‘Elect Us’ Takes On NFPs of the Future
1 April 2014 at 8:37 am
It’s dateline 2020 and policy consultant and NFP leader, Moira Deslandes, reviews a new online platform in a new world of Not for Profit corporatisation and board transparency.
Elect Us an online platform connecting elected officials, candidates seeking endorsements and would be representatives has gone to the next level adding a Not for Profit where the dates of all Annual General Meetings are listed, names and contacts of all Board directors are recorded.
Data available includes voting records, annual reports and membership lists. The competition to be elected on Not for Profit boards went to new heights in 2019 when national legislation was passed to subject Not for Profits to all aspects of corporation law. Being on a Not for Profit for a minimum of five years was legislated as a prerequisite for any publicly listed board.
Elect Us took off during 2016 Federal Election campaign when the mainstream media failed to report grass root campaigns around climate change, asylum seekers and food security that had attracted more than 30 per cent of all Australians.
Elect Us asserts how the lack of confidence in mainstream media has a direct relationship to demographics and digital competency. The younger you are and the more experience with online connectivity, the more likely you will be on Elect Us and other similar platforms. The number of people over 75 who have opted out of all political processes due to ill health and in particular dementia and cardiovascular disease has given those listed on Elect Us an edge. Readers may remember that the 2016 review of Federal electoral results showed that over 70 per cent of the informal votes were from voters over 75.
The attempt to increase social connectivity via online means for older Australians was not supported with funds to increase brain functioning via games and apps despite the evidence. The aged digital divide was further evidenced with health results in the late 2010s. Elect Us proclaims that being listed on their platform also builds communities of interest around the key issues.
Research shows that empathy and compassion are central and are effective antidotes to selfishness and self-centredness. Elect Us builds on this idea by helping voters – whether they are interested in a representative at the National, local or community levels – to connect and reduce the emotional distance between the person seeking your vote and the voter themselves.
Not for Profits not able to keep quorate or meet basic governance requirements are finding their competitors turning to Elect Us to make takeover bids and mergers. The idea of “stacking” with memberships has made some NFPs vulnerable. Boards who have systematically reviewed their membership requirements and kept those systems well managed and monitored are reaping the benefits of compliance with the basics.
AffordAccom the housing association for low income earners and international volunteers on short-term trips to Australia were one of the first exposed by a listing.
In an earnest effort by their CEO to recruit new board members, found herself subject to a takeover bid by former tenants who were able to raise funds through a community bank ethical start-up enterprise grant. AffordAccom’s CEO, Tiff Warrant has been with the organisation for 15 years and has generally recruited past tenants to the Board and the turnover of Directors was very high, which meant corporate memory was retained almost exclusively by the CEO. AffordAccom have an online meeting of members in a week’s time and it is expected that a new Board will be formed and the CEO will be looking for a new job.
Level Head, a disability specialist advisory service to the hotel and alcoholic beverage industries had a different story to tell. They listed on Elect Us as a way of making their business more visible and to promote understanding as well as well as to promote their aspiring leaders.
This organisation has had five Directors elected to top ten boards in the past three years and two have gone onto be elected to Parliament including one becoming a Federal minister. Level Head President, Jed Fry said Elect Us has made their work more transparent and helped the organisation connect with individuals including thought leaders who had once been opponents. President Fry said he thought this was due to their Board members being willing to join in the discourse of important issues before they took decisions at Board level.
It attracted Directors prepared to connect, build relationships and use their social media capital to support the organisation. This in turn has attracted donations and funders from new sources.
Backstory: Elect Us begun as a platform to advocate for the direct election of a President for the Australian Republic in 2016 and was first called Elect One of Us. It was sold to a community cooperative of 5,000 members and continues to be run by the co-op formed on a crowdfunding platform in 2015.
About the Author: Moira Deslandes has worked from the kitchen table to the cabinet table as a direct service social worker, to Chief of Staff to a minister in Government. She is currently the Senior Policy and Carer Engagement Officer at Carers SA.
Post Script from the Author: To the best of my knowledge this platform does not exist and what follows is fiction. If someone wants to establish Elect Us as a platform I publicly declare I will track you down for my share of the IP.