You could be starting to unionize at your workplace, you could be peeking into your local Homeowners’ Association, or you could be looking to teach the power of democracy to students at your K-12 school. Elections, no matter in what organization or structure, are empowering. Many could say the democratic process is even sacred, which is why you want to ensure your organization is in the right hands when preparing for board election nominations.
Board election nominations are a critical step in ensuring the leaders represent the needs and vision of your organization. They display a level of expertise and diversity so everyone in the organization feels acknowledged and represented. When board members represent everyone in an institution, everyone from the top down feels advocated for.
But what does a board nomination process look like? We’ll break down the most basic structure of the boarding nominating committee process; these are likely to vary slightly from organization to organization. With the right election consultants and voter management system, this process can be tailored to fit the needs of your institution. Whether you are using this as a framework for your first board election or you are hoping to improve on an established process, we recommend using a trusted virtual election platform, such as ElectionBuddy, to ensure a fair and sound election process.
So, how does the board nominating committee process work?
First: Evaluate Current Board Members
This first step may feel unnecessary to some, but critical to others. In reality, it should be critical to all. Evaluating current board members allows officials to hold each other accountable. Are all board members performing to a satisfactory standard? Should they be considered for re-election? This process can be tailored, most opt to have this evaluation performed by a subset of the main nominating committee, but it is recommended to enlist an independent third party for fairness.
Without this step, members of your organization may feel there is a lack of accountability from the board. Elections exist so all voices can be heard. With a clear process of evaluation, members will have faith in the process and will be more likely to participate in the election–we will touch back on this later.
Second: Receive Recommendations for Potential Candidates
Next, your nominating committee will receive recommendations for new board members. These can come from a variety of sources:
It is also recommended that you build an infrastructure for this portion of the voting process. Consultations with election experts will help your team craft the perfect method for collecting recommendations.
No matter the route your board decides on, your nominating committee should review these recommendations. It is crucial to evaluate potential candidates’ skills and experience to determine if they can meet the expectations and qualifications of this position.
Third: Review the Candidates
When reviewing nominated candidates, there are many criteria you can evaluate based on. Some examples widely used across organizations include proven leadership, experience with organizations similar in size and operation to the current organization, knowledge, and experience, and more.
While your committee must agree on criteria, these standards must remain consistent for all candidates. These requirements must also be conveyed before recommendation collection. Other qualifications include, but are not limited to:
Reviews may also include an interview portion from the board, but this may also occur during the candidate’s campaign for votes, as well.
Fourth: Extend an Invitation to Run
After the review portion is completed, the committee will extend a formal invitation for each candidate to run for the position. This invitation should be extended by someone with higher authority from the board, typically a Chair of the Committee or the CEO. If and when the candidate agrees, the committee can begin the election process.
What your organization’s voting process looks like will be deeply personalized to your institution. For some organizations, remote voting is optimal, but even with that, it’s not quite as simple as pushing a button. You will need to account for the ability of your voters: would they fare better with mobile voting? On their personal computer? What about a mail-in ballot?
For other groups, you may find an in-person vote is preferable. How can you ensure a fair and unbiased voting process, and how can you guarantee security for the method you choose?
We recommend continuing to work with an online election platform like ElectionBuddy. ElectionBuddy stands out not only because it has all-inclusive services to aid your member organization with elections, but because it is also reputable and secure.
When your organization values its members, you want an election that provides accessible democracy. With these steps and guidance from ElectionBuddy, you can ensure a smooth and fair election process.