Your Election from Start to Finish: What Happens Before the Election

Your organization’s election is on the horizon. But before you start putting together the ballots, a whole lot of election planning needs to happen.

As the veterans of hundreds of member organization elections, we’re sharing some best practices for election prep:

Plan ahead & set goals

The more specific you can make your goals, the more likely you are to achieve them. Every member organization hopes to increase member engagement, but drill down and choose an exact target such as, “Our organization will utilize technology such as single sign-on and embedded login links to increase online voting response rates by at least 10 percent.”

Why is that a great goal? Because it’s also measurable, so it will be easy to determine if you have achieved it.

One hundred percent improvement on any element of your election would be ideal, of course, but is it realistic? No. Attainable goals allow your organization to realize success and be encouraged to set additional goals for the future.

With any goal you set for your organization’s election, be sure that it is directly related to the election process and voting. Skip the unrelated factors and measure only the relevant success of your election – nothing more, nothing less.

Finally, set a time frame for your goal(s). Each goal should have a start date, an end date and an evaluation date to establish the metrics and success of the goal.

Select your voting methods

The standard voting method for member organizations used to be paper ballots. Most organizations still utilize paper ballots, but the election gold standard is now to offer multiple voting options such as online, paper, onsite and phone voting. The more choices you offer members, the more likely they are to cast their votes.

If your plan is to offer multiple ways for members to vote, check your bylaws to confirm it’s allowed. If not, work to amend the bylaws for future elections so you can ensure all members have an equal and fair shot to cast their ballots.

Focus on nominations

Members are more likely to vote when there is more than one name on the ballot, so nominations are the key to competitive elections. Not sure where to start? Identify members who are involved with the organization – volunteers, annual meeting attendees, etc. Members who are already invested in the organization are more likely to agree to be candidates.

If you’re still looking for candidates, remember that simply asking people to run, instead of waiting for them to approach you, can be very effective.

Once you’ve got a slate of interested candidates, it’s important to make the nominations process as simple and convenient as possible. Online nominations and petitions are a wise way to expedite the process. SBS’ online nominations platform allows nominees to self-register and gives complete and convenient control to your administrators.

Do you have questions about how to usher in a new era of election efficiency and participation before your election even begins? Contact us today, we’re happy to help.