Need to update your stakeholder data due to an election? Here are some tips!
September 14, 2021
As you may know, our headquarters is located in Magog, Canada. We have an election coming up later this month, which got us thinking about managing election data in Borealis.
Updating stakeholder data around an election can be overwhelming due to the amount of information involved. Whether the election is local or federal, you may need to make changes to a significant number of records at the same time.
Borealis users come from a wide range of industries, work in many countries, and interact with elected officials in very different ways, so there’s no “one size fits all” solution. Nevertheless, we’d like to offer some tips to help you handle election data in Borealis more efficiently.
Our clients generally manage elected officials in one of two ways: by assigning individuals to categories or adding positions to their stakeholder records.
What’s the Difference Between Categories and Positions?
Categories provide one level of information but no timeline. If you manage your stakeholders with categories, you can only see if a stakeholder currently holds an elected office. Depending on how you engage with your stakeholders and what information you need to track, this may be sufficient for your needs.
Positions allow you to manage a stakeholder over time, and across multiple roles (elected positions, boards and committees, memberships in professional organizations or associations, etc.). By using positions, you can see if a stakeholder previously held public office, and if so, where and when. We recommend this method because it’s more flexible than categories, and it creates a historical record that remains part of your organization’s institutional memory.
Managing Elected Officials Using Categories
Categories allow you to identify users as part of a designated group, such as Members of Parliament (MP), or Members of Provincial Parliament (MPP). Simply create the tags you wish to use and assign them to the appropriate stakeholder records. To keep your list up to date, you will need to add and remove these category tags to reflect the results of each election.
Managing Elected Officials Using Positions
Another way to manage elected officials is by assigning positions. We recommend that you create a position for the person, including a start date and end date for each term they are elected.
- TIP: Before an election, you can batch apply an “end date” to the position held by elected officials. While you can certainly enter a precise start and end date for each individual, this can be quite time consuming depending on how many stakeholders you need to manage. To simplify the process, we recommend using the day of the election as the end date.
An end date essentially acts like an expiration date for the position.
After the position ends, the person will no longer be included in lists or communications intended for current elected officials.
Stakeholders can be assigned multiple positions within one or more organizations, which can be quite helpful when it comes to understanding your elected officials. This article offers additional information to help you manage stakeholders with multiple positions.
Getting Prepared: BEFORE an Election
To prepare for an election, it’s a good idea to review your list of elected officials. Check to be sure that you have the right total number of officials (you can break this down by province, state or region based on your particular needs) and then perform a quick data quality check (do you have full and correct names, titles, etc.?).
- TIP: By using widgets to identify missing or inaccurate data and attributing tasks to manage the election results, you can be even more efficient.
Best Practices: AFTER an Election
In Canada (and other countries), an official list is published after each election. This roster includes all elected officials, and indicates which ones are newly elected. You may need to wait a few weeks (or even a few months) for the list to be finalized, but it’s worth the wait to make sure you get the right information. When the list is ready, you can download a copy and filter the data to add only new officials to Borealis. We’d be happy to walk you through the process if you need a hand!
If you work with categories:
use the general list filters or build your own widget to view elected officials. Next, click on ‘select multiple,’ choose those who lost their seats, and remove their category tag. Newly elected officials can be added manually, or in a batch by using the Excel template
If you work with positions:
- If an official is re-elected, archive the original position and add a new position with an appropriate start date to indicate that they have a new mandate (we recommend using the day after the election as the start date).
- If a person is not re-elected or has declined to run for office again, be sure to enter an “end date” for their position, and then add the newly elected official
TIP: When you add an end date for a position, use it to inform your stakeholder verification process.
When someone leaves office, you may need to remove them as a stakeholder. If your data management policies permit, we recommend that you do not delete the individual record so you do not lose the history; instead, imply deactivate the stakeholder.
My Tip of the Month
Did you know that you can use a widget for some batch actions related to positions? You’ll need to start your widget with the “Stakeholder Engagement > Stakeholder > Positions” form. This gives you access to actions that are not available in the “Organizations” and “Individuals” forms – including stakeholder position.
We know that each situation is different, so if you’re worried or not sure where to begin, please let us know. If you need help preparing for an upcoming election or want to start working with positions, contact us. We’d be happy to help you get started. Simply reply YES to this email and we’ll contact you to set up a meeting.