How to Run an Naming Contest with Ranked-Choice Voting
What's in a name?
Names matter. Names have power. They aid in understanding. They form identity. That's why figuring out the right name is often a daunting task.
But, with ranked-choice voting, you can engage your entire group around this task and come up with the answer that has the most support. That's as close to "right" as you can hope for.
Whether your contest is to find a name for a team, club, business, app, or any other group, running a ranked-choice naming contest is great way to get everyone involved and build camaraderie.
Why use Ranked-Choice Voting for Naming Contests?
Any time you're making a decision with more than two choices and where voters have equal say, ranked-choice voting is the right tool for the job. To win, a choice must get broad support from a majority of voters – not just the passionate support of a vocal minority. The final result ends up closer to what voters actually think is best.
And it's fun! The round-by-round eliminations and vote distributions naturally build excitement. May the best name win!
Steps to Run a Naming Contest with Ranked-Choice Voting
The first step is to collect all the names. This could be through a nomination process held with your group. Aim for 5-12 choices overall. Having more than 12 options to wade through can overload voters.
Create the Contest
Now, that you’ve got your list of names figured out, it's time to create the contest!
RankedVote gives you all the tools you need to easily set up the ranked-choice ballots and calculate the results. There are other options, but you’re signing yourself up for hours of manual work buried inside of spreadsheets. Not fun. The following steps describe how to create a naming contest in RankedVote.
Strategic question to answer first
Will you embed the voting experience directly onto your site?
This is highly recommended. By keeping your visitors on your site, they stay engaged with your naming contest. And, you’re likely to get more responses than if you link off to the voting experience.
The only caveat is that it involves adding an embedded iframe to your site. RankedVote makes the code copy/paste for you. But, if you don’t have privileges to add iframes or custom HTML on your site, you’ll need to ask your website administrator for assistance.
Add the contest
After signing up for RankedVote, you’ll be walked through a wizard where you create your first “contest” and add the “choices.” If you’ve only got one category, this is all you need to do. If you’ve got multiple categories, then you’ll want to make this contest “multi-category” or create separate contests.
Place Onto Your Site
If you’re embedding the art contest on your site, you’ll copy/paste the “Embed Code” for the Vote Page into your website.
If you’re not embedding, click the Vote Link button which will copy the URL to your clipboard. From there you can add it to any link on your page.
NOTE: For a live example of how RankedVote looks when embedded onto a page, check the Demo page.
Promote to Voters
Now for the exciting part – the voting!
To maximize participation, saturate your channels with messaging and links to the contest. That means your home page, social media, email, and any other digital channel you have to communicate with your group. You can even use QR codes to bring people in from physical locations.
Calculate the Results
If you’re using RankedVote, this is the easy part. Results are automatically calculated in real-time. The results page not only tells you who won, but also visualizes and explains how the ranked-choice eliminations and vote redistribution works.
It’s also a best practice to keep these results to yourself until voting has concluded. In RankedVote, that means setting the “Results Visibility” to “Only contest creator” until you’re ready for the winner announcement.
Announce the Winners
This is the moment everyone has been waiting for! Saturate your channels once again with the results. Celebrate the new name. Bond over it. Put it on shirts. Whatever it is...have fun!