Why I’m NOT Voting in Your Next Member Election

Guest post by Lynne Morioka, co-op and credit union member

I love local member organizations. In fact, I’m a member of several. Thanks to a credit union, I recently bought my first-ever brand new car. Thanks to a food co-op, we’re having paella for dinner.

As much as I enjoy the services provided by professional associations, cooperatives, credit unions and nonprofits, I (and thousands of members just like me) probably won’t vote in many of their member elections. Here’s why:

I don’t know anything about the candidates
Mailing me a ballot with the names of strangers isn’t going to get me to start checking boxes. Who are these people? What are they proposing to do for the organization (and, by extension, me)? Why should I vote for them over another candidate? If that information isn’t there, I’m not giving you my vote.

There’s no competition
The same guys get seats every year. I do not need to make an effort to vote if the outcome is predetermined. Perhaps if the election was contested, I’d have a reason to pay attention.

Voting is a pain
It is 2015. I live on my laptop, I have a tablet device and I carry my smartphone everywhere I go. But some organizations limit the ways in which I can participate. It’s time to improve the convenience for voting members like me and offer a variety of ways to vote – online, mobile, phone, in-person, etc. When you make it easy for me, I’m much more inclined to cast a ballot.

I had no idea there was an election
Look – I get sent a lot of stuff. I get promotions, newsletters, third party partner advertising and it doesn’t take long for it all to become noise. When I get a ballot out of the blue, it just blends in. I set it aside with good intentions, but it gets buried under the other junk mail and recycled. Maybe if the election is promoted with the same intensity as other events and offers, I will take notice.

I don’t really know why it matters
As a United States citizen, I understand the importance of participating in a democracy. I do not, however, understand why I should go out of my way to vote for candidates for the board of directors. Please tell me in simple, real terms (skip the jargon) why my effort to vote makes a difference to the organization so I’m motivated to take action.

The time is now to get to work and make it easier and more compelling for your members to vote. We’ll thank you and voter participation will rise.

Survey & Ballot Systems helps member organizations tackle issues like this every day. For more information on how to compel your members to vote, click here to download the FREE e-book, “10 Expert Tactics to Increase Voter Participation.”