- Use case
- Community meetings
It was inspiring to see people really wanting to be engaged and having the opportunity to do so. Finding a way to connect is great, especially when we're sheltering in place and away from other people. Poll Everywhere gives everyone a chance to share where they’re at, which is a wonderful addition to any online meeting.
Karol Brown, managing attorney and founder of World One Law Group, incorporated Poll Everywhere as a way to hear from everyone at Democratic Party meetings. “Given the pandemic, we had to run our meetings online. Much of that went relatively smoothly, but we really needed an ability to have an adequate voting system for our members.”
Hearing from key voices
Karol first started looking for solutions before the party’s endorsements meeting. “We were desperate because these votes would determine who we, as a group, recommend people vote for. These are meaningful decisions and we didn’t want to allow just anyone to vote. It made such a difference in terms of who we supported as an organization, who we gave money to, and who we recommended in our get out the vote efforts.”
That’s when another member suggested Poll Everywhere after using it in her work. “Poll Everywhere was so easy to use. I created the questions, dropped them into our PowerPoint, and they automatically loaded in the slides. The first time I used it, I think it took me a total of forty minutes to add in all the questions, all the votes, and even some fun icebreakers at the beginning. I was so impressed by how easy it was, how quick it was to learn, and how intuitive it was for people to use it.”
By registering participants in advance, Karol could ensure that only eligible attendees would be participating in key votes. “Having a system where we could restrict activities to registered participants eliminated the need for a roll call vote, which is so painful. Poll Everywhere was simple and transparent. Participants who were eligible to vote could use the link, which they already had from the icebreakers at the beginning of the meeting. That allowed them to use their phone or their computer to vote on a simple multiple choice question and see results on the screen, just like you can see who has their hand raised in a room. At a glance, we could see whether we had a two-thirds majority.”
Karol works with a diverse group at Democratic Party meetings, and she found that participating in Poll Everywhere activities was easy across the board.
We have members that range from eighteen-year-old high school students who are very tech savvy to older members who aren’t as familiar with new software, but everyone could use their smartphones or the website to respond. Especially with the icebreaker templates we could repurpose, it was so easy for people to feel like as opposed to being talked to, they were really engaged in the conversation.
As Karol and the group become more comfortable with the software, she’s been trying different activity types and features. For example, “We used a word cloud where participants described how they’re feeling about the state of the world in one or two words. That was really powerful. I was really surprised because we could see the most common words growing and people really resonated with the results.”
Next, Karol is looking forward to trying a Q&A activity when collecting questions for guest speakers. “The chat feature on videoconferencing platforms works really well for people who are on a laptop or a tablet, but it’s not as easy to use for everyone else. When we have elected officials join our meetings, we gather questions from the audience. I’ve been thinking of doing that with Poll Everywhere just because it’s more accessible. That way, someone joining on their phone can even text their question.”
Recently, as elections approach, the membership committee has used Poll Everywhere to collect names for activities like participating in phone banks or sign waving. “It's amazing how we’ve found techniques that work in an online format even better than in real life. We used to pass around a clipboard collecting volunteers’ names, but that didn’t work very well. Having those activities where people can sign up on their devices makes it much easier, faster, and more engaging to gather information. The results on the screen make people more interested in participating, especially now when everyone’s feeling so isolated.”
After the meeting, Karol and the team have actionable next steps. After volunteers sign up for a timeslot, she can identify their responses since they’re registered in her account and remind them of upcoming activities they signed up for. Also, since these meetings are public, Karol can look back at Poll Everywhere results to report on vote outcomes in the meeting minutes.
I think we’re getting more engagement because of the fact that we’re online. People can just sit down in front of their computer as they’re having dinner and participate. We started using Poll Everywhere as an emergency solution for virtual meetings during the pandemic and I think we’re going to continue because it adds a whole new dimension of ease and accuracy to our meetings.