Efficiency is a key component of not-for-profit board meetings. Donors and constituents expect not-for-profits to organise themselves well and to do their work as efficiently as possible. Most not-for-profit board directors also consider efficiency to be a key component of board meetings and hold the same expectations for themselves as for donors and constituents.
The vast majority of not-for-profit organisations are run on volunteer power. That means that not-for-profits have no choice but to run a tight ship and to make the best use of their time. Being efficient with time doesn’t mean that not-for-profits should be remiss intending to all their legal and compliance duties. In fact, working with greater efficiency will afford not-for-profit boards the necessary time to go through their legal documents and requirements to be sure that everything is in its proper order.
The reality is that the right technology will help not-for-profit boards to work diligently and efficiently. Not-for-profit boards meet as frequently as necessary to get their work done. A board portal and other digital tools help not-for-profit board members to do the work that they can do in between meetings.
Technology, through the use of a board portal, makes it easier for board members to present, review and comment on information in committees and in other workgroups. With much of the legwork and clarification being done outside of board meetings, the board can tackle the more complex issues during board meetings.
Related article: Why Should Not-for-profit Boards Consider a Board Portal?
What Does a Board Portal Do That We’re Not Doing Now?
Perhaps the greatest time-saver that board portals for not-for-profits afford is the ability for board presidents and secretaries to create online agendas and board books.
Getting ready for a board meeting without the help of digital tools is a painstakingly long process. It doesn’t have to be that way. With BoardEffect, a board portal system, not-for-profit organisations can drastically cut down on the time needed to prepare board books and get things ready for a board meeting.
BoardEffect’s program automatically pulls the guest list into the board book and takes attendance. Once the agenda is ready, the agenda preparer can simply pull it into the board book, along with any files that relate to the agenda items. Consent agendas may require several files. All it takes is clicking on those files and adding them to the board book along with the other documents. It’s a simple process to rename the documents, if necessary, using just one or two clicks. BoardEffect uses drag-and-drop technology to order the items in the board book, so the agenda preparer can reorder items simply by dragging them around. It doesn’t matter what format the documents are in. The system automatically converts them to PDF files, which is another valuable time-saver.
When everything is ready, the agenda preparer merely publishes the board book and the system builds the board book electronically. The end result is a professionally formatted board book complete with cover page, agenda, page numbers and helpful links. The agenda preparer can then attach it to the calendar and make it visible to the meeting participants when the time is right. Since the board books can be accessed electronically, there’s no concern over pages coming loose and getting lost or falling into the wrong hands.
Building board books electronically saves not-for-profits substantially in office supplies, labor time to put the books together, and courier or distribution costs. Most not-for-profit board meetings can take place virtually, as long as the bylaws allow it. Not only is the board portal a time-saver, it saves travel expenses when not-for-profits don’t need to have board directors travelling to a central location to attend a meeting. There are no costs for hotels, transportation and meals.
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Board Portals for Not-for-profits Enhance Governance
Accessibility is something that strongly relates to efficiency. With BoardEffect, all of the board’s documents are stored securely online. The system has unlimited storage capability. Anytime that board directors want to review a board policy, the bylaws, an agenda, the budget, meeting minutes or any reports they can access them online and have them in their hands within seconds.
Board directors can even store notes or documents that they’ve made notes on electronically with other documents.
Overall, board portals for not-for-profits improve governance, which improves board performance.
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Donors Value Organised and Efficient Not-for-profits
Fundraising is highly competitive in virtually every arena. Only the most organised, well-prepared organisations will be able to put data and facts together and meet all the requirements that funders are looking for to support the ask.
Having all documents and reports neatly organised in the board portal is a great asset to board directors and their grant writers, who have many pages to fill out and much information to track down just to improve their chances of getting a grant. Having all the facts and being able to make a quality presentation makes a huge difference in getting an approval or denial of money. Donors are looking for more than a great cause and static answers to a grant application. They’re looking for not-for-profits that have made a commitment to transparency, accountability and efficiency. All of these things are the components of good corporate governance, and a board portal gives them that. In the end, the board portal works with proactive not-for-profit board directors to reap the rewards of their efforts in overall increased donations to the organisation.
As another benefit, boards can save and store all their grant applications, so they have a better idea of which ones are good possibilities for which to reapply. The denial letters are a good source of information for improving the quality of the applications when reapplying for the grants in the future.
While not-for-profit boards will realise huge savings in time and costs in board books, enhance their governance principles, and position themselves to increase donations, BoardEffect offers many additional useful features for not-for-profits that are looking for a modern approach to governance.
Shared calendars, electronic surveys, 24/7 access and tight security are other features that modern nonprofits need to work efficiently and in a way that boosts their credibility and reputations. BoardEffect even has a feature for granular permissions so that only authorised users can access various documents and parts of the portal.
Not-for-profits that take a modern approach to governance are forward-thinking. BoardEffect is a modern governance company that meets the needs of board portals for nonprofits today and moving into the future.