Customer Stories

Avenidas

Avenidas is a Palo Alto, Calif.-based non-profiit with a mission to help older adults within its community. By using OnBoard, the organization’s board saved time and became more efficient.

Avenidas logo

 

Industry: Non-profit

Headquarters: Palo Alto, Calif.

Board Management Goals

  • Increase ease of use
  • Establish a secure, single source of truth
  • Improve accuracy, efficiency

Results

  • 80% improved efficiency
  • 100% improvement in accuracy
  • All board materials now accessible from a single location

A Modern Board Banagement Platform Built for Efficiency

Avenidas is a nonprofit, community-based organization that has served older adults in the San Francisco Bay Area since 1969. Its 20-member board and eight committees meet bi-monthly with the goal of helping the elderly find access to critical programs and services, such as daycare and wellness classes.

“OnBoard is a good fit for us,” says Cindy Shearer, Executive Assistant to the organization’s leadership. “Honestly, the demo for OnBoard made it clear to us how simple it was to use. And that’s important, knowing that some of our board members were hesitant about embracing the new technology.”

Cindy says one of the biggest champions of the platform is the board chairman. “He loves it. He was excited to learn that board materials were now in one place. And he’s the one encouraging the rest of the board to use it.”

OnBoard meets a number of needs for the 501(c)(3) organization, with time-savings being high on the list. Shearer estimates that OnBoard’s use among the board and committees has resulted in an efficiency gain of about 80%.

“Because we are a nonprofit, we are always looking for ways to make things more efficient.” What’s more, Shearer says, the platform’s features and capabilities have increased accuracy by 100%, in great part because she can swap out an incorrect document during a meeting, if needed.

“Our board members are the ones that we need to please, and OnBoard makes it that much easier and less time-consuming to do that.”

- Cindy Shearer Executive Assistant

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Decreasing board preparation time, with ease

Shearer likens preparing for her first board meeting with Avenidas to “a PDF gone haywire.” To help her better manage required tasks, the organization employed a consultant and held conversations with a half dozen board management software companies before choosing OnBoard. She was deeply involved in that decision.

Shearer says that all that has changed for the better with OnBoard. Specifically, she and others enjoy having one place for board documents—a single source of truth.

“Nothing has to be sent via email. You log in, go to the resource folder and everything is available.”Shearer says OnBoard has measurably streamlined the process for herself and the board. She estimates she went from spending a day and a half preparing for meetings—gathering and copying documents, making PDFs, and then combining everything—to a couple of hours. She thanks OnBoard’s drag-and-drop feature for much of that.

“It is a timesaver,” Shearer says. “You don’t have to go in and add the file, then look for the file, and then upload the file. There is your window, drag it in, drop it, it’s there.”

 

“If there are changes to the agenda, fixing it is as easy as dragging something out, putting something else in, and rearranging it digitally.”

Training on OnBoard: ‘Very smooth’

Happily, Shearer finds that the accuracy and efficiency gains do not come with a steep learning curve. Though the organization welcomed several new members this year, she did not spend a lot of time training.

“I did a group training and a one-on-one training with the new board members, just to show them where everything was, how easy it is—especially if they are new to a committee,” Shearer says. “I like to show them that OnBoard provides historical information on what their committee has been doing in order to get them up to speed.”

One aspect of Shearer’s own training to which she paid special attention was assigning permissions. “Here, permissions vary from company to company on who would have access to what information. That really was the only part that took more attention,” she says. “Other than that, everything just went very smoothly.”

Building better processes based on efficiency

In the past, last-minute changes to board documents or the board agenda could cause a lot of frustration and even errors. OnBoard accommodates those late changes. “If there are changes to the agenda, ”Shearer says, “fixing it is as easy as dragging something out, putting something else in, and rearranging it digitally.”Board and committee members have been so pleased with OnBoard, Shearer reports, that they’ve recommended it to others. “I have recommended it myself, she says, “and I do know that one of my VPs has recommended it to other boards that he is on.” When she does recommend OnBoard, Shearer says, she always addresses OnBoard’s customer service. “They get back to you right away. They are on it 100%. It’s always full service.”

Best Practices at the Board's Fingertips

OnBoard’s affiliation with the Association of Governing Boards (AGB) has proven an unexpected benefit. AGB resources are available within OnBoard, putting a wealth of valuable information at trustees’ fingertips, including articles and white papers on various aspects of board function and management. 

“As new trustees join committees, I provide a very brief description of each committee, but the booklet from AGB provides in-depth information about being a member of this committee, what their work is, how it is laid out, and things that they should look at during various times of the year,” Zubiate says. “It’s at their fingertips; all they have to do is log in and click the resource.” 

It’s indicative of how central OnBoard has become to the Eureka board that the last technology holdout came to Zubiate with his laptop for help in setting up the program. “I think it was everyone saying, ‘the information you need is on OnBoard and you need to learn how to use it,’” she surmises. “I think it was peer pressure more than anything else.” 

Now, everyone on the Eureka Board benefits from the increased productivity, engagement, and convenience that OnBoard provides.

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