In March of 2020, many boards were faced with no choice but to continue to govern in a remote fashion. Federal and state gathering restrictions made the shift mandatory, but nearly two years later, many boards are opting to meet virtually. In this episode, Katie talks to Krista Martin, the VP of Growth at Boardable about their recent research into how boards are operating (and thriving) in remote environments.
Three years ago, many nonprofit pros didn’t even know what a “Zoom call” was. Today, it’s as necessary a utility as the internet itself. In this episode, Krista highlights a study by the Harvard Business Review’s Tricor Group on the great pivot. The Harvard study found that only 5% of boards met remotely pre-pandemic vs. 95% meeting remotely at the height of the pandemic. Talk about a radical shift. Once boards realized the benefits of meeting remotely, many decided to make it a consistent element or option for their governance style.
The shift to meet via video conferencing has multiple benefits as well as growth opportunities. Remote governance not only allowed boards to expand their footprint in terms of member geography but also reduced travel and meeting time for members. Best of all? Members can be anywhere, i.e., office, home, car, or wherever is most convenient.
Remote governance requires nonprofit leaders to be more prepared. Longer lead times for meetings and earlier agenda publication are just a couple of the changes that have resulted from the pivot to remote meetings. In 2019, boards averaged roughly 50 days of lead time for their meetings. However, in 2021, we’ve seen that number spike to 85. Obviously, the agenda can’t be produced months in advance with any sort of relevancy, but the trend is moving out. Today, the lead time is increasing from publication only five days in advance in 2019 to an average of 12 in 2021. (FYI…seven is best practice).
Tune in to the episode to learn more about changes with remote board governance!
Katie and Krista talk a lot about the personal impact felt by board members in the transition to a virtual governance style. While some may raise a hallelujah at the idea of not having to commute to another meeting, others may feel a disconnect or be intimidated by the technological elements. Make sure you talk to each member to understand what their experience and expectations are, and prioritize board engagement. Simple adjustments like doing a round-robin ice breaker question or calling on each director for comment can make a big difference in terms of engagement comfort.
Lastly, this has all happened fast! Make sure your bylaws permit remote voting and meetings!
Krista Martin is the Vice President of Growth at Boardable wherein she uses her extensive product and marketing experience in the SaaS-based industry to drive product-led growth. Krista has been building nonprofit technology for the last 5 years and loves helping users fulfill their missions. She spends her free time reading, finding ways to engage in her community, and hanging out with her two kids.
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