When you’ve been with an organization as long as Rebecca Keith has, you definitely have the chance to learn a few things along the way. After joining the IU Alumni Association 22 years ago in a support role to the CEO, Rebecca spent the next two decades learning, growing, and engaging with board members, advisors, and the alumni of the school they serve. As the current Executive Director of Governance, Rebecca manages the Alumni Association Board, called the Board of Managers, as well as the larger advisory group (called the Executive Council) and the various past chairs of the organization.
The IU Alumni Association is a nonprofit organization dedicated to activating and supporting the global alumni network of Indiana University. With 8 Indiana University campuses throughout the state of Indiana and a high number of out-of-state and international students, the IU Alumni Association supports a diverse group of alumni throughout the world. As such, the board itself is designed to reflect the diversity of the IU alumni body.
There are currently 14 board members of the IU Alumni Association, including the CEO of the organization, all of whom are voting members. There are 36 elected Executive Council members and 28 living past chairs of the organization, with 48% of all board and council members living outside the state of Indiana. All in all, this is a large group of professionals with which Rebecca and her team must develop engaging, lasting relationships.
While the board meetings have all been virtual throughout 2020, the organization typically meets multiple times a year in Indiana. The Executive Council meets twice a year in Indianapolis and Bloomington, IN, and are joined by the Board of Managers. The board itself then meets three additional times throughout the year.
While Rebecca is responsible for managing a large board serving one of the largest alumni networks in the country, her decades of experience in her role meant things were operating pretty smoothly on the inside of the Alumni Association. In addition, board members themselves didn’t seem to mind the emails – dubbed “Rebecca-grams” – so she had no reason to go looking for a platform to fix anything.
After the CEO of the Alumni Association attended a nonprofit leadership conference and saw a presentation from a board management solution, Rebecca started thinking about potentially implementing this kind of solution for her board simply for streamlined organization and efficiency. In 2018, the CEO of Boardable reached out to Rebecca and her team directly about working together, and the team decided to move forward with the solution for the IU Alumni Association Board and Executive Council.
Even with all of the board details and information stored safely in her head and on her desktop, Rebecca quickly learned that having a platform like Boardable was extremely helpful for herself, her team, and her board members.
The IU Alumni Association decided to work with Boardable because it was founded by an IU grad, based in Indiana, was the economical choice compared to competitors, and had all of the product capabilities the organization was looking for.
“The three months I spent onboarding myself and the team on Boardable were a game changer,” Rebecca said. “I’m in love.”
With Rebecca and the IU Alumni Association board members now all on Boardable, things are running smoother than ever before. Having a place to put all the files and information that were previously stored in her head is a best practice for business continuity and scalability.
Prior to using Boardable, Rebecca was spending 10-15% of her time building out a board meeting agenda, gathering documentation, and making edits. Today, Rebecca doesn’t have to manually gather documents and build a complex board packet – it’s all automated in Boardable. She can link to this content in the agenda and attach specific documents to specific agenda items. If the physical formatting or branding is off, she can customize this in Boardable instead of making one-off changes and having to re-print.
For the board members themselves, the app makes it easier for them to participate in the board and in discussions in a way that makes the most sense for them. They can access meeting documents and content from their phone or from the Boardable site. While board members still receive Rebecca-gram reminders, the majority of the notes and communications are sent through Boardable.
One of the best parts of working with Boardable was the implementation of the platform to the board. The team provided hands-on support during the onboarding process, and Rebecca herself filmed short training videos for volunteers and other auxiliary users. Rebecca also has a great rapport with the Boardable team and sends feedback and feature requests over on a regular basis.
“Even just last year I was still on the fence about the difference between Boardable and an organized PDF system,” Rebecca said. “But honestly the team loves it. Board members appreciate the smoothness of how it works. I can now focus on relationship building and succession planning and leave the meeting minutia to Boardable.”
Want to know how your nonprofit board of directors and staff can be more productive and efficient through the use of technology? With Boardable’s board software, you can centralize board information and communications, where everything (and everyone) is just a couple of clicks away.
Click below to get started with Boardable.