Many homeowners association boards ask us how they can get more people involved in their community’s HOA management. The inherent issue is that an HOA board is pulling from a group of people who already lead busy lives. Serving on the board is a volunteer position with no pay and no huge incentive, other than a desire to continue to make sure that the community is a great place to live. Great board members are out there, they just might not know it yet. Here’s how to find them.
Create an atmosphere that is conducive to volunteering
Make sure that the way your board operates publicly and in closed sessions is a welcoming atmosphere. It just makes sense: no one wants to sit on a caustic board fraught with negativity. Everyone should be civic-minded and intent on making decisions that directly impact the association in a positive way.
Maintain a productive working atmosphere where everyone is treated equally and every opinion is heard and carefully considered. This starts with how the board conducts itself at open board meetings: when residents show up, make sure that you provide a constructive forum where everyone is treated fairly. This sets the tone for how the board operates and shows potential board members that yours is a productive and positive environment.
Set up a training ground through your committees
Volunteering to be part of a committee is a great way for an association member to get a sense of what’s involved in homeowners association management. Many HOAs have landscape committees, architectural control committees, finance or maintenance committees. By serving on a committee that interests them, a potential board member undertakes some responsibility but isn’t tasked with the full commitment of serving on the board. This type of involvement shows potential board members the day-to-day workings of the board and the positive impact their input can have on the association.
Share information to generate interest
When an election is on the horizon, begin to conduct a more rigorous campaign about what it means to serve on the board of directors. Many association members have no idea what’s expected of a board member, so they never consider running for a seat. Use your community’s newsletter and website to share details of the roles and responsibilities of the board. Feature profiles of current board members or interviews with past board members discussing their involvement and the outcomes of their service. Always end with a call-to-action encouraging potential candidates to learn more.
Create an ongoing call for candidates
Don’t limit yourself to a one-time call for candidates just prior to an election. Let your members know that your board is always looking for interested people to participate in your community’s HOA management. Conduct a rigorous and ongoing campaign using multiple communication touch points, including your community newsletter, website and social media posts. Your homeowners association management company can help you develop a strategy that uses these resources to solicit interest.
When it comes to determining their eligibility to serve, your community’s bylaws will outline the requirements. Your management company can help you find the specifics.
If you’re thinking of running for a seat on your community’s board, here are a few tips to keep in mind:
• Run for a seat if you want to support the overall success of the community, not just because you’re interested in a single issue.
• Everyone in the running has an opportunity to present a Candidacy Statement. Use this as an opportunity to introduce yourself to the membership and share your vision for the community.
• Make sure you can remain open-minded, even if someone disagrees with you. Your role is to carefully consider all sides of an issue and make thoughtful decisions.
• Speak to current and former board members about what to expect. Their input can give you a clearer perspective of how you can contribute.
Serving on your HOA board can be a rewarding process that enables you to make a tangible impact on your community. If you have questions about serving on the board of your homeowners association, speak with your property manager or call us to discuss.