The 2006 Region 6 Popularity Poll proved to be an all-time success story! We had a record number of votes, a record number of cultivars nominated, and a race down to the wire for the winner, which was Hemerocallis 'Red Volunteer'. But the real story was the methods used to literally MORE THAN DOUBLE the total number of votes from last year to this year. Here is what we did:
First, I put together a contest where I would give away my 3 new introductions plus one of Jack Carpenter's, but I changed the focus of the contest. Rather than give it to an individual, I would give the collection of 4 daylilies to the CLUB with the highest overall voter turnout and to the club with the highest percentage of voters who vote. I informed the clubs that the winners could then auction these cultivars off as fund raisers for their club's coffers. Now hopefully a greater incentive was in place.
Next, our Region 6 Webmaster, Ray Houston, put the contest front and center on our Region 6 Web Site with pictures of the cultivars being given away and details of the contest along with my e-mail address.
But by far I believe the next step was what made the biggest difference. I contacted every club President that had e-mail and informed them of the contest. I made it clear to them that I believed a BIG part of their responsibility to American Hemerocallis Society was to get their members to vote, and I then asked them to assign a Popularity Poll Chair for each club that was responsible for getting the vote out. As e-mails started coming in, I compiled them all in an Excel file, sorted by their individual clubs, and each week I would e-mail each club President the names of all who had voted for all clubs. As they would see these updates, it pressured them to see some clubs POURING in the votes, and I would implore all of them via more e-mail notes that their clubs were or were not doing the job in getting out the vote.
Our Region 6 RVP, Jim Petty, sent out a separate mailing to all registered voters with the Popularity Poll Ballot in it and my mailing address. This led to many of those voters who were unaware of the contest or were not local club members to also be able to get their vote in. This increased the total yet a bit more.
All of the above combined into a snowball effect. As my e-mails to the club Presidents with each week's update included in it kept growing, more and more of our club Presidents really dug down deep so their clubs would be well represented. The end result was multiple clubs had 100% participation! Unbelievable but thrilling!
First: Club Presidents desperately need to be on e-mail. They are their club's top influencing officer, and they can "lead" by example while also contacting their individual club members to support the cause. Rather than the RPD trying to get all the members to vote, have each club President be responsible for getting out their club's vote. San Antonio Daylily Society assigned a Popularity Poll Director, Steve Wingfield, and he contacted every single member and basically badgered them until he got 100% of the club's voters to vote.
Second: An individual separate mailing like Jim Petty did definitely helped increase the vote. They did not have to cut out the ballot, nor did they forget about it as they read their Newsletter. Having it by itself in an envelope helped them focus on filling it out and sending it in.
Third: E-mail is by far the most powerful method of voting. Your putting the ballot on the American Hemerocallis Society website and Ray Houston's putting it on the Region 6 web site were difference makers.
Fourth: The weekly updating via Excel made it easy for each club President to identify their members who had or had not voted. I alphabetized each list for each club so it took them only a glance to see who had voted and who had not. Needless to say, when their club's list initially had only 2 or 3 people on it, the "embarrassment" aspect kicked in and I imagine led them to contacting members themselves to get the vote out. It worked!
WAY TO GO REGION 6 !!!
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