Our research found that 90% of board members were engaged or very engaged when archived meeting minutes, organizational data and other resources are accessible to board members, logically organized and easy to use. This number dropped to 68% when they are not. Clearly, solving the problem of board management is an important one.
For answers, we turned to board members and leaders. Here are proven strategies that have helped nonprofits manage their boards more efficiently. (For more tips and tricks on board recruitment, management and engagement, download our free guide.)
Create Communication Processes
Consistent communication is key to an active and well-informed board. Establish processes so board members know when to expect information and what to do with it. Suggestions that were offered:
- Develop a process to deliver data and important information to board members regularly. Focus on a simple, consistent format that gives them the resources they need in a straightforward way.
- Be respectful of board members’ time and busy schedules. Create an agenda for board meetings, and keep discussion focused on mission-critical decisions.
Be Transparent With Information
Information transparency gives board members the resources they need to make well-informed decisions, makes it easier for them to stay engaged with the organization, and helps them feel like part of a team.
- Send materials in advance of board meetings. Give board members the information they’ll need with ample time to review and ask questions beforehand. This way, the board can come ready to discuss the action items, making meetings shorter and more efficient.
- Make important information accessible. Critical documents, data and resources should be universally accessible. Centralize them in a frequently updated and easy-to-access location.
Leverage technology to streamline board communications and increase efficiency. Board portals centralize all board information—board packets, communications, meetings, files and more. This makes it easier for board members to find what they need and stay connected to the organization, reducing administrative time in the process. Tips that board leaders offered:
- Be consistent in managing documents and meetings. House all materials within the board portal, and handle communications and files the same way every time. This way, users know what to expect and where to find what they need.
- Be patient. The initial setup of the board portal can be tiresome. But once this is complete, it becomes much easier to maintain. Board management is centralized, and administrative time is reduced through automation.
About the Author
Adam Roth is the president and CEO of StreamLink Software. The company’s board management portal, BoardMax, helps organizations engage and communicate with board members. Its flagship grant management solution, AmpliFund, automates hundreds of complex activities throughout the grant lifecycle, thus freeing up valuable resources to pursue additional funding.