Who Leads The Dance, The Executive Director Or The Board Chair?
May 30, 2014

Who leads the dance, the Executive Director or the board chair?

Who is the boss?  Who is really running the show?  Who makes the last call at work? At home? In social settings? Most of us face these types of questions without even realizing it. Exercising power is a topic that can be fraught because it is not always a straight-forward or static issue.

Life happens. Change happens.

Libraries are filled with books on power sharing, power grabbing, and power struggles. Machiavelli’s The Prince is the quintessential playbook for the dark side of politics, which is a discipline dedicated to the study of power. Most families feel like they could write volumes on the topic!

May 25, 2014

Snapshot 2014: Board roles amid the “Rising Tide of Expectation”

America’s Charities published their yearly Snapshot of over 240 charitable organizations to explore the key trends that are shaping corporate and nonprofit partnerships as well as the challenges and opportunities they face moving forward. The title of this year’s publication is Snapshot 2014: Rising Tide of Expectations—Corporate Giving, Employee Engagement and Impact.

According to the report, the rising tide of expectations on nonprofit organizations is due to the increased accountability, transparency and impact fueled by the proliferation of technology in our increasing digital age. 

About 68 percent of nonprofit organizations stated that they are affected by digital culture and its drive on their demand to demonstrate impact and that digital culture requires them to be more transparent with their stakeholders, including donors. When asked what they believe is important to their supporters, in order, they ranked:

  1. Impacts and outcomes
  2. Transparency
  3. Governance and high standards
May 1, 2014

Springing forward with the new release

We strive to continue to improve BoardEffect to meet the needs and requests of our clients and we are excited to have released the new features this Monday. Based directly on client feedback, we have increased the functionality of the product and hope that you enjoy the improvements as much as we do. We held two webinars to demonstrate the new features. During the webinar, questions were raised that we think were worth sharing. As a result, here are our top four FAQs of the spring release.

How are the changes to the Resource Library going to affect the folders with security settings that I’ve already created?

  • All of the existing security settings will still be applied to the folders. Now, instead of adding individual users to restricted files, you can add entire committees or boards that will be reflect the existing committee or board list you have in your portal. So if a user is on a committee and she moves off the committee, she will no longer have access to that material. If you already have created restricted folders, you can add the committee or board to the restricted folder and then delete the individual users so that, moving forward, this will be an accurate up-to-date list.
  • Board members will no longer see restricted folders that they do not have access to.
  • There is a new Secured Folders area in the Resource Library under the left side bar under “New Folder” that displays all of the files with restricted access types on them so that only Top-Level Admins can see them in one place.
  • You will also be able to delete multiple files by clicking the checkbox next to each file when viewing the folder in the Resource Library and clicking on delete.
April 29, 2014

Becoming a Paperless Board of Directors

Although we’re a little late, we still think it’s important to celebrate Earth Day, not only on April 22, but everyday. With that said, we think it is a great time to bring up one of the conversations we had with our clients about becoming a paperless board of directors at our BE Connected User Conference held in October.

When transitioning from a paper system of document distribution, getting your board of directors to go paperless can be a significant change especially when faced with board members who are accustomed to using paper copies of meeting materials.  It takes some planning and considerations prior to the roll-out but with proper planning, it can be very successful. Read on to learn more about one of those stories from a client who started using BoardEffect’s board meeting software.

Once upon a time…

One of our clients was using a paper system to distribute materials to her board members (sound familiar?). Then one day, she decided to go paperless. She works at a university with board members of varying comfort levels using technology. As she was pondering the implementation of a paperless board book implementation, she had several considerations.

April 16, 2014

Successfully implementing eGovernance: Part III

In Successfully Implementing eGovernance Part I and Part II , we addressed how to manage some of the challenges that arise during the planning and research process of eGovernance. What's next on our journey is our tips on how to make eGovernance implementations…

April 7, 2014

Successfully implementing eGovernance: Part II

If you’ve read Part I of our series, you might be wondering about what other challenges organizations face during the planning phase of portal implementation. During Volume II, we will address other challenges. In Volume III, our series will wrap up with successful tips for making eGovernance successful.

We’ll begin in media res. Back to the challenges:

3. “I upload the content the board wants but they never visit the portal.”

In an ideal world, an administrator would upload the content, the board would read it, make informed decisions and the world would be a better place. While this can happen over time this isn’t a process that happens overnight. In addition to having online meeting materials and a shared calendar, eGovernance supports engaged governance by streamlining committee deliberations, board development, strategic planning, staffing and appraising the chief executive position.

A portal provides the board with the opportunity for the board to think and work differently and that kind of human behavior change takes some time. Think of implementing a portal more as a process of turning on a dimmer switch rather than turning a light switch on and off.

How To Successfully Implement A Board Portal
April 3, 2014

How to Successfully Implement a Board Portal

As the prevalence of technology increases, we continue to find new ways to integrate it into our lives. From food and fitness tracking to home security, there is an app for almost everything – including online board books. If your board is not yet using board meeting software for board meetings or you employ a cumbersome process that does not meet the needs of your board, you are not alone. As board members continue to plan to improve the future of the organization, chances are electronic board books hosted on board portals may come up in your discussion.

Before you decide to make the switch from paper to electronic materials, there are some considerations for your board to think through.

March 11, 2014

What is the Right Role for I.T. in Managing a Board Portal?

Recently, we received a call from an IT director who was looking for some advice on how to best help the board office staff take “ownership” of their BoardEffect board portal. The board office was being flooded with requests from committees, senior management teams, and working groups to expand the use of the board portal.  But rather than asking IT to organize the new requests and training, they wanted the IT team to “just handle it,” by which they meant “take over the day-to-day management of our BoardEffect portal.”

March 11, 2014

eGovernance is more than just the technology

In the 15 or so years since the term “eGovernance” was first coined, its use has broadened to include not only the use of technology to expand citizen participation in government, but also to describe using technology to streamline the management of boards of directors – i.e., board portals.  Notwithstanding their differences, in either definition the focus centers squarely on the technology.

Too often, conversations about board eGovernance seem overwhelmingly to focus on the features of specific board portal systems. But focusing solely on board portal bells-and-whistles misses the most important point. Sound eGovernance can add tangible value for the organizations that embrace it, by thinking holistically beyond simply automating traditional board processes online.

At BoardEffect, we believe eGovernance is a big idea, with an underlying set of tenets, concepts and supporting best practices. eGovernance is not exclusively about technology; it’s about freeing boards to do what they are meant to be doing – proactively promoting the mission of the organization. Used properly, the technology helps that shift to occur efficiently, effectively, and with valuable insight to the organization.

The eGovernance lifestyle promises this value-add for board members by giving them greater context and information so they can make better decisions and be more proactive.  For example:

  • Providing ready access to a broad array of information conveniently packaged for easy reading – bylaws, past minutes, past reports, in current reports – so they can spot trends and navigate around problems looming on the horizon
  • Leveraging the expertise of their board colleagues learned by reviewing their detailed Directory profiles in the portal
  • Providing appropriate forums for board members to collaborate, respond, communicate, and learn from one another
  • Giving board members more time to digest and reflect on the information they’ve been presented with because they receive that information faster and with more lead time
  • Helping speed up information delivery so the “current” information board members see isn’t stale