Ernst Göhner Foundation uses board portal to power its charitable efforts
The Foundation’s legacy continues as the secretariat and board work to advance philanthropy.
The Ernst Göhner Foundation sought a digital solution to facilitate communication with its committees and simplify the process of preparing and distributing meeting documents. The Foundation needed a system to produce documents quickly. One that would help avoid late nights spent photocopying voluminous amounts of material, a task made even more difficult with the addition of last-minute changes. A digital approach to save on the time and expense of physical distribution.
PHILANTHROPY AND ENTREPRENEURIAL ACTIVITY — THE ERNST GÖHNER FOUNDATION
The Ernst Göhner Foundation is based in Zug, Switzerland, and is businessman Ernst Göhner’s lasting legacy to the world. Each year a major share of the profits earned from the Foundation’s business activities is used for charitable purposes. The Foundation supports projects involving culture, the environment, education and science.
The top-level body within the Foundation is a committee made up of nine people that meets once a quarter to review and edit the information, applications and reports from various boards. To support sound decision-making, a wealth of information needs to be presented to the right people at the right time.
DIGITAL BOARD DOCUMENTS REPLACE MOUNTAINS OF PAPER
Board secretaries create an extensive range of documents and distribute them in a timely manner to those attending the meeting. Handling stacks of paper containing several hundred printed pages proved increasingly difficult.
According to Lucia Tellenbach, Secretary of the Ernst Göhner Foundation, “In the past, the task of printing out reports and documents on paper and distributing them required one whole working day per quarter. And that was just for reproducing the documents.” Mailing hard copies proved to be another challenge. Because of the weight of packages, materials had to be “split” to keep postage costs down.
A SOLUTION THAT KEEPS EVERYONE HAPPY
The Foundation sought a new solution. One that would end late-night photocopying sessions. After hearing about Diligent Boards™ from Foundation board members, the decision was made to try it.
The change brought major benefits. Now board members can work with documents on their iPads. Using the intuitive Diligent Boards solution, they can read, annotate and comment on documents. What’s more, executives receive materials sooner and have more time to review them.
Added Tellenbach, “We held one single transitional meeting at the Foundation board where we worked with both paper and Diligent Boards in parallel. From the very next meeting, it became clear we would no longer need paper. Everyone wanted to work solely with the digital solution. Even those present at the meeting who were initially sceptical were quickly convinced.”
CREATE DOCUMENTS IN JUST A FEW CLICKS
Now, thanks to Diligent Boards, the Foundation operates much more efficiently. Detailed meeting materials are compiled by Lucia Tellenbach and her team in just a few minutes.
Tellenbach distributes information to the committee members in a secure, electronic form as complete, fully encrypted meeting documents. Security risks that existed working with physical documents have been reduced considerably. Even if an iPad loaded with the solution were to be stolen, the documents would still be protected from prying eyes through encryption and password protection.
The organisation has also been very impressed with the service they have received: “For me as an administrator, the training only took around three hours,” noted Tellenbach. “The manual is easy to use, but I’ve only referred to it twice since the system was introduced. If there are any urgent problems, I call our account manager or the support team, and a solution to the problem has always been found within a matter of minutes.”
The Diligent Boards board portal makes day-to-day work life much easier at the Ernst Göhner Foundation. The end result: greater efficiency for the Foundation’s secretariat. And security, service and ease of use for executives.
August 22, 2019
How to Make Board Reports Shorter & More Insightful
UK Company Secretaries are questioning with how to balance board of directors’ need for greater insight while avoiding board reporting becoming even more voluminous and time-consuming.
July 22, 2019
The Path to Board Diversity
Board diversity is well-established on the boardroom agenda – but many boards are still far from diverse.
July 9, 2019
Building a Balanced Board: The Challenges of Board Composition
In May 2019, as part of a long running partnership with the ICSA, we looked at the challenges facing the 21st century board and the company secretary’s role in supporting and guiding chairs and boards to meet these challenges.