For member-based organizations with consistently low voter turnout, a well-conceived promotional strategy is an answer to more engagement. Not only do promotion tactics increase voter participation, but they also boost transparency. It ensures all members are aware of the election process, how they can run for office, who the candidates are, and the date of the contest.
To get the most out of your strategy, it’s best to use a multi-platform approach to guarantee members see election advertisements multiple times across all devices. Although the word “advertising” may bring dollar signs to mind, there are many free options for associations on a budget.
What to Promote
It’s not enough to promote the election date. Advise members of nominations, methods of voting, and the importance of participating.
Members should be made aware of the nomination process and important dates attached to it, so they can better understand candidate platforms. Some information to promote includes the nomination schedule, open seats, the qualifications for candidacy, the process to become a candidate, names of incumbents and candidates, including any statements they may provide.
Election Date & Method of Voting
If members don’t know when the election is, it’s unlikely they’ll cast a ballot. Provide information such as where, when, and how members can vote. After deciding on a voting method, offer directions detailing how the selection works.
Importance of Voting
Without understanding the importance of casting a ballot, members may not prioritize it. Voters get a say in who represents them when negotiating a contract or other benefits. Additionally, it emphasizes the importance of members’ voices and indicates they’re engaged inside the association. Organizations can use the election as an opportunity to reconnect with members, reminding everyone of the common goals and providing informative resources about its successes and future vision.
How to Promote the Election
In the past, two touchpoints (marks of contact) were used to persuade a customer to take a particular action. Today, six must be encountered. This shows how important it is to utilize all media and channels when promoting anything from products to member-based organization elections.
Because direct mail is read by 56 percent of recipients and more than 55 percent of all consumers trust print marketing more than other forms of advertising, organizations should use print promotional material. Associations can use:
- Newsletters: If these are disseminated quarterly, ensure they mention the election, whether in brief or at length.
- Mailers: There are cost-effective options to reaching membership through the mail. A few weeks prior to the contest, mail a self-mailer or postcard to all members reminding them of when the election is and how they can cast their ballot.
- Flyers: To guarantee flyers are seen, bring them to each meeting. You can also send them along with member’s bills. By printing flyers on the backs of the bills, you can bring down costs.
Acquire member emails and send updates and reminders about the contest periodically. From the start of the nomination process, emails should be sent out twice a month. This free advertising tool can keep the election top-of-mind for those 99 percent of people who check their email every day.
In the first month of voter outreach, members should be sent a list of open seats on the board, details about the nomination process, and candidacy requirements. This information can be disseminated multiple times until the nomination process has ended. Once a list of candidates is finalized, emails with candidate statements and positions can be released. Then, reminders of the election date and the methods of voting can be sent twice a month until the contest is completed.
About 3 billion people are on social media, which captures 33 percent of the time users spend online. Because internet users spend more time scrolling through social media than streaming videos and music or reading articles, it’s crucial your organization creates free social media accounts on various platforms to disseminate information.
Facebook is the largest social media platform on the planet, so it’s vitally important that your association has a dedicated Facebook page. Organizations can leverage the account to explain the nomination and election process, provide details about candidates, and release important contest dates. They can also share articles about the importance of voting in elections and create live videos of candidate statements or debates.
The other channels you choose should depend on your member base demographics and psychographics.
If your association’s demographics skew younger, you may want to create an Instagram account because more than 70 percent of Instagram users are under the age of 35. Create a curated feed of photos or graphics in the months leading up to the contest. On the day of the election, members can broadcast live at an election site or add text and video to Instagram Stories.
For organizations with an older member-base, Snapchat isn’t necessary because most of its users are teens. However, if the platform is used, photos and videos can be sent directly to members. Or, information can be uploaded to the organization’s story 24 hours before the election.
Professional associations may want to use LinkedIn, a networking site to find jobs and the latest industry news. Articles and posts about the election similar to those written on Facebook can be shared on this site.
For organizations with graduate populations, such as alumni associations, Twitter accounts should be set up because 29 percent of internet users with college degrees are active users. In 280 characters, the association can Tweet out reminders about the election.
YesElections offers digital “I Voted” stickers, so online voters can share on social media. This can increase engagement with your organization’s social media campaign and your members’ audience.
If your group has a website, important dates should be added to the online calendar. Dates can include the start and end of nominations, as well as the election date. A website banner can also be created to adorn the top of the site, so as soon as users arrive to the page they are reminded of the vote.
A phone message can be recorded and sent to all members. The recording would follow a pre-written script reminding members of contest dates and listing the candidates running for office.
Association events are the perfect place to grab the attention of members. Signage can be created to display at meetings, dinners, or other special occasions where most members will be present. During regular meetings, board members can also announce updates before or after running through the agenda.
YesElections has the expertise to help organizations plan and promote their contests from start to finish. For a free consultation, contact us today.