tell us how we are structured, how many meetings we will have and when, who does what, and how to change the constitution. A constitution will tell us some rules of order for meetings. Often a constitution will refer to some basic rules and then point to Robert’s rules or Bourinot’s rules of order when the Constitution is silent. Non-profit organizations are governed by "The Societies Act." Please check out the links and attachments to learn more about the Constitution and the meeting rules.