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Nonie Dalton Image
Nonie Dalton
Vice President, Product Management

10 valuable Diligent Community features you should be using

January 19, 2024
0 min read
diligent community product features

Whether you serve on a school board, city council or any other public entity, and whether you are a leader or an administrator working full-time or part-time, the realities of public service make it difficult — and important — to manage complexity with precision.

Digital tools can help resolve this complexity. Many of the technologies that were once only affordable for large corporations are now well within reach for public service organizations.

Today, Diligent Community provides public boards with the tools and support they need to effectively govern and meet their goals. Over the past few years, Diligent Community has evolved into an essential resource for thousands of people like you.

In this blog, we highlight 10 key features of Diligent Community that you might not be taking advantage of. We'll show you what they can do for your organization and offer some pro tips to help get you started and save even more time.

1. Agenda builder: Create better agendas

Agendas are time-consuming and often require multiple changes as agenda items are added or amended — not to mention the collation of seemingly endless appendices, version control management, and the distribution of the agenda to board members. For those who manage them, agenda prep can be a nightmare.

Diligent Community’s agenda builder is designed to streamline the process and remove roadblocks. With it, you can:

  • Create agendas, attach documents, insert items, and build and publish packets within a single digital tool
  • Choose from user-friendly templates and use our drag-and-drop interface
  • Auto-save work for uninterrupted progress
  • Share agendas securely with board and committee members
  • Print with one click for convenient physical copies

Who it's for: Administrators, clerks, board secretaries and anyone who manages meeting agendas

How to get it: The agenda builder feature is included in all Diligent Community packages.

Pro tip: Need to provide your members with context or sensitive background information? Use Members Notes to add confidential information about an agenda item. These briefing notes are visible to members only — never the public.

2. Approval workflows: Streamline agenda item submission

Creating a meeting agenda is often a collaborative process, and as anyone who prepares agendas knows, finalizing them is often an up-to-the-last-minute process. Diligent Community provides a streamlined way of managing the submission and approval of agenda items through its customizable workflows feature. With it you can:

  • Allow staff to submit agenda items for inclusion
  • Create workflows to review and approve before included them in the meeting's official agenda
  • Create custom approval groups with admins, staff or members
  • Tailor approval processes to match your unique workflows for accurate approvals
  • Choose from linear, non-linear, group or single approval trees
  • Send notifications for timely agenda item approvals

Who it's for: Board administrators and staff responsible for overseeing the approval of agenda items within Diligent Community

How to get it: Approval workflows are included in the full version of Diligent Community.

Pro tip: Have your approvers enable SMS notifications to get your agenda items approved in real-time. 

3. Policy Publisher: Take control of your policy management

School policy management needs to support the school board’s vision while embracing transparency, accessibility and flexibility. This is why Policy Publisher for Diligent Community helps streamline the whole policy lifecycle. Policy Publisher organizes your policy cycle into a single and easily manageable flow, built to accommodate each stage of your process. With it, you can:

  • Easily navigate the policy lifecycle and adoption workflows
  • Draft policies collaboratively through our Microsoft Word integration
  • Maintain version control and a history timeline for a clear audit trail
  • Add to the agenda for board review at the click of a button
  • Digitally vote to adopt and publish directly to your handbook on the public site

Who it's for: Tailored for governance professionals overseeing policy adoption

How to get it: Policy Publisher is available as an add-on to Diligent Community. Please contact your Customer Success representative today to find out more.

Pro tip: Use the policy compare tool to keep track of changes made since your last review. This tool gives a side-by-side view of the old version vs. the new version. This feature is available to both staff and board members to help with decision-making.

4. Livestream Manager: Stream meetings to support transparency

The public and, in some instances, legislation, require transparency — it feeds trust and engagement, which in turn ensures healthy governance. Livestreaming public meetings has become an important instrument for transparency. Livestreaming also enhances accessibility, giving everybody the opportunity to view deliberations that have a real impact on their lives.

However, setting up reliable livestreams is often difficult and time-consuming, requiring resources and expertise outside the job description of many public servants. To bypass this complexity, boards can use Livestream Manager, which empowers you to:

  • Efficiently set up livestreams directly within Diligent Community
  • Livestream meetings directly to your public website for enhanced transparency
  • Offer high-quality video streams through integration with best-in-class solution BoxCast
  • Offer the public livestreams in a split screen alongside the agenda
  • Upload recorded meetings alongside time-stamped minutes to facilitate easy navigation through recorded content

Who it's for: Any public board looking to add livestreaming to enhance meeting transparency

How to get it: Reach out to your Diligent Customer Success representative to add Video Manager to your Diligent Community package.

Pro tip: Use automated live closed captioning for even better accessibility and public search.

5. Committee Manager: Get better committee oversight

Committees are a powerful instrument for many boards, allowing them to delegate decision-making and action to more focused groups. Without good management, however, committees can dilute the overall efficacy of the board by dividing its influence.

Committee Manager can keep the power of a committee’s delegation without diluting the power of your board. This Diligent Community feature allows you to:

  • Seamlessly manage multiple board committees or meeting groups all within Diligent Community
  • Customize who can create, access and engage with content within each committee, ensuring the right stakeholders are involved
  • Tailor custom workflows and approval trees for each committee, optimizing efficiency and accountability
  • Allow the public to subscribe to specific committee groups for updates through your public website, enhancing transparency and engagement

Who it's for: Board administrators, clerks and chairs managing multiple boards, groups or committees.

How to get it: Reach out to your Customer Success representative to discuss adding more meeting groups to your Diligent Community package.

Pro tip: When managing multiple committees, you can optimize your efficiency by creating custom workflows and approval trees for each.

6. Digital voting: Bring voting into the digital age

It all comes down to the vote. Board and council members can bring voting into the digital age — and get unparalleled flexibility and efficiency. With digital voting, you can:

  • Record digital votes and adopt signed minutes documents in real-time, streamlining and supporting accurate minute-taking
  • Support various voting methods, including simple majority, two-thirds majority and weighted voting
  • Enhance decision-making flexibility with different voting thresholds

Who it's for: Board and council members involved in decision-making and board administrators responsible for recording votes.

How to get it: Digital voting is available as part of Diligent Community.

Pro tip: Customize digital voting to reflect your board, with options to tailor:

  • The voting language to reflect the state stature or board policy you follow
  • The text that appears in the Disposition field when the majority of members vote in favor of or against a motion
  • The language for each voting response type

7. Customizable document library: Build your own document library

Good administration depends in no small part on institutional knowledge. For many organizations, this knowledge is scattered across a broad array of document types, both analog and digital, making it hard to consolidate insights and maintain a comprehensive view of an organization.

Diligent Community comes loaded with a customizable document library, which provides a convenient, secure and centralized location to upload and manage your documents. You can structure the library so that it has searchable public content and internal folders to protect sensitive information. The library also:

  • Makes public folders accessible through the public transparency website
  • Restricts private folder access to specific members and staff
  • Simplifies folder management and permissions
  • Ensures security for sensitive documents and enhances data management practices
  • Gates access to users with editing rights, allowing them to make changes using our Microsoft integration

Who it's for: Administrators and governance professionals overseeing document management.

How to get it: Private and public document libraries are included with the full version of Diligent Community.

Pro tip: Ensure appropriate access to documents in a central location with permission management.

8. Board member experience: Support a more engaged board

An engaged board member is a more effective board member. Diligent Community incentivizes board engagement by:

  • Pushing agenda notifications through SMS or email
  • Giving board members secure access to digital agenda packets
  • Allowing board members to view cohesive PDF packets with a simplified interface
  • Printing complete packets with annotations if needed

Who it's for: All board members, specifically those looking for a simplified meeting experience

How to get it: All Diligent Community packages provide online access to the solution for their board members.

Pro tip: The digital annotation tools allow for a broad array of markups, including freehand notes, sticky notes, highlighting and underlining. All notes are private and searchable.

9. Public transparency website: Build trust with the public

Public institutions are powered by public trust. Building that trust is a complex task, and it’s not reducible to any one intervention. Diligent Community users find its public transparency website function to be very helpful in brokering deeper and more engaged relationships with the public. These websites allow organizations to:

  • Give easy public access to meeting agendas, minutes and policies.
  • Offer seamless search capabilities to help members of the public find exactly what they’re looking for
  • Offer sign-ups for meeting notifications and submit requests-to-speak
  • Facilitate livestreamed meetings beside follow-along agendas and minutes

Who it's for: Organizations aiming for increased community trust and engagement.

How to get it: The public transparency website is included in all Diligent Community packages.

Pro tip: Encourage sign-ups for notifications and subscriptions so the public has easy access to agendas and meeting activity.

10. Goal tracking: Track your organization’s goals for public accountability

Effective public organizations communicate their goals to their stakeholders and see them through. Doing so is not just a matter of efficacy, but also of trust and accountability. Diligent Community supports goal tracking by:

  • Supporting the creation of board goals, projects or a strategic plans
  • Publishing goals and progress directly to the public transparency website

Who it's for: Organizations focused on strategic goal alignment and achievement

How to get it: Goal tracking is included in the full version of Diligent Community.

Enhance your public service with the right technology

Technology can provide deeper insight and support better oversight of your organization’s processes, significantly enhancing efficiency. For busy public leaders, every advantage is invaluable.

Whether you’re a long-time user of Diligent Community who wants to learn more about these and other features, or a member of a public institution looking to improve the way you work, book a demo to learn how to jumpstart your governance.

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