ExtraCare Charitable Trust
The ExtraCare Charitable Trust is an award-winning charity in the UK that enables older people to enjoy a healthier, active and more independent lifestyle. ExtraCare facilitates a network of inspirational communities that represent a modern alternative to the traditional care or nursing home. The charity operates 14 retirement villages and 17 smaller housing developments across the Midlands and the North of the United Kingdom.
Administering the ExtraCare Charitable Trust requires the support of a board that is both efficient and connected. In the past, the charity used a paper-based method to compile the materials needed for the quarterly meetings of its Board, Audit Committee and Chairman’s Committee. For ExtraCare’s Executive Secretary, Anna Adams, and her team, preparing and sending documentation to the 20 or so members of the Board and Executive committees took up to three weeks of their time annually.
The process wasn’t only time-consuming but expensive too, especially for a charitable organisation that has to account for every penny spent. According to Adams, “It cost £3 a pack for postage. And since the items were so bulky, they often got stuck in local sorting offices, which meant board members had to collect them in person.” As a result, there was no guarantee Directors would receive the packs in time for the meetings.
When one of the trust’s new board members suggested migrating away from paper, ExtraCare responded. They developed a short list of leading board portal providers, which they vetted until they came to the strongest choice: Diligent Boards™.
Their primary reason for choosing the Diligent Boards solution was that their board portal was deemed the easiest to use. In fact, ExtraCare was pleasantly surprised at how smoothly board members transitioned from paper to the Diligent Boards app.
After switching from paper to Diligent’s digital board portal, the ExtraCare team found they saved up to two weeks of time annually. Beyond time, the solution saves the Trust the expense of shipping and materials, which is significant for a charitable organisation.
ExtraCare has gained other efficiencies as well: The portal’s resource centre has helped the organisation to become even more effective outside of the boardroom. Before using the Diligent Boards solution, the Trust sent emails communicating important information like medication planning. But they were often overlooked by busy board members. Anna Adams explained: “The resource centre allows us to upload any relevant information that isn’t in the meeting materials. For instance, we have something called a medication process plan that’s critical for the care of our residents and guides the medication we administer.”
Now, when issues of strategic importance need to be communicated, the charity flags them through the resource centre functionality and data is received securely and in real time by members.