The Dangers of DIY Elections

Many member organizations believe that when it comes to elections, the best and least expensive option is to DIY – do it yourself. But, like any DIY project, member elections can suffer without the right help.

Just as having a book about plumbing does not mean you will successfully install a shower head correctly, having access to an online survey site does not mean your organization can successfully run an election.

Here are just a few dangers of DIY member elections:

Your election plan is on a sticky note
Or worse, you don’t even have an election plan. A successful election starts with a comprehensive outline highlighting your organization’s goals, calling out key milestones and forming your promotion strategy.

Someone forgot the ballots in the trunk of their car
We all know that elections are now under extra scrutiny – as they should be. So, who’s in charge of your election security and supervising the chain of custody for your ballots? If your answer is, “I’m not sure,” your organization could be in for the scandal of the decade.

The plan is just to get to the end
Elections are stressful. And when you’re running your own election, sometimes you’ll settle for “good enough” just to get to the end in one piece. An election is an important touch point for members during the year. You’ve got the opportunity to engage members and represent your organization’s brand, but you must know how. You need to have the energy and people power to connect with members, choose new leaders and gather information to make future elections more successful.

You don’t have the capacity to offer multiple voting options
Multiple voting options are appealing to members, add convenience, boost participation and promote transparency in the election process. But many organizations just don’t have the capacity to offer paper ballots, phone voting, online and hybrid options in-house.

Who did what?
Your election is a unique snapshot of your membership – it can be almost like a census report. If you’re not gathering reporting and demographic information, you’re missing an opportunity to understand the connections between your organization and members. You can learn how they’re interacting, when and why they’re doing it and what they’re voting for or against. This information can and should be used beyond your election for strategic planning, marketing and more.

In other words, be careful with DIY elections. Your organization needs to give members every possible chance to participate and vote. Working with a third-party election partner or top-notch, specialized elections software takes a load off your organization, gives you guaranteed results and actionable intelligence that can benefit so many other organizational functions.

Do you know of a DIY election disaster? Share with us in the comments below.