Increasing personal connection between HOA members is central to the association’s goal to preserve property values and build a stronger sense of community. Life in a community association provides tremendous value – from orderly, attractive common areas to exciting amenities – however, dedicating time to build a stronger sense of community can often get put on the back burner.
Here’s how HOA boards can prioritize connection between neighbors and build stronger interpersonal bridges between residents:
Create a more welcoming environment by making sure the membership is informed and included in decision-making. Throwing back the curtain on issues facing the association makes community residents feel more involved and lets them know their input is valued. Some ways to demonstrate transparency and openness are:
- Make a concerted effort to remind all community members that their presence is welcome at open session board meetings
- Use digital conferencing tools like Zoom to make meeting attendance even more convenient
- Share the “why” behind HOA policies and proposed rule changes
- Listen with an open mind: community members feel valued when they are heard
Increase the frequency and detail of communications
Today’s association members are accustomed to receiving communications on multiple platforms from every organization that touches their lives. They expect the same from their HOA. Gone are the days of printed, hand-distributed community newsletters. Residents expect notifications through their preferred communication methods at any hour of the day or night. The 24/7 feedback opportunities available from other businesses mean they also expect to be able to reach out on their own timetable via phone, text, email, website, social media, or in-person meetings.
Community association management leaders should excel at communicating on all of these platforms, ensuring that a consistent message is propagated across each. The more fluently your board can communicate across every medium, the more involved community members will feel. Your association manager can help you set up and maintain new communication platforms if they are not currently in use at your association.
Demonstrate the full value of assessments
HOA members become disengaged or sometimes downright contentious when they cannot see the direct translation of their monthly assessments into lifestyle-enhancing benefits. It’s up to the association’s board to show a clear connection between the fees that association members pay and what they receive in return.
In addition to the numerous behind-the-scenes expenses that go into successful community association management, remind HOA members of the outcomes of their assessments by directing the funds toward fun, engaging initiatives that include everyone.
Use the communication platforms above to illustrate the clear connection between members’ assessments and lifestyle-enhancing projects like community-wide events, seasonal decorations, improvements to common areas, landscaping initiatives, amenities upgrades, and more.
Assume best intentions
People take their home environment very personally, so issues can escalate quickly. Approach every interaction with an open mind and a willingness to listen. Board members have a fiduciary responsibility to the community, which means protecting the association’s best interests – while representing the will and desires of the residents who live in the community. Familiarize yourself with the community’s rules and regulations so you can do a better job of explaining the reasoning behind certain decisions. Practice patience as you listen to homeowners. Weigh their input carefully against every decision.
Using the above methods shows the membership that their interests are always top-of-mind as everyone works toward achieving the shared goal of a successful HOA.
Want more ideas on how to build stronger relationships in your HOA? Our community association management experts can help.