In Switzerland, around 63,000 people currently serve on boards of trustees. The average board of trustees has 5.3 members, most of whom perform their duties on a voluntary basis. 87.3 percent of all charities are led by individuals working on an extra-official basis.1
In other words, up to 11,500 charities store their documents in lever arch files or on a computer at the home of one of their trustees. Unfortunately, this makes it impossible to guarantee that the trustees can independently access the information, and the risk of data being lost is high. Even today, digitalisation offers a raft of possibilities for data organisation that could help ensure that boards of trustees will be able to function properly in the long term.
Boards of trustees face a veritable tsunami of diverse documents, and they need to be stored and archived sensibly, whether in the form of hard copies, images, videos or emails. However, many trustees are reluctant to use document management systems (DMS). There are many benefits to a DMS:
- a good DMS works in a manner that is intuitive, self-explanatory and saves a lot of time.
- The usual work processes do not need to be changed.
- Digital data can be stored securely in the ‘cloud’. These technologies are very advanced.
- There are reasonably priced entry-level solutions for fewer than 12 people that can be set up in two days.
The barriers preventing a DMS from being set up can be easily overcome
- if you use a provider specialised in DMS with a data centre in Switzerland and
- enter into a non-binding pilot phase so that you can see the benefits of a DMS for yourself.
1According to the Schweizer Stiftungsreport 2017, pp. 4 and 7, 12.7 % of charities have professional management.