In too many community associations, the HOA board works in isolation and the homeowners have little idea of what they’re doing. That’s not ideal. The healthiest home owners associations are those with an engaged membership. Homeowner involvement gives the board a better perspective on what the community wants. It promotes better decision-making, and it can help lighten the board’s load via volunteer committees.
Here are seven ways an HOA board can promote homeowner involvement.
1. Welcome New Residents
People who have just moved in are more likely to get involved if someone welcomes them right off the bat. Make it a practice to give each new resident a welcome package. It could include a small gift – for example, a gift card to the local coffee shop – and some information on the board and how they can get involved in the community.
2. Communicate Regularly
Use multiple means of communication, including newsletters (print or online), emails, texts, social media posts, and even notices posted around the community. Communicate even when there’s nothing earth-shaking to say. You don’t want to reach out only when there’s a tough message to deliver. Lack of information leads to non-involvement, so keep the news flowing.
3. Be Available
Let the homeowners know that you’re available to address their questions and concerns. When someone contacts a board member, get back to them, even if you don’t have an immediate answer to their question. Give them some idea of when you do expect to respond.
Hold board meetings when most people can and will attend. For homeowners who work, that’s generally weekday evenings.
4. Promote Social Activities
Pool parties, movie nights, progressive dinners: there’s no end of opportunities to meet and socialize. In most HOAs, there are several residents who love to organize get-togethers. Find them and put them to work.
You can have potluck picnics and community garage sales. Another option is to volunteer as a group for such activities as local park cleanup or community food shelf.
5. Invite Participation
Sometimes the best way to get something is to ask for it. Ask homeowners to volunteer for groups such as social committees, landscape planning, or beautifying common areas. Use surveys or focus groups to find out what homeowners want to see done, whether it’s done by the board or by volunteer committees.
6. Respect Their Time
People are more likely to participate when they know the limits of what’s being asked. If you form a volunteer committee, be realistic about what you expect of them. When there are board meetings or committee meetings, make sure that they start and end on time.
7. Ask Your Property Management Company What Has Worked
Good property management companies manage multiple HOAs, and they can share their experiences with successful homeowner engagement. North Point Property Management works with townhouses, condominiums, and other associations. To learn more, we invite you to reach out to us at North Point Property Management.