The Importance of Nonprofit Board Management Software

Nicholas J Price
5 min read

A host of things differentiate nonprofits from for-profit corporations. One of the things that unite them is having the need for digital tools to help board members fulfill their board duties. Nonprofit and for-profit corporations are taking advantage of board portals and other software products more often to improve efficiency, transparency and accountability. Board portals help them save money while improving communication and governance; and protecting themselves from undue risk. In recent years, cybersecurity issues have affected every type of organization, including nonprofits. Nonprofit boards must be more aware of risks than ever because lawmakers and regulators are holding boards accountable for data breaches and other security risks. As board portal costs have been coming down, many nonprofits are finding that the benefits are worth the cost.

Board Portals Improve Communication

In general, nonprofit board members prioritize fundraising and volunteering as their primary responsibilities. This is one of many reasons that it’s important for nonprofit board members to work as efficiently as possible.

Board portals vastly cut down on the time and expense of creating agendas and preparing meeting materials. Nonprofit boards may meet less often than for-profit boards and board portals create an easy method for them to share links, articles and reports quickly, easily and remotely. Nonprofit board members can use board portals to get information in real time, which allows them time to prepare better for meetings and to ask questions for clarification between meetings. Also, between-meeting discussions will help boards prioritize the most important issues for their agendas. In addition, board portals improve communication because they make it easier for boards to approve meeting minutes using electronic signatures. Nonprofit board members may face a crisis at any time. If something of a serious nature should happen, board members can use the board portal to communicate quickly and securely to make plans for how to address the crisis at the earliest opportunity.

If board members need to discuss a crisis or other important matter and the board isn’t able to gather for an emergency meeting, board members who use Diligent Boards will still be able to log in to their board portal on any electronic device anywhere in the world.

Board portal communications offer a high level of security that board members can’t match using their personal or business emails. Strong security keeps board communications confidential and safe from hackers.

Nonprofit Board Management Software Improve Governance

The financial crisis placed a heavier emphasis on corporations following good governance principles than in past years. The evolution of good governance applies to nonprofit organizations as well as for-profit corporations.

Good governance is essential for nonprofit boards to achieve their goals and objectives and ultimately for the overall success of the organization. Digital tools not only create efficiency, transparency and accountability, they reduce many of the problems associated with human error and those that lead to fraud and corruption.

One of the ills that have long plagued organizations of every kind is being able to access financial reports, executive summaries, bylaws, policies and other documents when they need them. Board portals provide a secure electronic platform where board members can access any document they need at any time of day or night anywhere they happen to be.

Since it’s common for nonprofit board members to be working during off-hours, security is a major issue, especially when logging into board portals while using cell phones or tablets, which can easily be lost, misplaced or stolen. Diligent Boards offers a valuable feature called remote wiping, whereby, upon reporting a mobile device lost or stolen, all data can be erased so that it doesn’t fall into the wrong hands.

Board Portals Solve Security Problems

Nonprofit board members are responsible for overseeing security, which falls under their duties of risk management. While for-profit companies may have adequate budgets for hiring IT specialists, many nonprofit boards find them out of reach. As an alternative, some nonprofit boards are opting to recruit IT experts for their boards. Board portals are a big asset for nonprofit boards that take succession planning seriously.

Cybercrime is on the rise as cybercriminals become more sophisticated. As financial institutions have bolstered their security measures, criminals have set their sights on organizations that are easier to tap into, such as nonprofits.

Nonprofit boards don’t always have the necessary cybersecurity expertise on their boards, staff or audit committees. That doesn’t relieve nonprofit board members from the responsibility for overseeing security measures. Nonprofit boards should expect updates on cybersecurity measures from their senior managers at least quarterly.

Board portals have built-in security at no additional cost for nonprofit boards. Board portals help boards respond swiftly to issues that need their immediate attention, and the portal stores the documents that proves that boards are performing due diligence in managing their duties.

Electronic Board Portals and Tablets Becoming Staples in the Boardroom

survey by KPMG’s Audit Committee Institute demonstrated that nonprofit boards are increasingly implementing board portals to help them fulfill their duties. The report stated that about 50% of boards are already using board portals. About 20% more boards responded that they wanted to begin using board portals within the coming year. Around 18% of board members use tablets in the boardroom now, and another 20% of board directors said that they plan to utilize electronic tablets within a year.

Board portals embrace efficiency, which gives nonprofit board members the opportunity to spend less time in the boardroom and more time working with other volunteers to help the nonprofit make progress. Most nonprofits find that a board portal pays for itself within four to six months.

In summary, nonprofit boards have most of the same responsibilities and expectations as for-profit boards. Lawmakers and regulators expect nonprofit boards to fulfill their duties without many of the same advantages that their for-profit counterparts have. Board portals address the most important issues that nonprofit board members face in upholding the principles of good corporate governance. Board portals help nonprofit boards ensure transparency, accountability, efficiency, cost-effectiveness and security.