What is a board portal? [Video]


Governance What is a board portal? [Video]

Published: May 6, 2021
Read Time: 7 minutes

Find out more about board portals and the benefits of one.


Hi there and welcome to what is a board portal with Our Cat Herder, the board portal for purpose-driven organisations.

What is a board portal? A board portal is a piece of software utilised by an organisation’s board of directors to manage the business of the board. It may also be utilised by advisory boards, committees, sub-committees, board task forces and other groups and their respective members to manage their business as well, particularly in relation to meetings.

Board portals offer a range of features depending on the vendor providing the service. It allows directors, executive, senior leadership teams and others who report to the board to interact with, or support the work of the board to share information and efficiently collaborate with one another.

Why is board portal use increasing? Usage of Australian board portal software in Australian not-for-profit and for-purpose organisations, and also in boards in other countries and other types of companies, has been increasing in the past few years for a variety of reasons. These include the rise of software as a service. The rise of SaaS models, also known as cloud software is helping to make software such as board portals far more affordable.

In the past, for a board to have a portal, the organisation would need to have its own internal information technology team who could not only build, but also maintain a customised portal. Maintaining a custom board portal is an expensive proposition for any organisation and remain so today.

However, with the reduction in cost of on-demand computing power through services, such as AWS or Amazon web services, a significant increase in internet accessibility and the rise of smartphones and tablets software, vendors who provide portals can offer board portal software to many organisations at a lower cost and in a more accessible way than ever before.

Another key reason for the rise in the use of board portals, are there are more digital native directors joining boards. An increase in the number of technology literate board members, particularly as digital native generations begin to join boards, is also driving the widespread adoption of board portals by many types of organisations.

As a digital native director joins a board, they expect to be able to use software as a tool to perform tasks in the same manner that they would in their work and other parts of their life. In fact, for many established boards who would like to recruit younger directors or directors with strong technology backgrounds, not having a board portal is a strong negative signal to these up-and-comers that the board is not willing or ready to embrace change.

Another huge reason for the increase in board portal usage is that directors are just as busy as ever. Between work, friends, family, and often multiple directorships, and the rest of life, directors increasingly have less time to put toward an ever expanding board workload. Which, of course, can be exacerbated if directors must deal with an organisation where there are major problems

Hence, directors are seeking ways to improve the efficiency when handling or working on their board business. A board portal allows not only those who support the board to be more efficient in their preparation of board papers and packs, they also allow individual directors to improve their efficiency in performing board-related tasks, giving them access to information and documents when and where they need them. Often without the delay of having to request them or have them couriered by post. Additionally, board portals help improve the running of board meetings and the general dissemination of other critical information to which directors may require access.

The last and probably most significant reason for board portal adoption is saving time and money. It costs money to run any board. And who doesn’t want to save money? In the not-for-profit sector, there is no shortage of situations where a few dollars saved in one place can be immediately deployed in another. When board portal software is put in place, organisations can often trim significant board related costs and allocate the money elsewhere.

So while there can be an upfront cost for a portal, this cost is usually offset by the savings made in areas such as wages for staff to prepare and distribute meeting packs, the cost associated with printing board packets, and then mailing them out. The amount of time that must be spent on preparing for a board meeting is usually very significant, days for some boards. But with most board portals, this can be cut down to just a few hours.

Thanks for watching. And we hope that you’ve learned something new about board portals in this presentation. If you’re in the market for a board portal, check out Our Cat Herder and rest easy knowing your board administration is all sorted. You can start your 45 day free trial at www.ourcatherder.com.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is board portal software?

Board Portal software is a specialised type of software program, typically cloud-based, tailored to allow boards and those administrating them to collaborate efficiently and effectively.

What is board management software?

Board management software is a cloud-based toolkit created so that a board of directors can govern their organisation better.

Which are the best board portals?

There has been an explosion in the availability of different software programs for managing your board and there are many board portals available today to choose from. The best board portal is the one that fits your boards requirements, from budget to features each board portal solution has a unique offering. If you are seeking a cost-effective, easy to use and Australian owned board portal then check out Our Cat Herder.

Is there a board portal suitable for nonprofits?

There are many board portals available and each one is tailored to different types of organisations and different contexts. The Our Cat Herder board portal is available to Australia nonprofits at a cost-effective price. It has been created to be easy for all board members (regardless of age or technology capability) to use.

What is the top board management software?

Which board management software is the top one for your organisation depends on your organisation, its board and its specific requirements. Perhaps budget is a key consideration for choosing board management software so you'll want something like Our Cat Herder with a flat fee structure. Or maybe it might be important that the board management software provider is in the same country as your organisation. It all depends in your organisation's specific board management software requirements as to which is the top board management software for you.

Are there apps for a board of directors?

There are many apps for a board of directors in the market today. Each app for a board of directors has it's pros and cons and each may or may not be suitable for your board. It is all dependant on your board's specific needs and requirements.

Is there free board management software for nonprofits?

There are certainly free options available for board management software, but the core question to be asking is why is this solution free? And the other should be, is this solution tailor made for boards? Free is fantastic but will your board of directors get the support it needs, great up time and many other things that paying a fee will get you? Many pieces of software (Slack, Google Drive, Wordpress, Sharepoint etc...) you could use as board management software for your nonprofit are not built for running a board so they lack critical functionality.

Are there board portals suitable for nonprofits?

There are board portals suitable for nonprofits and Our Cat Herder is one of them. The Our Cat Herder board portal was built to be accessible and easy to use for nonprofit organisations and SMEs.

What should I look for in a board portal?

There are many features and functions that could be discussed when talking about what to look for in a board portal. The simple fact is that what you should look for in a board portal is entirely dependant on your organisation, its board and those who do the board administration and what needs and requirements they have. To decide what to look for in a board portal start with a quick analysis of what your boards real needs are and go from there, you'll quickly figure out what will and won't work for you and your board.

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