Success Story: American Geophysical Union
“Outsourcing the election to SBS was a success. AGU achieved 21.9% voter participation, its highest election response rate.” ~ Cheryl Enderlein (CAE), Assistant Director, Volunteer and Leadership Services, American Geophysical Union
Established in 1919, the American Geophysical Union (AGU) is an international non-profit scientific association with more than 60,000 members. AGU is dedicated to furthering the sciences of geophysics through the individual efforts of its members and in cooperation with other national and international scientific organizations.
As the Assistant Director of Leadership, part of my time is dedicated to the management of AGU voting. In the past, the AGU election was run in-house. My aim was to find an experienced partner that could administer the election and improve the project’s performance. I sought to find a vendor that could execute the intricate voting process that included Union officers, Board members, student and early career representatives, and section and focus group officers.
What made the election particularly complicated was the balloting process for the 23 sections and focus groups. I needed a dynamic online process that allowed members to log in, choose up to three groups they wanted to cast votes for, and then view customized ballots based on their selections.
In a previous role at another organization, I knew of Survey & Ballot Systems (SBS) and their election capabilities. I happened to reconnect with them at the Council of Engineering and Scientific Society Executives’ (CESSE) annual meeting and began discussing AGU’s election situation. My past experience with SBS was favorable; excellent customer service, rock-solid technology, and stellar response. AGU selected SBS to administer the election because of my recommendation – my reputation was officially on the line.
Outsourcing the election to SBS was a success. AGU achieved 21.9% voter participation, its highest election response rate. For the first time, AGU leadership received voter satisfaction ratings through an exit survey at the end of the online ballot. Results from this survey indicated members were highly satisfied with the new SBS managed election.
SBS stood by me every step of the way and made sure I was able to deliver a well-run voting process. The numbers prove this was a good decision for AGU and I plan to make the next election even better based on voter feedback and reporting delivered by SBS.