Advancements in technology have made it easier for nonprofit boards to do many of their tasks more efficiently and with a greater degree of security. A nonprofit’s website is the hub of its activity. Social media outlets play a big part in marketing and fundraising efforts, as well as in generating interest in clients and volunteers.
While advances in technology have solved many problems for nonprofits, they have also created some new problems, which have resulted in gaps in governance processes. Email accounts and file-sharing apps are numerous. Nonprofits may be especially attractive to them because many of them are free.
On the down side, issues with public posting can cause liability problems that lead to the loss of funds and reputational risk. Cybercriminals have caught on to the notion that nonprofits are less equipped financially and technically to defend themselves against hackers and malware. Nonprofits often collect personal information in setting up donations and memberships. These issues combined make nonprofit organizations prime targets for hacking.
In essence, nonprofit organizations need to be just as diligent as for-profit organizations in protecting their clients and their board business. While technology is sometimes part of the problem, it’s also a major part of the solution in addressing governance gaps.
Identifying Gaps in Governance
Good governance demands that nonprofits do their best to create a qualified board of directors, follow their mission and work for the betterment of the organization.
One of the areas that nonprofit board directors struggle with is forming a qualified board. Today’s nonprofits face many of the same pressures and challenges as for-profit boards. Nonprofit boards have a duty to ensure that they’re working toward the organization’s best interests. For this reason, it’s crucial that they not appoint just anyone who is willing to join the board but choose their leaders selectively and according to how well their qualifications match up with the leadership needs.
Governance gaps put the hard work of the board at risk of security problems and lackluster performance. Nonprofit boards may be inclined to shy away from the very applications and systems that they need in the interest of frugality. The reality is that modern governance applications can actually save nonprofits time and money.
Nonprofit board directors put their organizations at risk by not using secure applications for communication and file-sharing. Governance gaps can cause the loss of private funding and reputational risk. Using non-secure electronic applications can expose the nonprofit’s clients’ and members’ personal information to cybercriminals, creating legal problems and liability for boards.
What Is Modern Governance?
Modern governance addresses governance deficits by addressing the core issues of speed, visibility and security by putting the necessary tools and intelligence at the fingertips of today’s board members and executives. Having better data leads the board to better questions. Modern governance is the process of employing the right technology to practice secure communications, secure file-sharing, and storing documents and other materials securely.
A single board portal with many tools on one platform allows for seamless collaboration, and it helps in monitoring the organization’s reputation, succession planning and keeping board communications secure. Online meeting software automates the process for board materials, voting solutions, evaluations, document sharing and board director recruiting.
Board directors will appreciate the convenience of being able to access the portal from any device. For added efficiency, they’ll get notifications of important matters and customer service is available for them 24/7.
Modern governance tools like BoardEffect’s board portal allow nonprofit leaders to spot risks and identify opportunities while allowing them to perform nimbly and ethically. The portal centralizes data and communications, prevents hacking and stores important documents securely in the cloud.
How Online Meeting Software Changes the Game for Nonprofits
BoardEffect offers nonprofit board directors one source for all board documents and communication. BoardEffect’s portal allows board administrators to have granular controls over the portal users to ensure security and confidentiality.
Board portals are rapidly being adopted by nonprofit organizations because it changes their meeting preparation time from weeks to minutes. The program prefills board meeting agendas and uses drag-and-drop technology to move sections around as needed. Features for automated notifications and automated follow-ups create efficiency and streamline workflows. The program automatically pulls the list of meeting attendees into the board book; adds the meeting time, date and location; and takes attendance. Once the agenda is prepared, the secretary can pull it into the electronic board book along with any files that correspond to the agenda items. It’s also possible to add several files to a consent agenda. The secretary can rename documents and the system changes the format of the documents automatically to PDF files, which saves time and makes documents easier to read.
Once all the proper documents have been uploaded, the secretary publishes the board book online and the program builds the board book with all the documents in the correct order, including the cover page, agenda, page numbers and helpful links. The system sends a notification out to board meeting attendees, letting them know that the completed board book is ready and available for them to review it.
Board directors can access all documents electronically so there’s no concern over pages coming loose, getting lost or ending up in the wrong hands. Nonprofit boards will save substantial amounts in their budgets on paper, supplies, labor time to put the books together and distribution costs.
The system even makes it possible for nonprofit boards to meet virtually where their bylaws allow it. This is a huge time-saver, as nearly all nonprofit board spots are volunteer positions. The board saves the additional expense on travel, food and lodging for board directors who must travel long distances to meetings.
A modern governance approach will enhance governance and impress your donors because it allows directors to keep up with the rapidly changing landscape. They get the right information at the right time to mitigate risks and seize new opportunities. The investment that nonprofits make when investing in online meeting software pays for itself in efficiency and good governance practices.