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Creating Connected and Inclusive Communities

Among the many benefits it provides, an HOA management company helps the board of directors achieve two central goals. First, securing property values by ensuring the association is well-kept and making good financial decisions, and second, creating a sense of community, the latter of which contributes wholeheartedly to the first objective.

When people take pride in their homes and feel connected with one another, it motivates everyone to do their individual part to improve the collective whole. Sometimes a well-connected community can happen organically through the efforts of actively engaged homeowners, but more often than not, it’s up to board members to nudge neighbors in the right direction in order to make connections.

The question is: where to get started? We’re sharing three ways to help you bring people together, inspire creative solutions, and create a thriving community association that can be felt by everyone.

Communication, Communication, Communication

An essential part of creating a community feeling is a deliberate and continual attempt to make members feel like they’re important to the neighborhood. One way to achieve this is through frequent and transparent communication. Monthly community newsletters and relevant email blasts that outline plans and goals for the community can help members understand the why and how of decisions being made. It also holds the board and HOA management company accountable to stay on track with progress.

Sometimes there’s an initial communication about where funds are allocated for a project, but then no follow-up to show where the money has been spent. It’s beneficial to send emails and/or post updates regarding the status of an ongoing project and the anticipated time of completion. This prevents homeowners from being left wondering what’s happening behind the scenes. Make it a priority to keep communication and the connection strong by letting members know how their HOA dues are making a positive difference.

In addition to newsletters and email blasts, a designated web portal for homeowners is a great way for everyone to easily and conveniently access information. Partnering with an experienced and involved management team like Keystone plays an important part in communication because we will help you determine which communication methods will be most effective in reaching the members.

Inclusivity to Promote Greater Connection

It’s also important to approach inclusivity in multiple ways to invite a greater neighborhood connection and higher event participation, which serves as an advantage to your community and property value. Since most communities have a broad range of age, cultural, and family demographics, open up event and social club opportunities that allow everyone to feel represented.

One idea is to host cultural-specific events, in addition to hosting traditional holiday or seasonal events, like a 4th of July picnic or Halloween party. Crowdsource ideas by sending out a community-wide survey annually to get an idea of what events, activities, and amenities interest your community the most and which are no longer deemed relevant. By using surveys, board members can assess direct member feedback to apply to the decision-making and planning process. Not only does it give members a chance to have their voices heard but it also provides the board an opportunity to get greater buy-in on how association dues are spent.

Additionally, surveys give the community a chance to provide feedback with regards to the timing of each event which can lead to greater attendance. You may learn some prefer weekend mornings, while others find weekday afternoons are more suitable. There are members who may seek kid-friendly opportunities, while others want more adult-focused activities like a gardening club or bunco. The goal is to stay current with what the community is most interested in.

Another factor to consider is the event location. Depending on the size of the community and its amenity sets, find opportunities to host events at a variety of locations. Consider convenient locations that cater to the largest demographic as well as switching things up on occasion to generate new interest. Meeting at the clubhouse or pool may not suit everyone, particularly in a larger community. Try hosting an event at a park, sports court, or other common areas.

When conducting surveys or simply speaking with members one-to-one, responsiveness is key. Open dialogue and receptivity encourage people to want to engage further or increase their investment in the community. Share information as much as possible but be ready to listen and respond, too.

Engagement Led by Grassroot Efforts

Lastly, look to members of the community who are already involved and regularly show up to events to establish possible future leaders. While welcome events and meet-and-greets could be an annual community event, encourage members to propose their own ideas for social committees and activities as well. Let members know they can address the board during the homeowner’s forum at monthly meetings to propose ideas and create association-approved clubs, especially if they hope to utilize the community’s amenities and resources.

Because of changing demographics and differences from community to community, what works for one may not work for another. Let members feel a sense of ownership in creating the community feeling that will resonate with them. Build upon those who are already invested and allow them to disperse their efforts and motivation to their neighbors.

Highlighting the Value of Where You Live

Creating a community feeling is a two-way street. It involves excellent communication between the board and its members to both relay information and respond to feedback. Transparency, inclusivity, and positive engagement all increase the level of connection and satisfaction that members will feel toward the association. These practices can yield multiple benefits. Not only will community members feel connected with one another, but it can often lead to a greater sense of security.

When neighbors know one another and are familiar with regular visitors to the community, it can help determine when something “unusual” or suspicious may be occurring. Knowing that your neighbors have your back can enhance the safety of the community.  These types of efforts create positive word of mouth and a desirous reputation that can enhance property values.

One of the fundamental benefits of having an HOA management company like Keystone is that we will guide your board and provide examples of what’s been successful with tips to encourage greater participation among your members. Together, we can create that true sense of community everyone craves.

Looking for fresh ideas to help reach your community goals? Contact us today to get the conversation started.

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