AFC Wimbledon is proud to be a fan-owned club, and the ultimate decision makers on many important issues are the people that Dons Trust members elect to the Dons Trust board.
Each year, generally between October and December, since it was first set up in 2002 the Dons Trust has an election to decide the people who they want to set the direction of the football club.
Whilst Dons Trust board are unpaid, the elected board members have a key responsibility in ensuring that the fans have a voice in the way our club is run.
The election process is run each year by an Elections Steering Group (ESG) and this year the group is being chaired jointly by David Hall (former Dons Trust Secretary) and Matt Breach (former Dons Trust Chair). They are being supported once again this year by Julian Edwards, George Jones and independent scrutineer, Neil Springate (from Fulham Supporters Trust), overseen by Martin Newton (the current Dons Trust Secretary).
David sets out below the process which is being followed in 2022 and Matt then gives some closing thoughts on the role of a board member.
The nominations process
The timetable for the election was originally scheduled for the postponed Leyton Orient game but was published shortly after on the club and Dons Trust websites.
The nominations process for the annual elections to the board was announced on 8 October when all members should also have had a letter or email explaining the arrangements for this year along with links to the information on the Dons Trust website.
The Election Rules and Nomination Form were published with the Announcement. As in previous years candidates wishing to stand must complete the nomination form and get two current members to propose them.
Anyone wanting to stand is also required to provide a manifesto of 800 words setting out why you wish to become a Dons Trust board member. You are also expected to provide a 120 word ‘mini-manifesto’ along with a recent picture of yourself which will appear in a forthcoming match programme (probably the rearranged Leyton Orient game scheduled for Tuesday 8 November).
This year there will be five two-year vacancies on the board and one one-year vacancy arising out of Graham Stacey’s decision to stand down mid-term at the Annual General Meeting this December.
If there are more than six people standing, there will be an election and the person finishing sixth will serve a one-year term.
Other requirements for standing this year are set out in the Rules and with the Nomination Form. Prospective candidates are also encouraged to read the new ‘Guidance for board candidates’ which have been issued by the Dons Trust board including Terms of Reference for the four theme groups which the board will be operating: ‘Community’, ‘Culture & Mission’, ‘Member Services & Engagement’ and ‘Oversight’. Candidates are encouraged to identify which theme group they wish to sit on in their manifesto.
If you wish to stand you need to submit all the required information to the Elections Steering Group by no later than 11.59pm on 29 October to email@example.com.
Should you have any queries please email us at the same address or contact one of the ESG members pre match on the Dons Trust Stall. We will be in attendance at today’s match and again for the Crewe match on Tuesday 25 October and the Harrogate match on Saturday 29 October (the final day of submission).
The elections process
Should there be an election, manifestos will be published on-line (and by post) around 2 November.
Hustings are being arranged with 9 Year Podcast again. Details will be announced shortly by them but are currently scheduled for the weekend of 5/6 November. Other hustings may be announced as appropriate.
Candidates are encouraged to campaign using Pro-boards and other facilities. If anyone has queries on the process or wishes to arrange hustings (virtual or in person) please contact the ESG at: firstname.lastname@example.org
This year we have also set up a separate email address specifically for the independent scrutineer should you wish to raise any queries about the process with Neil. The address for that is: email@example.com
Ballots will be sent out by mail or online (via Smart Survey this year) on 12 November. The closing date for ballots is 3 December at 11.59pm (electronic ballots).
Reminders will also be sent out during the process. If you cannot find your ballot form, please do check your spam and junk mail before contacting the ESG, although we will endeavour to assist with any lost ballot forms.
In order to vote (and stand) you need to be a paid-up member on 30 October. For any membership enquiries please contact firstname.lastname@example.org
Standing for election
Putting your name up in lights and standing for election can be a daunting prospect, but please do consider whether you could make a difference to our club by lending your skills. Matt says ‘whilst it was often hard work, the 12 years I served on the DTb were incredibly rewarding – the feeling I still get looking at the stadium and seeing the team and thinking “I helped get us here” is amazing. Not only did I contribute using my project management experience, I also learned a lot of new things about running a business that have also helped my “real” career – so it is a superb development opportunity. If you think you can help – go for it!’
Don’t know if anyone has realised that the downloadable paper application form for The Dons Trust membership still isn’t available from the website.
Availability of membership forms should be as wide and as inclusive as possible .