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Five Reasons Your Board Should Switch to Google Drive

It demonstrates greater transparency and collaboration

Most nonprofit board members volunteer because they want to support a worthy cause. While a board’s priority is always governance, its members may also be the organization’s best spokespeople, fundraisers, volunteers and technical experts. Each of these roles has one thing in common – documents. By keeping all the board materials on a Google Drive (or another cloud storage service), these documents – whether they are bylaws, budgets, minutes, agendas – will make it easier for board members to keep track of documents and not risk losing them when a board member’s computer crashes, or someone unexpectedly resigns. More importantly, moving to the cloud is a great way to demonstrate transparency, strengthen institutional memory, conserve resources, collaborate and display tech-savvy.

1) Demonstrate Transparency
Transparency is an essential quality for a nonprofit. Transparency about programmatic approach, results, governance and finances are just a few ways a nonprofit can be open about its work, and this openness must start with the board. Every board member should have easy access to committee reports, strategic plans, fundraising goals and any other document that will help them make the best possible decisions about the nonprofit. Setting up Google Drive is a simple way to share all this information. Also, some folders, such as those containing the 990s, bylaws and approved minutes, can be linked to the nonprofit’s website to make the organization more transparent to the public.

2) Strengthen Institutional Memory
Turnover is inevitable, but for smaller nonprofits, especially those with a working board, sometimes turnover can be paralyzing if someone, especially the chair, leaves unexpectedly. For example, one new chair of a working board was handed a box “with everything she needed to know” to take over the leadership. She spent the first year of her chairmanship getting everything into an electronic version. Then her computer crashed, and it was all lost. A tech genius recovered most of it, but it took this extreme situation for the board to decide to adopt the cloud. Even in the absence of tech failure, setting up a shared drive will allow new members to read through previous minutes to get context on issues of interest. Orientation materials can go “virtual” so that even more experienced members have the information to refer to when needed. The importance of keeping institutional memory institutional, rather than in one or two individuals’ heads, cannot be overstated and Google Drive is a great way to make this happen.

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