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Team Collaboration Vs. Board Management Software

Team Collaboration vs. Board Management Software: A Quick Guide


Many mission-driven organizations are using digital tools to help their operations, and the right software can make a huge difference in how much your board can accomplish. Many nonprofits use the team collaboration software tools they’re most familiar with – Dropbox, Google Drive, Sharepoint, Microsoft 365, and others. While such tools might work well for some scenarios, it’s important to be aware that they also lack some key, unique features boards need to manage sensitive board work.

As an example, let’s say that a nonprofit board uses one of the team collaboration tools we mentioned above to share documents in preparation for an upcoming fundraiser. Board members forget to review document revisions as they don’t get notifications, and some board members end up emailing between different people trying to finish preparation. Confusion over which version should be edited and who should take the next action causes the board to miss some critical deadlines for tasks. On the day of the fundraiser, they don’t feel prepared at all, and things don’t go smoothly. To make matters worse, the collaboration software has a cyber breach and sensitive information is now shared online.

While team collaboration software is handy and sometimes free, it’s not the ideal tool for board work.

In this article, we explore why board management software is a better choice for boards, as well as:

  • Why mission-driven organizations often opt for team collaboration software
  • The downsides and risks of using team collaboration software
  • The benefits of using board management software
  • Tips for choosing the right board management software partner

Why Do Mission-Driven Organizations Often Opt for Team-Collaboration Software?

The concept behind team collaboration software is that it gives groups access to a centralized platform where they can exchange ideas, communicate and share files in real time. At first glance, it would seem that team collaboration software would be beneficial for board and committee work, as there are some benefits to using it.

The primary benefits of team collaboration software are that it’s user-friendly, and board members are generally familiar with it because they use it in other facets of their lives. However, there are some downsides to using team collaboration software, and it also carries certain risks.

What are the Downsides and Risks of Using Team Collaboration Software?

Where software cannot meet all of a board’s needs, it’s necessary to take a band-aid approach to using digital tools. As the downsides of a particular software become evident, a board may seek out additional tech solutions to fill the gaps. The piecemeal approach to digital transformation also means that board members have to learn how to use each tool and they may never become efficient in using all of them. The time spent logging into and out of various applications may consume the time the board saved in using the application.

Team collaboration software generally lacks the features that make a board’s work more efficient such as:

  • Online agendas
  • Electronic surveys and polls
  • Electronic minute-taking
  • Online board books
  • E-signatures
  • Electronic voting
  • Individual electronic markups
  • Private annotations and sharing annotations

Overall, while team collaboration software applications are useful for some purposes, they lack a seamless, efficient process for locating, securing, and reviewing the board documents board members need promptly.

Beyond not providing the necessary board features, team collaboration software programs carry various risks.

Many team collaboration software programs use public servers, which are not fully encrypted, opening up the chance of external cyberattacks and data breaches.

In addition, the lack of a granular permissions feature increases the potential for internal risks. You need to make sure that board members have the correct access to the documents they need. If a trustee leaves the board, then you want to be able to switch off their access quickly and easily.

Using team collaboration software also opens boards to the following risks:

  • Phishing
  • Ransomware
  • Malware
  • Denial-of-service attacks
  • Unauthorized access to board materials
  • Social engineering (where a criminal poses as a board member)
  • Integration risks as apps often integrate with other apps that may be insecure

Look instead at a board management software solution that has all the features, benefits and security measures responsible boards need.

The Benefits of Using Board Management Software

Considering the drawbacks of using team collaboration software, you may be eager to learn what sets board management software apart from it.

Here are some of the ways that a board management system can help your nonprofit create efficiency, be more productive, and bolster security:

  • Improved efficiency: Board management software allows you to prepare agendas and board packets, then modify them as necessary without hours of labor.
  • Effective group collaboration: A board’s work often requires multiple people to create board materials, and team collaboration software platforms don’t offer workflow options that fit board processes. That could result in multiple versions of documents and other inefficiencies.
  • Secure communication: Emails and team collaboration software programs are not as secure as the general public believes. A board management solution allows you to collaborate on documents, annotate them and share notes.
  • Data protection: Boards can be sure sensitive information doesn’t leak out.
  • Permission-based access: Boards can allow and deny access to various parts of the platform to allow access to information only to people who need to have it.
  • Accessibility: Board members can access documents online or offline using any device.
  • Surveys and polls: Surveys allow for board self-evaluations and polls save time during board meetings.

With the advantages of using a board management solution in mind, we’re providing some helpful tips for choosing the right board management software partner.

5 Tips for Choosing the Right Board Management Software Partner

The right board management solution is essential for effective governance and decision-making. We’ve put together the following five tips for choosing a board management software partner that will take your board to the next level:

  1. Select a board management solution that’s user-friendly, so your board members can get up to speed quickly.
  2. Evaluate board-specific features such as granular permissions, calendar sharing, secure file-sharing, unlimited storage, survey tools, online board books, agenda and minutes creation, and e-signature capability.
  3. Look for a board management solution that has NIST security protocols built into the platform and meets security compliance regulations.
  4. Assess the availability of training and support.
  5. Educate your board on the vendor’s reputation including their reliability and commitment to keeping the system updated.

The BoardEffect board management system was developed to meet the needs of mission-driven organizations and allow them to work more efficiently as they strive to fulfill their missions. The software was designed with the features your board needs and makes them accessible on one, highly secure platform.

BoardEffect: A Comprehensive Board Management Solution

Team collaboration software has its uses, yet it lacks some of the important tools and features nonprofit boards need and use every day. Nonprofit boards have never been under more scrutiny, and stakeholders expect nonprofit boards to do their best work. The right board management solution is a huge asset to hard-working board members who have their sights on driving positive change.

BoardEffect offers the most secure way to work on sensitive issues so your board can have the confidence in knowing board information is encrypted and stored securely. Contact BoardEffect to request a demo and learn how the right solution can transform your mission-driven organization today!

Jill Holtz

Jill is a Content Strategy Manager at Diligent. Her strategy background and content expertise working across a variety of sectors, including education, non-profit and with local government partners, allows her to provide unique insights for organizations looking to achieve modern governance.

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