Without exception, in this day and age, everyone is busy.  If it’s not overtime at the office, or shuttling the children to after-school activities, it’s catching up with e-mail or making repairs around the house. There’s always something to occupy and distract, Anything an association can do to make a necessary process, like elections, faster and easier will make a favorable impression on busy members.  Fortunately, with the aid of the Internet, most elections can be run easily, quickly, and securely, not to mention paper-free.

            It is worth noting that some organizations’ bylaws require the use of paper ballots, with the attendant costs and time to count and tabulate the results.  Depending on the size, corporate culture and needs of the association, it may be worth considering voting on a bylaws change to allow for electronic elections and polling. As electronic communications become more prevalent, fewer and fewer members will be responsive to paper communiqués, and electronic alternatives will become necessary to obtain even a minimal response rate. 

            Sites like those below can be used to create ballots, email them to members, tally results secretly, and report the results to whatever official – board member, committee chair, or other designee – is desired. Depending on what the poll or survey’s theme is, some can even be tied to your association’s website or social media page for quick, convenient access for members.  Some sites even offer testing and evaluation.

Most sites are free, though some do charge a small fee.  Others offer both; a basic plan at no charge (great for smaller associations with 100 or so members), and a plan or plans with more features for different cost levels.  Some of these are more than reasonable, and can be used not only for voting and elections, but for assisting with finding the most efficient time for a meeting or polling members’ opinions on various questions. 

One of the beauties of most survey sites is that they do not require a degree in computer science to get excellent results.  They offer step-by-step instructions and options. Because the processes are designed to be user-friendly, frequently setting up an entire board election takes only minutes. 

            Here is a partial list of sites to consider:

 

www.surveymonkey.com

www.bzoink.com (a little lighter in tone)

www.zoomerang.com

www.surveysystem.com

www.zapsurvey.com

www.freeonlinesurveys.com

www.polldaddy.com

www.proprofs.com/polls

www.doodle.com