A Guide to Nominations
The first challenge in the nominations process is finding and convincing members to run for positions within your organization. It’s vital to have competitive, contested elections in order to get your members engaged enough to vote, so keep that in mind as you evaluate your nominations process.
Get members involved in smaller ways first
Before you can convince members to run for positions, get them involved in ways that are a bit easier. That may start as just showing up at the annual meeting for some (making these a fun community event can help), and could evolve into them volunteering at events at your organizations. The more involved your members become, the more invested they feel in the direction of the organization. Invested members make great candidates.
Develop members for leadership roles
Sometimes, a more active search for members can be helpful. If your organization knows it is seeking board members with specific skills to bring to the board, make a real effort to seek them out. Fostering the growth of these members by involving them in junior leadership roles is a good way to vet their capabilities, and gives them a better idea of the responsibilities and expectations of the position.
Promote the concept of running to your members
Use your communication channels to promote the importance of elections and running for leadership positions. A cornerstone of member organizations like yours is that they are governed by members. Look to constantly send messaging to your members that shows the importance of their involvement in things like this.
Make the nomination process as easy for members as possible
A final key to actually getting candidates nominated is to make the process easy and convenient. Members may really want to nominate themselves or another member, but if they must jump through hoops to complete the nomination many will simply not follow through. Utilizing online nominations and petitions is a smart way to make the process faster and easier for everyone involved. Check out our Nomination and Petition service for some great tools to ensure your nomination process runs smoothly.
When looking into your nominations process, your largest investment of time (and sometimes headaches) is probably handling the administrative efforts. Managing these tasks by hand can be tedious and inefficient, so what can you do to simplify your nomination administration for both you and your members?
Easy Control for Administrators
Every organization’s nomination process is different, and the importance of properly vetting candidates can make it complicated. Because of this, two things you want to avoid are unnecessary manual administrative work as well as one-solution-fits-all cookie cutter platforms. Bringing the process online can alleviate your middle-man role, while providing a simple platform for nominees to submit their information through.
With a customizable platform to handle nominations, you should be able to handle multiple offices at once if needed. Keeping formatting consistent across all nomination submissions can also make a complicated process much easier, especially if you are currently taking nominations via mail, Word documents and PDFs.
Administrators should also consider ways to track where candidates are at in the nomination process. It can be very helpful to see which nominees may still have sections of the form to complete, so you can send them a friendly reminder to complete their submission.
Easy Use for Nominees
When candidates can self-register on their own time, it makes them much more likely to fully submit a nomination. This should reduce your efforts to get candidates to run for open positions. The easier the process is, the less likely you will lose potential candidates along the way.
A convenient nominations platform not only makes things easier for potential candidates, it can also make the life of an administrator much easier. Reducing the need to manually assist nominees through the process can add up to a great deal of time saved throughout the process.
In most organizations, some vetting is done of nominees before they can become candidates on a ballot. For some, this vetting is done in part through petitions and signatures. Petitions are one of the most democratic ways to validate a nominee’s place on a ballot. If many members are saying that they want a specific nominee in the running, they should be listened to – after all, your member organization should revolve around the members.
No matter the number of petitions a nominee may need, it is important to have the process be simple. With modern technology, there are now easier ways than going door-to-door in neighborhoods or offices asking for signatures. Utilizing an online petition platform makes it easier for nominees to distribute the petitions to be signed via email, saving them the effort of getting physical signatures on paper.
Petitions can also be a tool for candidates and organizations to get out the vote. When candidates get involved in sharing information, your members will feel more informed and engaged. This can bring rewards in many ways, namely encouraging members to vote and even to volunteer or run for positions in the future.
When obtaining signatures, most organizations want to ensure that the people signing are actually members of the organization. For situations like this, you would need to cross-reference that person with a list of members who are eligible to sign petitions. Moving this step online automates the process of checking the names or emails against your database, saving time for both you and the nominees.
Reporting & Tracking
Getting nominees for leadership positions can be a challenging task. This is made even more difficult if you are doing the work in the dark. The ability to track your nominees’ progress and view reports can give you valuable insight on how to maximize your nomination efforts.
Seeing who has registered and completed the forms in real time is a powerful tool for your administrators. This is really only something an online solution can handle, as any other format would be impossible to track as nominations are ongoing. As stated earlier, administrators can also use this online format to track how far along nominees are in the process, which can give you the opportunity to reach out to those with incomplete applications.
Tracking and reporting for your nominations process helps you stay in the loop regarding nominees and any additional preparations that may become necessary with the election. The convenience of seeing this data in one place makes staying in the loop even easier.
Cole Caldwell has been a Marketing Specialist at SBS since 2022. He holds a B.S. in Entrepreneurship from the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire. Cole oversees company communications, branding, and product launches, making www.surveyandballotsystems.com the go-to source for governance best practices. He’s known for hosting educational webinars, presenting at national trade events, and publishing guides to boost voter engagement.