The Royal Institute of the Architects of Ireland (or RIAI) has an inspiring mission. Founded in 1839 in Dublin, Ireland, their goal is to support and regulate the architectural profession and promote the value that architecture brings to society for everyone’s benefit. They achieve this with a robust mix of boards, committees, and subcommittees. RIAI recently found that they needed a way to centralize their communications and document sharing.
In 2017, IT manager Elaine McCarthy started a trial of Boardable and decided to test it out on their main board and council. Both groups meet six times per year. With a total of 41 users in these groups, she quickly found that using Boardable for board engagement and communication made managing operations simpler. “It saves time and is a secure place to manage communication. It has given us one place to manage everything,” she says. Boards just like Elaine’s all over the world are using Boardable to help their boards be more effective and to improve the overall board member experience.
After a few months of using Boardable for the main board and council, RIAI decided to try it with more of their committees and subcommittees. Boardable has the ability to divide users in infinite combinations of “Groups,” allowing account admins to tailor which groups have access to which documents. For example, an executive board member could hypothetically see all the organization’s documents, and also be in a group for an event planning committee with fellow users who only see documents relevant to the planning committee. This level of control helps organizations like RIAI, with Elaine calling the segregated access (by group) a favorite feature.
It was usability like Groups and the Document Center that prompted RIAI to expand their Boardable use beyond the main board and council.
“We started using Boardable with Board and Council. The success of this “trial” prompted us to roll it out to the six main Committees, and this quickly escalated into the Subcommittees. As people started to use it and to learn its potential, they wanted to use it in other areas.”
Interestingly, different groups within an organization often find specific ways to use Boardable. While an executive board may use the poll feature to conduct formal voting, a casual peer group might spend more time using the discussion abilities. When asked how the RIAI team prefers to use the portal, Elaine explains,
“Each group uses it differently. For Board and Council, it is mainly used to notify members of meetings and to provide access in advance of those meetings to papers. For some of the other Committees, it is used for discussion and polls.”
All nonprofits are cost-conscious, and RIAI is no exception. They operate a number of regulatory, educational, and outreach efforts, so budget is an important consideration. “It’s cost effective compared to other systems and has a relevant targeted set of functionality,” Elaine says. Her board justified the investment of expanding to a higher user number tier because of the increased productivity Boardable provides.
Additionally, ease of use is critical to get everyone using a new software tool. The targeted set of functionality that Elaine mentions makes it simple enough for anyone to learn to use. Other portals have more complicated sets of functions… which often end up alienating users. A simple interface and forthcoming mobile app make adaptation of Boardable a snap. Elaine mentions, “The interface is intuitive with directional language and repeated interface elements assisting usability.”
Boardable is now used in 22 countries and is proud to help organizations like RIAI with their important work. With a mission to improve the board member experience for nonprofits, you can expect more features and content that will address the challenges NGOs face every day.
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.