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Why a Digital-Savvy Board is Necessary in 2022 Featured

Why a Digital-Savvy Board is Necessary in 2022 Christina @ wocintechchat.com

Given the acceleration of tech adoption and increase of cybersecurity risks facing them in 2022, nonprofits are desperately seeking digitally-savvy board members.

An MIT study found that "among companies with over $1 billion in revenues, 24% had 'digitally savvy' boards, and those businesses significantly outperformed others on key metrics — such as revenue growth, return on assets and market cap growth." While these stats reflect current trends within bigcorporate boards, nonprofits can learn from this sector about the importance of including tech-savvy members among their stakeholders.

Not only are digitally-savvy nonprofit boards crucial in keeping up with the times, they can help increase revenue growth by enhancing their understanding of modern technology. But to achieve that revenue growth requires taking the first step to build a digital-savvy  board. Creating a digital-savvy board starts with utilizing board management software.

Identifying digital-savviness 

Board members with technical know-how and understanding are pivotal in finding and recommending technology appropriate for boosting their organization’s operations, staying current on digital trends and remaining secure from cyberthreats. Organizations identified digital-savviness in a few different ways.

Typically, a digital savvy board will have an enterprise-level understanding of modern tech including big data, cybersecurity, digital platforms and AI. Board members will also understand digital and mobile processes that enhance the customer experience, produce new business models and generate operations efficiency.

A digital-savvy board will have an understanding of various digital technologies such as mobile, social, cloud and analytics, too. Over the course of the next decade, these understandings will influence the success of nonprofits. Ultimately, digital-savviness will be contingent on a wealth of actual education and work experience. 

Specifically, for nonprofit organizations, expanding their technical knowledge can help them understand what they need for revenue growth in the new digital world. 

Revenue growth starts with digital-savviness 

To reach a point where organizations can begin talking about boosting revenue growth requires first understanding how to build a digital-savvy board. Start by giving tech leaders a seat at the boardroom table.Nonprofit board members should have consistent conversations with tech leaders to eliminate the gap between the two parties. Addressing this gap together empowersboards to more effectively outline business strategies and potential results. Board members also should set expectations for tech leaders about the frequency — and most actionable — technology information they should communicate.

CIOs are vital players in developing and maintaining a nonprofit board’s tech intelligence. They act as a trusted source of information by offering educational programs and exercises. Through this partnership CIOs can help nonprofit boards gauge what information to include in materials made available before a meeting versus what information to present at meetings. Because technology is inherently complex, it may make more sense to leave the more technical conversations for the meetings themselves where CIOs are available to answer questions and provide clarity.

Boards also will want to determine the value of attending tech trade shows or plan meetings with field experts. Similarly, boards may find meeting with local tech leaders can assist in the recruitment of tech-savvy volunteers.

MIT researchers agree, substitutions for directors who understand where board members need to be further developed are hard to come by. Board members should be encouraged by organizations to learn more about modern technology. Age also isn’t an excuse. Many digital savvy board members and directors are older, and prior to their involvement with the nonprofit, many of them had no previous digital experience. However, they recognized the need for improved tech-savviness and chose to increase their digital knowledge.

Board members also must understand they’re a source of information for the entire organization.

Without giving board members the tools they need to share what they know or have learned about tech, their efforts fall by the wayside — the information they learned goes to waste. Board management software can boost communications and give board members the tools they need to unify the board on various topics, including tech.

Technology continues to evolve. With revenue growth near the top of their board’s to-do list, nonprofit organizations cannot risk falling behind. Board members now have an obligation to stay current on modern technology and remain digitally-savvy — the health of their organization depends on it.

Krista Martin, VP of product and growth, has been with Boardable since 2017, starting as a product and marketing manager. During her time with the company as VP of growth, Martin's proven track record includes scaling product usage from 100 users to over 90,000 users and assisting Boardable's growth from 18 customers to 2,000. Leveraging over a decade of experience in product management, Martin leads Boardable's product and growth teams to focus on driving customer and revenue growth.

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