Paperless is all the rage lately in business and government.  Whether you approach paperless from a cost point of view, a saving the planet point of view, or an ease of use point of view, paperless board meetings can make your life easier, but also have some considerations that need to be made.  Paperless isn’t just not printing out papers or making sure things are typed into a system for long-term record keeping, it’s more of a lifestyle, and it requires adoption to be successful.  Here are some things that can help make the most of adopting the paperless lifestyle.

No Stragglers

This seems like a no-brainer, but every group will have its stragglers in the paperless lifestyle.  You’ll have that one person who still needs everything printed off.  Fight the urge to cater to this person, and work with them to help them find ways to adopt the paperless policy you are looking to achieve.  Maybe they need some additional technology because of how they like to take notes, maybe they need some training, or maybe they just need to be nudged along.  There is always something that can be done to help that last adopter join the crowd.

Technology Costs Might Out-Weigh Paper Costs

This is one that people struggle with a little bit.  If you are looking at paperless from a cost savings perspective, be prepared to weigh the increased technology costs.  Perhaps your board needs tablets now to see the agenda and information throughout the meeting, or maybe you will need to give your board members a technology stipend to get what they need to be successful in the mission.  These things come with a cost, and that cost is typically higher than a traditional ream of paper.  While paper is a huge line item for most schools and many businesses, does a paperless board meeting outweigh those costs?  You’ll probably find in the long run it does, but in the beginning you’ll have some adoption costs, and they can be significant.  Be prepared to justify them.

Finding the Right Tools

Unfortunately, you can’t go to your local box store and try out meeting software and the other tools you’ll need to go paperless.  Be ready to take some time and evaluate the tools you are using.  Take some board members to try out tablets, and develop a plan with those who are going to be using the tools.  This won’t take forever but if the tools aren’t properly vetted you likely won’t see the success you are looking for in your program.


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