Client Challenge

Sarah Griffith returned to Gilda’s Club South Jersey, as Interim CEO, after initially serving as the founding executive of the organization for 10 years, in order to lead the organization through a critical financial and evolutionary transition. Knowing the value of board management software more acutely than most, she countered the myth that the organization’s budget was too small for such a “luxury” by proposing that “scant resources make it more important to be efficient.”

The BoardEffect Solution

She was right. “For me, it’s a massive time saver,” explains Sarah. “While people broadly understand the benefit of board portals to directors, BoardEffect helps me stay organized in keeping my board organized.” With so many critical topics on the table amid an organizational transition, the board needed access to current information as well as the data that informed decisions, so she built out a library with past resolutions and minutes for board members to reference.

“Decisions never happen in a vacuum. Now, with BoardEffect, I can manage information and enable board members to see me ‘make the sausage’ (or not), depending on what makes most sense,” notes Sarah.

By implementing BoardEffect software, the board enhanced communications not only between the board and its new interim CEO, but among board members, as well. During meetings, Sarah projects BoardEffect on a screen to keep board members looking up and engaging in discussion. Even those dialing in remotely through Zoom online video conferencing can follow her screen along with the rest of the board. “I can readily pull up data that someone might be unable to recall. It brings a level of clarity to all discussions.”

The Impact

Sarah recognizes that board process is more efficient at Gilda’s Club South Jersey, which fosters greater board engagement. Board members now see for themselves what she means regarding almost everything, as the email function within BoardEffect enables her to send briefer messages with no attachments, just a link that points board members into the platform to open actual documents.

She monitors the flurry of activity just before board meetings and appreciates that board members are busy preparing for substantive discussions. Before there was a BoardEffect platform, “who knew?” It was harder to know whether board members were ready to delve into board work or even whether they planned to attend meetings. Now, the event and RSVP functions allow board member and staff to plan and prepare accordingly.

Tips

To use BoardEffect most effectively, Sarah advises that organizations:

  • Identify a few champions of BoardEffect early in the implementation process. “Having their peers assure them the technology was easy and useful was key in increasing board members’ willingness to learn. I offered one-on-one assistance to anyone with any concerns and got not a single call.”
  • Demonstrate how BoardEffect ensures board members’ time is being respected. Nonprofits rely upon board members to make strategic decisions, so readily having the information they need is essential. “Anything that helps enlighten board members or enhance communications gets us ahead – it’s a no-brainer.”
  • Board members don’t want to waste resources, so once they have a BoardEffect platform, help them use it. To the fullest extent possible. It gets easier to use with use, so continue to explore new functions and how they might impact board process.

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