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Modernizing a Reluctant Board: Implementing Software

It isn’t easy being the person on the board of directors who wants to introduce new ways of doing things. Often, nonprofit boards have a culture of tradition and conventional ways of doing things. That is a great culture for maintaining philanthropy, but it definitely doesn’t encourage innovation and modernizing a nonprofit board. Read on for some tips for getting your board to adopt new ideas.

tips to modernize a reluctant nonprofit board of directors

Common Nonprofit Board Modernization Areas

Some of the areas you might encourage your board to modernize:

  • Marketing automation: Social media and email marketing are a real headache for a nonprofit with a small (or no) staff. Using tools like Mailchimp for email campaigns or Buffer App to pre-populate social media posts makes a big difference.
  • Donor database: Most nonprofits have some way of tracking donation records, but this is a constantly improving and evolving data management area. If your nonprofit has a jumble of spreadsheets or documents to track donors, it’s time to consider one of the game-changing CSM products out there. Check out software review sites like Capterra or SoftwareAdvice to compare options
  • Internal communication: This area of a nonprofit is often left in the last millennium, but makes a huge impact on the efficiency of the organization. Think how much more you’d get done with your board if you had every document, discussion, agenda, meeting minutes, and messages were easily accessible in one place. Test out a free trial of board engagement and management software like Boardable to see if it helps.

Tips for Board Modernization Success

Be patient.

Most boards require a certain amount of research and reporting before making even small changes to protocol. Be prepared to introduce your board modernization idea in more than one committee meeting, and at least as many board meetings before it will be implemented.

Additionally, once you start to implement your modernization tools, expect lots of training and support until everyone is acclimated. Remember, your fellow board members are volunteers with full lives, so learning a new software or procedure will probably take longer than normal.

RELATED: How to Use the Boardable Task Manager Feature

Show value up front.

You are going to need a lot of buy-in from the decision makers at your organization to implement a change. Not only do you need their commitment to even try it, but the long-term success of your idea relies on everyone believing it will be worth the investment of energy and time. Be prepared to show concrete ways that your idea will make work lighter, increase the mission impact, or save money.

RELATED: 3 Keys to Building Board Member Rapport

Plan for training needs.

Nothing tanks a new idea faster than inadequate training. Be sure you don’t go to the trouble of researching nonprofit board modernization tools, sell your team on them, then leave everyone floundering with something they don’t know how to implement. You’ll need to plan for the initial switchover to your idea. Also, don’t neglect the ongoing support some board members need. Whether it is a help desk from your tech provider or FAQ articles, make sure everyone has adequate resources.

RELATED: Phoning It In: Remote Board Member Attendees

Nonprofit Board Modernization Is Ongoing

The work of improving and evolving is never done. However, with a change agent like you on the board of directors, your nonprofit can always stay with the times. Follow these tips every time you think it is time for an improvement.


Want to know how your nonprofit board of directors and staff can be more 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.

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