Turn a conversation into an action.
Loomio includes a number of tools to help you progress a discussion to an outcome.
A proposal is for converting a discussion into a clear, practical outcome. Someone suggests a course of action and invites everyone to respond. For example, you might ask group members to agree, abstain or disagree. Other proposal options are available to suit common decision-making processes.
As people vote, they can give a reason why they have voted this way. You can all see where everyone else stands on the matter, and why. And then, if the proposal is still open, you can change your response.
In this way you can use proposals to prompt people for a response, uncover new information, and build shared understanding - to help your group make a better, more informed decision.
A proposal and associated discussion, creates its own record of how the decision came about.
Poll: to ask people which option/s they approve.
Check: think of it as asking everyone to (please) 'raise your hand if you…'
Time poll: to find the best time for the group meet.
Score poll: to ask people to express the strength of their preference for each option, on a numerical scale.
Dot vote: to ask people to express the strength of their preferences, with a constraint—a fixed number of ‘dots’ to allocate–you can put all your dots in one place or spread them out.
Ranked choice: to rank a subset of options—useful for elections when there are many candidates and few seats.
There are a number of types of proposals, but the basics remain the same for all of them.
- You choose to use a poll or proposal (within a thread)
- You name it, describe the question or proposal it represents, and set its duration
- You notify group members (typically all, but you may select none or specific...)
- Group members participate and share a tweet-length message with their selection
- They can change their minds as understanding develops; live results are available
- A reminder is sent out the day before closing
- The poll closes, and everyone can see the results
- The author sets an outcome, notifying everyone of what will happen next.
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, for some guidance and inspiration.
You can attach files to decisions using the paperclip icon, just underneath the details form. You will be prompted to select a file from your device.
When you choose a Closing time, Loomio will let you know the length of time in which participants will be able to participate in the proposal or poll. During this window, people can submit their position or choice and leave a reason, and they can also edit these if they think on it again or receive new information or ideas, perhaps from others' votes.
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.
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.
Similar to the invite people feature, if you input the email of someone outside your group in the invite people to vote form they will be given permission to participate in only that proposal or poll; however, they will be able to see the whole thread in which their participation has been invited (but not any of the group's content beyond that). They will not be able to comment or participate in other proposals or polls even though they can see those that are in the same thread.
If a poll closes earlier than what is ideal for your group arriving to a clear shared outcome, you might want to reopen it, setting a new closing time.
Similarly, if you no longer need to let the poll or proposal continue, you can choose close to end it before its closing date. Don't forget to set an outcome so everyone is clear on where you got to and/or what's next!
There are some universal options that apply to most of the proposals and polls that Loomio offers. If you're interested in a specific tool's options (eg, the time poll's if need be option) see the section on the relevant tool… → Types of proposals and polls
If you tick the Anonymous voters box, participant information will not be recorded with each response. This means that you will never know who chose which positions or shared which responses.
You can be certain the box was ticked by you, or the person who started it, when you see the text, "Votes are anonymous".
When selected, you will be notified whenever someone participates – within the app, and by email (by default).
For all polls except the Count. When selected, participants may add their own options when voting.
When users add options the person who created the poll will be notified.
Select this option if you want results to be hidden until the poll or proposal closes.
The poll will appear as below until the poll closes.
Once the poll is closed, you will see the results and be invited to leave an outcome as normal.
Export the stances and outcome of a poll as a spreadsheet (.csv) file. Click the three horizontal dots (⋯) at the bottom of the poll or proposal – you will find it to the right of invite people to vote – and click Export.
Don't hesitate to start a proposal just because you're not sure everyone will agree - proposals are not only for when you have consensus, they're designed to surface issues that need resolving and are useful for clarifying disagreements. We have identified a number of ways to take advantage and step towards clear, shared outcomes, from a 'series of small yeses' to 'temperature checks'… → Ways of using proposals
To keep learning how to best use proposals and polls, read on…