For the first time ever, we had a online vote at Northridge. It was to approve the purchase of a piece of property for $90,000 with money from our surplus. Here are a few things we've learned in the process:
- More people participate if you make it easier for them to participate. We had more people vote than we would have if we did it on a Sunday night service. More participate because not everyone is available on Sunday nights (work, travel, some elderly don't drive at night, etc…), and because it is more convenient.
- We can give better information to more people through an online vote. The vote included a five minute video explaning the situation. Doing it through an online video allows for more information to be shared with more people than a voluntary meeting.
- Making things convenient doesn't mean they aren't important. We say that everyone needs to be there for Sunday AM and in a Community Group. Other than that – we offer "options." To vote during one of those "options" (Sunday night Vertical Worship) makes it feel like just an option. We thinking voting is important – so if it's important, we want to make it convenient.
- The Church needs to utilize technology. The Church of Jesus Christ always seems to be a decade behind (or more) when it comes to technology. For example – all of my daughters have checking accounts, but I don't think any of them have ever written a check. Those under 30 rarely carry cash at all. But a large majority of churches only offer giving via cash or check. It is the same with education and small things like voting. People live much of their lives online. if we don't respond to that – we shouldn't be shocked when people think the church is out of date.
- It is hard to communicate clearly online. We had asked people to check two boxes saying they are a member of the church and they are filling out the form themselves. Almost 50 people didn't check one or both boxes, and we think it was an issue of confusion. We need to make it more clear next time.
The first four are reasons we decided to try voting online, and by the response we will do it again.
By the way – the vote passed at 99%! There was one no vote and two abstentions (which count as 'no' votes).
Thanks for participating. It will happen again next month… more to come.