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Email, Proxy or Online Voting: Which is Better for Your Board?

[fa icon="calendar"] Apr 6, 2018 / by Sarah Diamond

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Boosting participation from your Board of Directors is key to any organization’s vote. One way to increase participation and engagement from your board members, as well as involve them in more major decisions, is through online voting.

However, getting buy-in from leadership to use digital voting can be tricky.

 

Transitioning to Online Voting Software for Your Board

While many organizations have made the switch, some have yet to transition their votes online. Why?

Budget constraints, usability issues, and a general lack of knowledge regarding digital voting tools are just some of the reasons.

It may take some getting used to, but the value online voting brings to an organization isn’t just streamlined processes – it’s increased engagement from your board and a sense of transparency across multiple departments.

Here’s why online voting trumps nearly every traditional voting method available, and why you should also consider different types of remote or virtual voting when it comes to getting buy-in from your organization. 

 

Why Choose Online Voting Over Traditional Voting Methods?

We’ve discussed the benefits of online voting versus the use of paper ballots, but to expand a bit further, most organizations have board members that are spread about the country or even the globe.

Online voting not only makes getting to the polls more accessible, it provides a level of security that paper ballots and phone-in votes simply cannot. With online voting, your board members can rest assured knowing that their votes won’t be tampered with and that their information is safely stored and protected.

Digital voting also offers a more time-efficient and transparent way for your board to be involved, as admins have the ability to see who voted and how. This lets constituents know that the decisions are made with the consideration of the entire organization, from top to bottom.

 

Types of Virtual Voting

There are several ways to conduct a board vote remotely. Larger organizations may have members and key decision makers who are not able to physically hold meetings, yet accept ballots via email, by proxy or through an online voting solution such as eBallot. The key differences between these methods of voting are:

 

Email Voting

Email voting gives members time to review, analyze and consider their vote before sending in their ballot electronically.

For organizations that allow absentee voting for board members, email is an effective, low effort option for gaining a general consensus about an initiative or an issue.

One thing to note about email voting is that your members will likely need to be manually reminded to cast their votes before key deadlines, and due to the unreliable nature of some email applications, some board members may not see your message until it’s too late.

 

Proxy voting

Proxy voting allows board members to assign a delegate or proxy to cast their votes for them in the event of an absence.

While proxy voting is very popular, especially for organizations like charities and nonprofits, it’s not always the most effective or secure way for boards to make decisions.

Proxy voting is mostly effective for board votes or association elections that would conflict with some board members outside interests or personal affairs.

Allowing votes by proxy is great for keeping your organization compliant and ethical, but it won’t do much to help increase board participation or improve donor relationships.

 

Online Voting

Online voting lets board members to login to a cloud-based, secure voting portal -  similar to a virtual voting booth - and cast their ballots electronically within their web or mobile browsers.

Online voting works well for board votes and can handle both smaller and large operational voting initiatives.

Virtual election dashboards, such as eBallot, allow ballot makers more flexibility to host, manage and analyze voting results in less time than it takes for email, proxy or in-person.

Now that you have a better idea of online voting vs. other remote voting methods, here’s how you can implement it for your next board vote.

 

Online Voting Ideas for Board Members

New Members Nominations

When bringing on another member to your board, it’s important that everyone who has worked tirelessly to support the organization feels involved and comfortable with the decision.

Casting ballots for new board nominations via online voting can help nominees campaign more effectively and can speed up the process for transitioning new members.

 

Fundraising and Marketing Initiatives

Have a new goal or initiative idea but need board approval for funding?

Use an electronic ballot to survey the board about new ideas and get answers delivered to your inbox in a timely, consolidated manner.

 

Quarterly Budget Votes

Reviewing budgets and approving additional funding is just one of the functions a board has, making it one of the more time-consuming processes.

 


 

With eBallot’s board voting solutions, ballot creators can work with our customer experience team to electronically provide all necessary review materials for your board members along with their virtual ballots.

We can even offer on-site voter support for organizations that need to conduct budget votes in-person but would still prefer the added security and convenience of electronic voting.

Learn more about e-voting tools for board members across associations, nonprofit organizations, corporations, and legal practices here.

Topics: Board of Directors

Sarah Diamond

Written by Sarah Diamond

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