At one time or another, most of us have grabbed a flathead screwdriver when we knew that what we really needed was a crosshead screwdriver, simply because the flathead screwdriver was handy and within easy reach. It usually doesn’t take too long to figure out that the wrong tool just won’t work well. Just as in carpentry, board directors also need the right tools for the job.
For ages, boards have used pens, paper, files, briefcases, file cabinets and other office supplies as staples of the boardroom. The advancement of technology has brought many digital tools that have created such efficiency that the old tools are becoming relics of the past.
Nonprofits compete in a fast-paced arena with numerous other competitors. Competition for grants and donations is fierce. Technology may be just the thing that moves a nonprofit higher up on a donor’s list of potential donees. Supporters are looking for some assurance that their donation dollars are doing the most good possible.
Technology replaces inefficient tools with innovative tools that make managing board meetings more efficient. Digital board management software can also create efficiency in leadership development and support good governance while ensuring the strongest security possible. Ultimately, technology helps nonprofit boards advance their mission, which is what nonprofits are all about.
Board Management Software Brings Many Processes Under One Platform
Regardless of what task you want to do or what electronic device is handy, chances are good that you’ll find an electronic app that’s right for the job. Whether you want to text or email a message, video chat or store thousands of documents, not only will you find one app, chances are pretty good that you’ll find somewhere between a few to dozens of them.
For board work, all apps aren’t created equal. The processes and activities that boards need require a high level of security. The work that nonprofit boards do can be sensitive or confidential. Unlike digital applications for most other organizations, BoardEffect designed one platform that incorporates all of the processes that nonprofit boards need in one highly secure board portal.
The design of BoardEffect’s platform takes into account the various cycles that are vital to nonprofit board calendars. The processes under the meeting cycle, the annual cycle and the development cycle ensure that board directors will fulfill their fiduciary duties and that boards will abide by all the necessary rules to help them meet their compliance obligations.
Every meeting has a cycle. Beginning with preparing for the meeting with an agenda and an electronic board book, BoardEffect streamlines the processes that follow, including holding the meeting, taking the meeting minutes, following up, completing tasks using automated messages, and getting rounds of approvals using electronic signatures and secure communications software.
If you check out an annual calendar for a nonprofit board of directors, you’ll see many of the same activities occurring around the same time of year. On an annual basis, boards should be reviewing their board policies, submitting their compliance forms, setting up the annual budget and planning the annual audit. In addition, they should be working on board director recruitment and appointments, short- and long-term strategic planning, and board self-evaluations.
Once board directors get appointed, it begins a cycle of board development. Nonprofit board directors should have the benefit of an orientation, onboarding, mentoring and director education. In addition, succession planning should be an ongoing activity to ensure that nonprofit boards will continue to fill their board seats with the necessary skills and abilities that will lead their nonprofit to success.
Nonprofits Need Board Management Software With Strong Security Features
BoardEffect’s board management system allows board administers to use granular permissions to limit who can access various parts of the board portal. Granular permissions limit board directors, officers and managers to only the applications they need, which takes the confusion out of performing the board’s work.
Many corporations and nonprofits have been victims of data breaches. Cybersecurity measures are important for all boards whether they use a board portal or not. Unfortunately, most small nonprofits don’t have the funds to employ an IT specialist or an IT department. This is risky in today’s world because nonprofit boards have the same responsibilities and liabilities as for-profit boards.
BoardEffect incorporates strong security features, such as end-to-end encryption, into its platform. With such strong security in place, boards can communicate, collaborate and share documents freely because board directors can manage every process under the secure umbrella of the portal.
Unlimited Cloud-Based Document Storage
Nonprofit boards produce and handle many documents every year. Boards must store their founding documents, such as the Articles of Incorporation and the bylaws, as well as board policies, resolutions, agendas, meeting minutes and various document templates.
Boards must also keep many documents for legal or recordkeeping purposes, such as committee reports, donation records, financial reports, audit reports, committee charters, volunteer contacts and membership fees. The large number of documents would take up much room in file cabinets and office space.
BoardEffect offers unlimited cloud-based document storage, and there’s no worry about papers being damaged by the elements or by animals.
Board Composition and Board Development
Board self-evaluations are a valuable tool for understanding the gaps in skills and talents that boards need to maintain a high-quality, diverse board. The digital survey tool allows boards to set up a variety of question-and-answer formats and to use the same questions in consecutive years.
Boards can also store resumes for board director candidates, resolutions for director appointments and signed statements of board director responsibilities and expectations. The board portal is also the perfect place for storing information for board orientations, onboarding and board director educational activities.
In essence, board management software creates greater transparency and accountability. The portal gives board directors access to the portal around the clock, which increases board director engagement. The security of the platform means that board directors can communicate securely with each other and share documents securely online.
A board portal provides greater consistency across board cycles and greater allover efficiency. Nonprofit boards need a board portal because it’s the right tool for the job to meet the needs of today’s nonprofit organizations.