The board members for Planned Parenthood of Southwestern Oregon are passionate about supporting the organization’s multi-faceted mission. For more than 55 years, the non-profit has been dedicated to building strong, healthy communities by providing essential healthcare services, education, and advocacy across the eight counties it serves.
During a year wrought with challenges—from the COVID-19 pandemic to deadly wildfires that devastated the region—the organization’s leaders were determined not to let anything derail the chapter’s important work. They needed the ability to stay connected and agile amid significant disruptions. OnBoard was one tool in their toolbelt that helped them press on.
Throughout 2020, the chapter provided reproductive and sexual healthcare services for more than 20,000 patients at its five health centers, and educational programs for nearly 9,000 healthcare professionals and elementary through college-age students.
“Having OnBoard has helped the board in its oversight role,” says Board Chair Vern Katz. “It helps us to stay informed because it is so efficient and easy to use. It makes the board’s work much easier and much quicker, and therefore, you get more done.”
Planned Parenthood of Southwestern Oregon transitioned to OnBoard in the spring and summer of 2020, in the early months of the pandemic. Unhappy with the organization’s prior board management software and processes, Lisette Loendorf, Executive Assistant to the chapter’s President and Chief Executive Officer (CEO), decided to thoroughly explore all of the options. She examined 10 different platforms, researching their offerings, watching demos, reading reviews, and comparing their capabilities. After a 30-day trial of OnBoard, Lisette says she and the executives were convinced.
“I took a deep-dive into all of the platforms out there, and in my opinion, OnBoard was above and beyond the best,” says Lisette, who also manages board affairs. “There’s just no comparison.”
The Solution to Ensuring Board Members Anytime, Anywhere Access
Planned Parenthood of Southwestern Oregon has effectively navigated the challenges of the past year, rapidly ramping up virtual healthcare services in response to the pandemic and shifting the board to remote meetings. Having the ability to access OnBoard anytime and anywhere has been a major asset, Vern says. Board members, executives, and administrators can connect to the solution through their laptops, smartphones, or tablets whenever they need.
“The experience has been excellent,” Vern says. “We all use different devices in different places at different times. If I want to check something, it is a much, much easier platform to use, and that definitely is an advantage. Before OnBoard, the old platform was so arcane and so complicated. It was very difficult to get to and to use. I remember other board members constantly complaining that it locked them out and they couldn’t get in. It was a total pain.”
Lisette says she has OnBoard downloaded on her phone and various tablets so she can work from anywhere. In addition to providing materials for board members, she also uses it to prepare documents for Planned Parenthood of Southwestern Oregon CEO Lisa Gardner. Before OnBoard, she would prepare hardcopy meeting binders with all the relevant materials Lisa would need for the dozens of meetings she attends across the country each year. Some materials would come in late and it often was a race to finalize the binder in time.
With OnBoard, the process is much more efficient. Lisette has a designated, private, and secure folder set up that the CEO can access anytime. When new materials are available, Lisette can quickly drop them in and send Lisa a notification.
“All of her meeting files are housed there so she has everything she needs,” Lisette says. “It is so easy. I’m not having to rush last minute to get the binder together for her before she leaves for the airport. That has been a godsend or me.”
The Solution for Providing Robust Resources for Time-Strapped Board Volunteers
As a first priority in implementing OnBoard, Lisette began building the resources library for the board. This involved moving more than 2,000 files over from the old platform, and organizing them in OnBoard. The files included meeting books, PowerPoint presentations, minutes, bylaws, and other archive documents that board members might need to reference in making future governance decisions. Having the library set up before the board began actively using OnBoard was critical.
“I needed to have the resources organized before the board was introduced to the platform,” Lisette says. “That way, if someone wanted to go back and see what happened at the December 19th meeting, for example, they could go and pull the minutes or a presentation from that meeting. They have everything at their fingertips.”
The board members began using OnBoard for their quarterly meeting in July. Vern says the library is an invaluable resource. It is especially important in aiding the work of certain committees—such as the Governance, Compliance, and Finance Committees—so members can reference previous decisions and financial documents from prior years.
Having all the current board materials housed in a centralized, easy-to-access location also is invaluable in preparing for upcoming meetings, Vern says. The previous system was so difficult to use that it created a lot of issues for board members trying to review meeting materials. OnBoard has eliminated a lot of headaches for busy board volunteers, he says.
“As the Chair, I use it a ton,” Vern says. “I have to look at documents. I have to look at minutes. I probably use it a lot more than an average board member. I am in and out of OnBoard a few times a week. It is much easier to use. As a board member, you don’t want to spend a lot of your time in process, because we’re all volunteering our time. You want to get in and out quickly or you get burned out.”
Planned Parenthood of Southwestern Oregon also takes advantage of some of OnBoard’s built-in functions to streamline tasks that previously were handled through a variety of tools. For example, they use the software’s built-in survey function to conduct board reviews after each meeting. Lisette can easily send the survey to board members requesting their thoughts and recommendations from a meeting. Their responses then are recorded and available for other board members to see.
The board also uses OnBoard’s built-in functions to record directors’ volunteer hours and take attendance at meetings. Lisette says they use the Zoom integration to conduct virtual meetings, and are moving toward using the integrated voting and approvals functions in the future
The Solution to Improving Efficiencies in Preparing Board Materials
Before the organization had an effective board management solution, Lisette would prepare board meeting books in Adobe. The process often took hours upon hours as she gathered materials, compiled them into a large PDF file, password protected everything, and emailed them out to directors.
Some materials would come in late, and others would be sent in incompatible file formats that needed to be reformatted for Adobe. Inevitably, last-minute revisions or updates would need to be made. That meant pulling the PDF apart, implementing changes, and then repaginating everything so the page numbers aligned with those on the agenda, Lisette says.
“It was just a scramble to put the meeting book together,” she recalls. “It was very time consuming. I often would be working on it late into the evening. Sometimes there even would be minor tweaks or revisions the day of the meeting. It was just a hassle.”
The process is much more efficient with OnBoard. Materials can be easily uploaded and moved around. Revisions can be implemented in seconds and everything can be sent out for review with a single click. Once changes are implemented, Lisette has the option to automatically notify board members.
“Creating board books on OnBoard is so easy,” she says. “It has freed up so much more of my time as far as preparing for board and committee meetings. It is incredibly intuitive.”
While it has been less than a year since Planned Parenthood of Southwestern Oregon shifted to OnBoard, the solution already has contributed to significant improvements in board processes:
- Board members and executives have easy access to vital materials and built-in management tools anytime, anywhere
- It has enabled development of a robust resource library that will serve the organization’s leaders for years to come
- OnBoard has significantly reduced the amount of time required to prepare board materials
“The ease of use makes such a difference,” Lisette says. “The platform is so intuitive. Just being able to have everything housed there in one central location with all the different functions and the actions that can be taken is incredibly helpful. I am probably the one who is most excited about it than anyone.”
Ready to Arrive at a Better Board Meeting?
Talk to a Board Management Expert