Starting proposals or polls

Basics, tips, and tricks for writing and using decision tools.


Title and Details

Writing proposals

Include enough details so everyone knows what it means to agree or disagree.

Avoid combining a range of ideas in one proposal, because people might agree to some aspects but not others and be unsure how to respond. You can break complex decisions down into multiple proposals.

When making a proposal, state your expectations and describe the impact the proposal will have if adopted. If it’s a formal or binding proposal it’s often worth describing what a ‘disagree’ or ‘block’ means.

You might want to explore a few ways of using proposals, below, for some guidance and inspiration.

Attachments

You can attach files to decisions using the 📎 attachment button just underneath the details form on the right. You will be prompted to select a file from your device or a link from the cloud (e.g., the URL of a file, or sharing link, from Drive or Dropbox).

Dates and Duration

Closing time

Consider how the proposal closing time will affect engagement from your group members, and choose accordingly. You might want to time the proposal so it closes before a meeting, or avoid closing over a weekend.

Beyond considerations of inclusion (enough time) and urgency (deadlines), you may want to give additional consideration to the date and time the poll closes, as Loomio will send a reminder 24 hours before it closes. You can sometimes improve engagement if your group members receive this at a time when they can respond right away.

You can extend the deadline of an open proposal. This can be a good idea if engagement is active and people are working through the issue, or if engagement has been sparse and you’d like to prompt more participation before concluding. To do so, edit the poll or proposal to change the closing time.

Invite Members

It’s good to let people know when you’re taking a poll or a vote. After you start your proposal you will see a box allowing you to Invite to vote, where you will have the opportunity to select Members of group or Members of thread, or input the names of some of your group. You can select all and then remove some people from the list. This will send a notification to all those listed.

Invite guests or experts

Similar to the Invite to thread feature, if you input the email of someone outside your group in the Invite to vote form, they will be given access to only that proposal or poll, and that alone. They will be able to see the decision title, details, and attachments; vote; and see other votes, but they will not have access to the thread or its comments, or anything else in the group.

No sign in needed

The same applies if you check Anyone with the link can participate and give that link to someone outside your group.

This means anyone can vote without signing in. They just enter their name, email address and vote all at the same time.

Step-by-step for all decision tools

  1. Author starts a discussion thread, and invites members. At any point, a member can start a decision, using any of the available Loomio decision tools
  2. Member sets up the decision with title, details and options
  3. People participate
  4. People can change their minds as understanding develops
  5. A reminder is sent out the day before closing
  6. The poll closes, and everyone is informed of the results
  7. The author sets an outcome, notifying everyone of what will happen next.

Ways of using proposals

Uncover the controversy

E.g. Let’s put a bike stand next to the front desk

If there are two or more competing ideas, propose supporting one. Controversial topics might require a series of proposals to build shared understanding.

Series of small Yes’s

E.g. We host the conference; dates and venue to be confirmed later

Break down a complex issue into smaller parts and agree on them piece by piece.

Polarising Minority

E.g. Share our pay rates publicly

Sometimes loud voices can seem like they are representing more of the group than they really are. Raise a proposal to put their views in perspective.

Temperature Check

E.g. Temperature Check: we should change the privacy policy

A temperature check is a way to test how the group feels without concluding a fully realized proposal. Use it when you want to survey opinions, or test a hunch, rather than advocate for a particular position.

On disagreement

‘Disagree’ and ‘block’ are often controversial positions to take. We encourage you to see them as opportunities to understand where communication has been inadequate, points of view are under-represented, or as a source of valuable insight.

If things feel tense on a personal level, we recommend that you talk one on one with the person to hear their concerns.