The Definitive Guide to Buying Board Management Software
Looking for board management software for your organization is the right step. Technology is driving change in every industry; condos, HOAs, community associations, non-profits and charities are no exception. Cloud-based software is an essential tool for today’s modern organizations.
Knowing how to use a smartphone, email, Excel and Word (and perhaps Dropbox and Google Drive) is no longer enough. Cloud-based software has arrived in droves for the board management industry. Software can practically run an organization, but only if the right software is chosen.
Choosing the best software for your board is challenging, but we’ve written this guide to help you and your board of directors decide. The product you choose will play a critical role in helping you manage your board of directors.
After all, boards have more important work to do; that of providing leadership to the board and it’s members. Enough already. Let’s move on to finding the right solution for your board.
Buying software is not the same
In the “old” days, we bought a software license and then downloaded it from a CD or the internet. Now, software is purchased on a subscription basis and “rented” rather than purchased.
There is nothing to download anymore as you buy a subscription on a monthly or annual basis and login via a web page. The industry refers to this type of product as SaaS –software as a service – a baffling term to anyone but industry insiders.
Do-it-yourself solutions don’t work
Many boards still have their records stored in filing cabinets, bankers’ boxes, here and there at directors’ homes and board offices. Some save their documents on thumb drives, in email inboxes, Google docs, Dropbox or on WordPress websites.
How much are you thinking about spending on board management software?
Prices vary a lot. Expect to pay anywhere between $75 – $500 per month. Annual subscriptions usually save 10% or 1 or 2 months free. It is best to decide on a budget and then stick to it.
What problems are you looking to fix with software?
Modern software like BoardSpace comes packed with features and helpful tools. No software product does everything, so it is best to figure out what is really needed. With so many vendors on the market, don’t get sidetracked by looking for features that you won’t use.
Make a list of the challenges that you think software can solve. As these questions get answered, write them down to keep them organized. Brainstorming can help bring in a variety of ideas from lots of people. Ask everyone who will use the software. More input will result in a better list. The goal is to identify as many problems as possible.
Software for your board should solve all of the following problems, and offer all of the following benefits:
|What do I want?||Feature||Benefit|
|I need to organize my documents||Document Management||Aways find what is needed. Secure, safe, organized.|
|I want to create agendas easily.||Agenda Builder||Save time by reusing templates. Not need to start from scratch.|
|I never get my minutes finished and then a month has passed and everyone has forgotten what was said.||SMART Minutes||Create minutes using dynamic and SMART features. Have drafts ready immediately.|
|I forgot to cancel a contact. It cost us a whole year of paying for something we didn’t want.||Planner||Never forget an important event.|
|We dash off at the end of our meetings and forget to jot down who is doing what and its due date.||Actions (to-do-lists & projects)||Don’t worry. BoardSpace tracks actions and sends reminders weekly & automatically.|
|Some of our board members
connect via telephone for our meetings. They have a hard time keeping up.
|Live update (minutes)||It’s easy for remote attendees to keep up with the meeting even if the sound quality is poor.|
|Our board needs structure.||Build-in-best practices||We created BoardSpace with best practices in mind.|
Why not just use Dropbox or Google Docs?
Nearly every software vendor includes some kind of document storage as one of their features. Storing documents is not the hard part; finding them is.
Boards of directors face special challenges not experienced by other types of users. Directors come and go on a regular basis. A system that is set up today must be easily understood and administered by future users.
Not all document storage systems are created equal.
Read on to learn the differences between BoardSpace, Dropbox and Google Docs.
|Document Storage System?||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|Purpose-built for boards?||Yes||No||No|
|Board Management System?||Yes||No||No|
|How much storage is provided?||
(up to 500 GB)
|Depends on plan||Depends on plan|
|Is there a cost for more storage?||Included in subscription||Yes||Yes|
|How are the documents organized?||Tags||Folders||Folders|
The Nitty Gritty
Fancy complicated systems don’t necessarily translate to being easy to manage. And for volunteers who are unlikely to be technical experts, it is critical to choose a system that works for them. Volunteers do not want to waste a lot of time trying to find documents or learning a new system.
We already use software that includes committee management features. Do we need more?
Committee management is not the equivalent of board management. Committee
management includes document storage, calendar management, event management, and more. It does not include the necessary board management features such as taking minutes, keeping track of actions, monitoring events such as contract renewals and most important the saving of “corporate knowledge.”
Common to both are document storage, but not all document storage systems are created equal.
Why do we need more? My property management company currently uses HOA software.
Don’t forget to ask these questions too!!!!
Is there an onboarding fee?
Sometimes the onboarding fee is significant or the cost is not shown upfront, so be sure to ask.
BoardSpace does not change an onboarding fee, but some customers will select a white-glove service that includes onboarding and other services.
What happens if the board changes to a new property management company?
Usually the property management software is in the name of the management company. Thus when the condo changes their records are left behind.
BoardSpace is fully portable.
If the number of users changes, is there a per user cost that will increase the price?
Many vendors charge a “per-user fee” that can substantially increase the annual cost.
BoardSpace does not surprize your board with additional charges mid-subscription because the number of users changes.
Is the vendor open to suggestions for new features?
The best companies are always looking to improve their products.
At BoardSpace we want to hear from our customers. Our future development plans are based on what our customers want.
What happens if we change our minds after a few months?
Onboarding fees are usually non-refundable.
BoardSpace offers a 60-day money-back guarantee. If you don’t like our software and we can’t fix what you don’t like, we’ll give you 100% back.
Are you convinced yet?
If you’re looking for a software to help organize your board, products like Google Drive or Dropbox just don’t match up to a purpose-built software like BoardSpace. This is because BoardSpace offers so much more than just document storage.
Using BoardSpace’s integrated features and single login portal, directors can say goodbye to lengthy email chains, spreadsheets, scribbled notes, unfinished minutes, can’t find documents and forgetting important dates.
Say HELLO to simple, organized, and findable board management features.
It is increasingly difficult to get volunteers to serve without expecting them to look after all the busy work that used to come with traditional board administration.
With BoardSpace, boards of directors can focus their time by making great decisions for their communities.