While we are about to prepare for a spring Provincial Election there is another election Toastmasters across District 86 should be preparing for. I am talking of the Club Elections that are held every year in May. This is a big club event as it will set the club up for success for the coming year. Holding a smooth election where every executive position has at least one nominee is a hallmark of a quality club. An engaged and energized executive is a great way to keep the energy from one year to the next. I would like to share with you some information on how you too can hold robust elections and make sure you executive is as strong as it can be.
One of the first tasks that needs to be undertaken is to set your election date. Toastmasters International suggests that date be the first club meeting in May. I am a dual member (Port Credit Toastmasters and Great Minds Advanced Toastmasters) and my club elections will take place on May 7th and 8th respectively. This date should be announced during a club business section and then followed up with other forms of communication. The goal here is to make sure the entire membership is aware of the date.
Once the date has been set the next task is to strike up a nominating committee! Who strikes up this committee? That duty falls to the Club President to select three active members to form this committee. The Immediate Past President should be the committee chair (unless the best interests of the club require otherwise) and the other members should be familiar with the club executive positions. According to the Club Leadership Handbook (Item 1310) this should be done at least 2 weeks prior to your club elections. In my experience it should be announced sooner then that for the committee to get candidates for the various executive roles.
Now that the committee has been selected the real work can start. First the committee should be providing information during the business section of the club meetings. Letting everyone know who is on the committee and what to expect in the coming weeks. This committee has important work ahead as the goal is to make sure that all positions have a nomination (or two).
The committee may consider active members who have announced their desire to serve in office. (current members of the executive or others who are proactively seeking office) The committee may also seek out qualified candidates. In either case, only Toastmasters who accept the nomination may be placed on the committee’s report. The nomination committee report is due the meeting before the club elections and should be presented during the business section of the meeting.
The committee is looking for Candidates for the following positions: Club President, Vice President of Education, Vice President of Membership, Vice President of Public Relations, Secretary, Treasurer, and Sergeant at Arms. A member can run for more then one office. At a minimum a club must have three officer positions: Club President, a Vice President, and the Secretary or Secretary/Treasurer. In this case each office needs to be held by different people. This should be avoided if at all possible as without a full executive the risk of burn out is high and the work load would be too much for just three.
It is important that the nominating committee report is presented at the club meeting before the elections. Otherwise all the hard work of the committee will go unrecognized and the stress on election night will be high as candidates will be running for office without vetting.
The work of the nominating committee is important. If your club hasn’t followed this process I would strongly encourage you to consider following this direction. In my experience this process allows for members to feel comfortable about running for office. It takes the stress off the club that occurs when an election is held with little to no candidates for office. Finally, it gives the toastmasters on the committee some new skills to learn and enhance.
In my next article I will detail what the committee should be looking for in successful candidates and how to have a robust election!