Success Story: American Chemical Society


When their third-party elections vendor went out of business and could no longer administer the American Chemical Society’s national elections, ACS turned to SBS. Saving staff time, increasing voter turnout and member satisfaction were all goals that have been met. Now they’re looking to SBS to help them tackle a whole new challenge.


The American Chemical Society is one of the world’s largest scientific organizations. Founded in 1976 and chartered by the U.S. Congress, the ACS now has more than 151,000 members across 140 countries.

Their mission is to advance the broader chemistry enterprise and its practitioners for the benefit of Earth and its people. Their vision is to improve people’s lives through the transforming power of chemistry. The organization is also actively committed to cultivating a diverse, equitable, inclusive and respectful community of chemistry professionals.

The Challenge:

The ACS worked with a third-party election vendor for 12 years when they received notice the company was going out of business and could not administer the organization’s national election. ACS officials were familiar with the work of SBS and did not hesitate – they called immediately and signed a contract to have SBS administer their election.

As the ACS and SBS teams began the development phase of the election, their primary goal was to make the overall process easier and more efficient for ACS staff. Previously, their elections were done manually by staff in-house or with mail-in ballots. While the ACS had begun the process of transitioning some of the administration to a digital format, they needed SBS to ensure digital records were secure, certified and their election process was streamlined.

Additionally, they define election success as voter turnout of at least 10 percent and a high member satisfaction rate with the elections process. Ensuring members fully and easily understand the elections process with a robust communications plan is also a vital goal.

The Solution:

The SBS team helped streamline the ACS elections process by modernizing the digital aspects and ensuring results are certified and secure. Providing easy-to-use voting options with plain language has resulted in a very high member satisfaction rate.

“The feedback we get from our members is that they like the ease of using SBS systems, the clarity of the instructions and having the website set up the way it is, so they can view statements and bios in real time while going through the vote,” said JoAnn Rhodes, ACS committee administrator.

The ACS is now working with SBS to implement a hybrid election to allow in-person and virtual votes.

Results and Benefits:

The ACS voter turnout is approximately 9.8 percent and member satisfaction with the election process is very high.

“The lack of member complaints is a huge thing!” said JoAnn. “The SBS staff just has a way of walking you through things and the communications is very quick, efficient and concise. It’s very helpful not to be sitting around waiting for an answer or trying to figure out a situation. SBS is competent, trustworthy and very friendly.”

JoAnn also recommends other organizations follow the SBS elections promotions and communications strategy playbook.

The ACS advertises their election across all their communications platforms – official journal, magazines, website, newsletters, social media and even on flyers for members. They also utilize multiple email reminders.

“You can definitely tell we get a spike in voting when the email reminders go out,” said JoAnn. “We had three reminder emails and each day, the voting on those days doubled. I think in one instance it even tripled.” JoAnn Rhodes, ACS committee administrator