One of the key shareholder concerns that organisations can address at their annual AGM is accountability, so it’s critical that virtual or hybrid AGMs offer investors and members visibility and transparency.
With this in mind, one of the many benefits of hosting your AGM online is the fact that it can be recorded and hosted on your website or other online service for as long as you wish — unlike purely physical meetings.
This offers shareholders and members with so much more than simply a record of the minutes — it affords them the chance to hear or see key executives in action, as well as hearing questions from shareholders (and the organisation’s responses), so they can gain insight into an organisation’s operations whether they are able to attend the event or not.
It’s very easy to host your virtual AGM online — in fact, it should be a standard inclusion from your virtual or hybrid AGM provider.
It’s worth talking to your webinar provider about your hosting options. There are three main ones: ask your virtual event provider to host it for you, host it on your own website or use a third-party service.
If you’re hosting the event on your own site, you have the option of including other relevant information, documents and downloadable resources.
Make sure you explore the on-page branding opportunities if you’re using a third-party service to ensure your brand is reflected on the page.
In addition to recording the event and making the online version available online, it’s a good idea to provide a written transcript of the event online in the same forum for maximum accessibility, as not everyone wants — or is able — to view videos.
Captioning your video recording for hearing-impaired viewers is also a great way to ensure your content is as accessible as possible.
Talk to your virtual event provider to find out what services they offer, and the turnaround time, so you can make your transcript available online in a timely fashion.
Then there’s the question of who should be able to view the record of the AGM online.
Some organisations open the record of their AGM to all visitors, while others restrict access to current, registered shareholders.
While it’s up to each organisation to decide what’s best for them, it’s worth knowing that typically as much as two-thirds of all webinar views occur on-demand, when it’s convenient for the viewer to tune in.
That means making your event available on your site may open your company up to consideration by a wider range of possible investors, or a broader membership base.
Either way, the content is valuable and should live on well past your actual AGM date.
It’s also worth thinking about how you will handle questions in conjunction with the online record of your AGM.
Some companies call for questions in the Notice of Meeting and other lead-up communications prior to the virtual AGM, which provides an opportunity to offer a prepared response that can be provided online with the event recording.
Other organisations follow their AGM with a follow-up event dedicated to taking shareholder questions.
If this is your preference, you may wish to host a version of that event online in the same forum as your AGM as it will provide answers to shareholders who may well have similar questions.
Regardless of how you handle the finer details, hosting a record of your virtual AGM online will go a long way to establishing the accountability, accessibility and transparency that shareholders are seeking.