A cooperative is defined as, “A jointly owned enterprise engaging in the production or distribution of goods or the supplying of services, operated by its members for their mutual benefit.”
One of the vital elements of a co-op is a vibrant, diverse and engaged board of directors. Although more and more board members are retiring or moving on, some perpetual members still stay unchallenged on the board (and the ballot) for many years.
It’s important for cooperatives to have a solid board nominations process so the board can be a continual representation of current membership, to embolden fresh and innovative ideas and to encourage competition so members will vote in elections.
Since, in most cases, potential board members aren’t typically lining up for the opportunity to be on the board, it’s important to have a process.
Recruitment is a year-round process and responsibility – not just the weeks or months ahead of an election. Clearly communicate with members the importance of board service and exactly what it entails. Communicate across channels (member publications, social media, etc.) and include the most engaged members in the recruitment process.
Your current board must be willing to approach potential candidates to ask them to serve. Your board should also include a nominating committee to formally make the board nominations, accept petitions and help oversee the election.
While it is the responsibility of the entire board to help recruit new members, the nominating committee should vet and select candidates then allow any additional candidates to come forward once the board slate has been announced.
When elections are uncontested, members don’t vote, membership is inadequately represented, the board becomes disengaged and the result can be poor organizational governance.
Board diversity is important and many members are generally willing to step up and serve as long as they’re asked to do so. A strong formal nominations process can help cooperatives of every size grow and strengthen their boards and keep the organization healthy and evolving for many years to come.
One Easy Solution
For organizations seeking an all-in-one solution to election nominations, Survey & Ballot Systems now has a new, updated DirectNominations application. The customizable platform now includes:
- A modern nomination and petition process
- Streamlined step-by-step application
- Convenience for staff and committee members to remotely review, rank, comment, and check the status of applications
- Easy self-nomination by members and candidates
- Nominations and petitions kept in one online location
- Simple petition upload and electronic functionality to collect petition signatures
Want more ideas on how to improve your co-op board’s nominations process? Contact us any time, we’re here to help!