Customer Stories

Maryland
Farm Bureau

Small Association Turns to OnBoard for Time-saving, Cost-Effective Board Management Efficiencies

Maryland Farm Bureau
Maryland Farm Bureau

 

Industry: Associations

Headquarters: Davidsonville, Maryland

Board Management Goals

  • Digitize to maximize efficiency
  • Save staff time
  • Empower board with secure, 24/7 access to materials

Results

  • 60% time savings in board management
  • 24/7 board access to current and historical board materials
  • Permission-based security

The Deciding Factors

For John Torres, Executive Director of the Maryland Farm Bureau, the decision to move to the OnBoard Board Intelligence Platform was a simple one. “We were in the height of the pandemic,” Torres says, “and our board still needed to have meetings. They would have to be virtual, and we needed tools to facilitate that. I received some information about OnBoard through the American Society for Association Executives (ASAE).”

After thoroughly testing the software during the trial period, Torres signed up for OnBoard.

“The biggest item that impressed me was the level of customer service they were providing,” Torres says of the trial and implementation period. “I’ve worked with lots of technology vendors and usually they introduce you to the tech and dump it on you. OnBoard has been tremendous in helping us learn how to use the product, every step of the way. Customer service has been a real value in addition to the technology.”

“OnBoard has been tremendous in helping us learn how to use the product, every step of the way. Customer service has been a real value in addition to the technology.”

John Torres
John Torres
Executive Director, Maryland Farm Bureau
Circles

Easing and promoting adoption

As “the voice of Maryland farmers,” the Maryland Farm Bureau is a grassroots organization that lobbies and provides programs that promote the state’s agricultural interests. “Our board is predominantly made up of farmers,” Torres says. “Farmers use a lot of technology in the field, but office technology can be a little more foreign. Switching to an online platform for meeting management involved a learning curve. My biggest worry was the adoption rate. Can I get my board members, my leadership to actually use the technology? That was my biggest concern.”

OnBoard provided the tools to introduce board members to the technology and instruct them on its use. “One of the things OnBoard did,” Torres explains, “was provide a virtual Zoom orientation for all of our board members, which we recorded for future use. An OnBoard Customer Success Manager walked us through the platform, demonstrating the different features and functions.”

Now, any new board members can view the recording of the orientation and get up to speed on the software. “They really helped guide us through during the acclimation process,” Torres says.

Despite the hands-on approach, the instruction from OnBoard did not quell every board member’s misgivings. “Farmers can be cynical, and for the first couple of months they questioned if this was going to work,” Torres admits. “Once we really got into it, though, they loved it. Now they can’t imagine what life would be like without having the platform. They are huge fans. In a very short period of time, they went from skeptical to, ‘I can’t believe we have never used something like this before.’”

“Moving from a paper-based system to a web-based system that does a great job in archiving and curating all of our content has saved me a huge amount of time.”

Circles

Efficiencies for the small organization

For small nonprofit organizations, every dollar counts, and it’s imperative to get maximum value for every dollar invested. Another urgent need is efficiency. Small organizations where a single person wears multiple hats can benefit greatly from cost-effective, user-friendly tools that allow these individuals to do their jobs faster and smarter.

“A lot of the responsibility for managing the board of directors falls squarely on my shoulders,” Torres says. “Moving from a paper-based system to a web-based system that does a great job in archiving and curating all of our content has saved me a huge amount of time.”

Previously, Torres fielded board member requests for documentation day and night. “Now, when board members are up in the middle of the night and want to see what’s going on, they can log on 24/7 instead of emailing and calling me,” he says. He can now tell individuals to check the OnBoard resources folder. “Go there first,” Torres says, “and if you can’t find it, then let me know.”

“In a paper-based system it took me about two days to get board packets and materials together. Now I can get it together in a half-day or three-fourths of a day. It has given me a huge amount of time back.”

Circles
Meeting the needs of associations and nonprofits

Between providing accessible current and historical information and digitizing board processes, Torres has gained a 60% time savings on board management tasks.

“In a paper-based system it took me about two days to get board packets and materials together. Now I can get it together in a half-day or three-fourths of a day. It has given me a huge amount of time back.”

In addition to the broad, sweeping efficiencies that OnBoard enables, Torres notes the positive impact of smaller benefits. “I love that when I establish a meeting, it automatically sends reminders to attendees, like ‘board materials are available,’ or, ‘Your meeting is coming up in two days.’ This automation is priceless. It saves me the step of having to manually remind board members.”

OnBoard’s permission-based security and their knowledge of nonprofits help cement the relationship with the Farm Bureau.

“I absolutely think they are a great partner,” he says, “They have real expertise in the business model of associations and nonprofits, and they understand association needs around governance. They’re selling a service that meets those needs, and that makes me feel very comfortable with them.”

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