National Trust

Case Study

Working alongside The National Trust for over 30 years

We have administered the National Trust’s Proxy Voting and Annual General Meeting continuously for 30 years. Working with the Trust, we provide consultancy and a comprehensive range of services, to ensure that the proxy vote and AGM run smoothly, while maximising membership engagement.


We are responsible for dealing with all voting procedures before and during the Annual General Meeting. This includes:

  • Checking the legal completion of the proxy forms including signature checks
  • Document scanning of proxy voting instructions on numerous resolutions and between 20-30 Council election candidates
  • Provision of FREEPOST response license for voting forms
  • Dealing with third-party proxy holders, preparing documentation for them to collect at the Annual General Meeting and guidance on the day
  • Receipt of completed voting and proxy forms over a 6-week period
  • Provision of our SMARTvote hand held system, for members attending the AGM
  • Delivering a final result at the meeting, by combining the votes captured using SMARTvote™ with the proxy votes received prior to the AGM
  • Securely storing ballot material for agreed period.

In addition, we help with registration and train the Trust’s staff to use our bespoke meetings database, to register around 500 attendees.

Encouraging members to vote online

As part of this work, and in line with the Trust’s focus on environmental sustainability, we help the organisation to enable and encourage members to vote online. The National Trust has 5.2 million members from a mixed demographic, many of which prefer to vote by post. To encourage more to vote online, it is important that the process is intuitive and accessible.

To encourage more members to vote online, we introduced a ‘how to cast your vote’ video explainer, guiding members through the process of casting a vote electronically. In 2016, the video was viewed 1,694 times. In 2017, the video received 19,014 views and the % of voting members choosing to cast their vote electronically rose from 49% to 52%, making electronic voting the most popular method to return a vote for National Trust members in 2017.

Online voting is enabled using our ERSvotes software. We design, manage and host an online voting website and provide randomly generated codes for secure online voting. The website is branded and tailored to meet the Trust’s needs.

What our client thinks

Having worked with ERS for so long, they know us and our regulatory framework well. They also have a wealth of experience, so we can be confident that we are receiving best advice. Our voting processes need to appeal to all ages if we are to engage effectively with our members. We have been delighted with recent levels of participation, particularly the increase in online voting as this helps to reduce cost as well as our carbon footprint.

The support we get from the ERS team for our AGM and proxy voting is excellent and the systems and processes are always current and secure. It is great to have a partner we can trust.

Jo Cooke, Deputy Secretary, National Trust