With many nonprofits looking for digital solutions to handle their board meetings and manage board members and staff who are all practicing physical distancing, many are turning to Board Management Software.

In this episode of The Strategic Nonprofit Trista has a chat with Meghan Day, Senior Director of Board Management Experience from Diligent to talk about the benefits of using Board Management Software.

In this episode, we discuss:

  • What nonprofits should look for in Board Management Software
  • Using software to record minutes during a meeting
  • How to streamline Action Minutes
  • How a centralized system benefits board members
  • Using Board Management Software for voting and digital signatures

Learn More about Diligent

Diligent is the market-leading Board Management Software. Check out their resource hub for valuable resources around governance.

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Transcript

Hi everyone! McIver here, program advisor with AMC NPO Solutions. Today on the podcast, we will be talking about board management software. We find that not-for-profits spend a lot of time planning and organizing their meetings. Besides organizing meetings, they also need somewhere to keep commonly used files that can be accessed by everyone. I’m sure that many of you if not all wanted a bit more help with organizing your board. I have invited Megan Day, the senior director of board management experience at diligent, on the podcast today.

Megan will give us an insight into why more nonprofits are turning to board management software and the benefits of using it. Welcome, Megan can you tell us a bit more about your role at Diligent? And what you responsible for?

Absolutely. Thanks for having me on the show today, Trista. My role at Diligent, I guess, I’ll back up a little bit if you’re not familiar with Diligent. We are the world’s leading provider of governance management and board management technology. In fact, we work with over 650,000 board members and governance professionals of organizations from all shapes and sizes around the globe and my role, in particular. is to work with ORD members to equip them with the right tools to be effective in their day to day job as it relates to the board and really that back to marketing and product and sales inside Diligent. We can help create better tools for our end users.

Perfect so why do many nonprofits look for a board management software?

Yeah. It’s so interesting for us we fundamentally believe that good governance matters, no matter what type of organization it is. Whether it’s a non-profit startup fortune 50 company and I think at the core of that, is we believe you have to have the right information at the right time to make the right decisions and technology can play a huge role in that. And we really got started because we helped digitize all the important aspects of board governance and that’s from the distribution of materials to voting to minute taking and nonprofits have been able to make their board processes more sophisticated and robust and have their board members, be able to add more value to the work that they’re doing through technology like this. Using a tool such as Diligent or in the board management space, generally speaking, helps eliminate outdated painstaking paper processes. For sort of first and foremost if you think about, you know, back to even ten years ago and there’s probably still plenty of nonprofits out there today, printing off the paper and distributing it at their board meetings. And things like that there are tons of benefits that can be gained both for the Board and the team that helps support the Board particularly around improving processes. You know it helps manage last-minute changes so much more easily, helps improve for communication in terms of access to information and being able to do that anytime, anywhere from any device and be able to collaborate with your peers. And then if security is concerned as well you know a lot of organizations are still sending emails to Gmail accounts and Yahoo and things like that and you know what that is totally fine for everyday conversation and keeping folks up-to-date on logistics. But if you’re sharing sensitive information or personal information, financial information, you probably want to think about how that’s being distributed.

Exactly. Now that you mentioned regarding it, a little bit back there in your conversation about minutes and I guess also with making the meetings a little bit easier. Can you explain how that might be?

Absolutely. I think a great board management software helps take though every that’s from start to finish from a board meeting and tries to make it more efficient through technology and minute taking is a great example. Historically, you may have pulled out a piece of paper and taken notes on the fly or maybe you pull up a Word Document but if you’re able to use a board management system that has minute taking capabilities. You can sort of do that in a one-stop-shop so you can do that based on agendas that you’ve already created for the meeting so take taking minutes directly inside the application and then from there, you’re able to do things like assign action items and push those out to members of the board or folks on different committees and then follow up and have a built-in workflow right there and then if you need to distribute the minutes or get approval from other members of the board. Maybe before publishing them in a second-minute out, you can sort of do that again in sort of a nice closed-loop system. It gives a nice centralized container for everybody involved in the process.

Well that sounds good because I’ve heard just chatting with not-for-profits that challenges that they find is the actions (minutes) put forth but nobody’s nobody’s taking action on the action.

Exactly. Let’s say it’s a chronic meeting problem for sure oh and lots of great ideas but how do you keep everybody on task and focused and following up with what they said they were going to do yeah exactly um so what are their tools to support management software do to help with governance yeah absolutely I think one of the most common things is around voting and written consents so it’s great a great way if you need to take votes, sort of, on the fly or when folks are not in person. And you can do that completely electronically and manage that process from start to finish but also to if you need to capture signatures from Board members as well the way you would think about something like a DocuSign or a virtual signature capture that you might be familiar with being able to push out that document or material that needs a signature directly through the software and have someone sign from wherever they are on their phone on their iPad and send it right back to you so you don’t have to worry about fax machines and things like that. That is still very finely.

We still have a fax it not a rotary phone anymore so are there any other problems that you think like that I haven’t addressed at all that the software can solves?

Well, I think it really comes down to the improved of sort of efficiencies that you would be able to find in other parts of the board meeting process because you’re using this technology and you’re not focused on some of these little one-off things that you can actually spend time being strategic in meetings, clearing up additional time and resources to focus on other things like serving your members, serving your community more effectively rather than you know wasting an entire day trying to track down people and capturing signatures.

For example, right now I just remembered something that an Executive Director had mentioned, he said, it’s very frustrating when the minutes have gone in an email to the Directors and we’re at the board meeting and they’re not reading, they haven’t read them. Yet is there something like I mean software but you know where like they can read it and then tick that they’ve read it so there’s something like that.

Not on our particular software. It’s interesting you say that though and there are other things particularly around like message sharing that would be able to do something like this that’s definitely, you know, it’s a chronic problem and sometimes that’s a problem with necessarily assault by technology in the sense that it does involve a little bit of leadership and perhaps tough conversations to reading but sometimes it’s easier to sort of being a little more passive-aggressive and with the help of technology sort of nudge things along.

I suggested to one Executive Director, I said to have a price system, like we respond, I mean, whatever everybody whoever read the minutes gets a prize. I don’t know.

Well, that’s the good thing about a centralized solution is that it’s all right. There no matter where you are, you can pull it up on your phone from wherever you are and it used to be that you had to log into a secure website or pull out your your iPad and at this point pretty much everyone is on their phones pretty regularly and if you’re not, I think you might be lying. To be able to do things like that especially minutes, more summary documents things like that’s definitely it’s so much easier to do on your phone.

Yeah, absolutely. Yeah. Could you tell me why not for profits would choose Diligent?

We have been in the space for pretty much the longest period of time than any other software provider that even touches the governance space so we started actually in 2001 and have been purpose-built to support the work of Boards and it’s the only thing that we do is we have over a thousand employees around the world and as I mentioned before, we work with organizations of all shapes and sizes. We have, I don’t want to say at this point, thousands of customers in Canada but we might be approaching that for sure we have about 15,000 customers around the world but we have a pretty healthy presence in North America generally speaking and because of the longevity the company and the good fortune that we’ve had in terms of our growth. We’re constantly putting money back into the development of the product and putting out new features and functionality that are really specifically designed to help Boards and teams that support Boards be more effective. That’s our number one priority.

Perfect. Where could our viewers learn more?

Yeah, you can check out diligent.com for all sorts of information and if you’re interested. We too have tons of thought leadership and content specifically for nonprofits where you can go to insights.diligent.com and there’s lots of great articles and resources there.

Great! Thank you so much and the information will be in our notes as well and thank you Megan for joining us today.

Yeah, my pleasure.

Some great learning experiences here.

About Tom (TJ) Abbott

Tom (TJ) Abbott, CSP is the Managing Director of AMC NPO Solutions and an authority on Governance. He has over 25 years experience as CEO, President and board director of several not-for-profit organizations. Tom has also spoken in over 20 countries.