Cheat Sheet for a Successful Election

Elections for member organizations can be complicated and time-consuming. Don’t you wish there was a cheat sheet that would help you have a successful election?

Well, we’ve got one right here:


The first step in a successful election is to analyze what you’re working with so you can maximize your resources.

Accurate voter database

A key component to a well-run election is to create and maintain an accurate voter database. Valid email addresses and mailing information are essential to send invitations, ballots, reminders and confirmations. An accurate database ensures invitations and ballots are only sent to eligible voters.


What has gone well with previous elections? Where have your challenges been? An honest and thorough review of prior elections will address any difficulties you encountered with your last election.

Participation levels

Know your past and current voter participation levels. Has voter participation been trending up or are fewer members voting? Once you’ve established your voter participation trends, you can set reasonable goals and come up with a plan to achieve them.

Awareness plan and strategy

Promotion plan

Use email updates, social media posts, newsletters, postcards – when you have a communications and promotions schedule, it’s easy to break down exactly who gets what, and when they receive it.

Technology to increase participation

If you haven’t updated your communications and voting methods in a while, now is the time. The more channels used to promote the election, the greater your response rate is likely to be.

From traditional methods like direct mail and postcards to recorded phone messages, broadcast email messages, website ads, social media posts. Be sure you’re giving them quick, convenient voting methods, like online voting, as well so they can take immediate action when they receive ballots and reminders.

Introducing the candidates

Look for a streamlined online nominations process to make it convenient for nominees as well as organization staff. Once you’ve got the nominees in place, share in-depth details with members about who is running in the election. Candidate open houses, “meet the candidate” events, video biographies and photos next to bios in newsletters are all effective methods to introduce candidates to members and drum up interest during voting in the election.

Future elections

Establish goals

When you understand the trend lines of previous elections, you can confidently establish goals for future elections. Make your goals realistic and measurable.

Choose appropriate voting options

Knowing the demographics and communications preferences of your members are key factors in determining which voting methods your organization should utilize. Traditional paper ballots, online voting or even a hybrid of multiple methods may provide convenient options your members are more likely to use to cast their ballots.

Post-election survey

The number one way to analyze the effectiveness of your communications and election techniques is to undertake a post-election survey. Once you have the data, you can better analyze your voting trends and prepare for future elections.

Need more information on how to take the next steps for any of these steps? Contact SBS, we’re here to help.