Have you ever considered joining an HOA, condo, cooperative or community association committee?  If so, you may want to delve deeper into the possibilities – after all, being part of a committee can be a valuable experience in many ways.  You can share your expertise, learn about an issue affecting your building or community and gain governance experience – a boon if you’d like to become a community leader.  In addition, you can work collaboratively with a team, conduct research, meet with subject matter experts, get to know your neighbors and make a difference for your fellow homeowners.

So, first, a quick summary. Committees are designed to assist Board members of HOAs, condo or community associations by addressing important issues, researching and compiling information, and providing recommendations that serve your building or community. Typical areas of focus may include repairs and maintenance, social programming, landscaping, buildings and grounds, violations, covenants enforcement, communication and more.
Committees deliver many rewards, both in creating stronger communities and providing shareholders with rewarding experiences. But if you’re concerned you may not have what it takes to add value to a committee, consider this:  there are no specific requirements. The benefits an individual can bring to a committee are often as unique as the individuals and committees themselves – and for that matter, as unique as the HOA, association or community they serve.
It’s true that there are no-one-size-fits all requirements to become a committee member, but even so, it’s not for everyone.  Serving on a committee is a group effort that demands time, dedication, and the ability to collaborate and reach consensus with others. Those are all qualities of a good board member that may be a good fit for your lifestyle or temperament – or not. 

“Homeowners with experience or skillsets in a particular area, like accounting or finance, insurance, legal, or management, or an interest in a specific issue affecting their community, such as landscaping, security, amenities or recreation, can be very helpful and effective members of an association committee,” said Steven Hirsch, Senior Vice President of Property Management, at FirstService Residential in New York.

"Owners who participate on a committee are often driven by a community spirit, and many owners take great pride and ownership in helping to make a difference in their community, improving their home, and protecting the interests of their investment,” he continued. “In fact, serving on a committee is a terrific breeding ground for becoming a Board member, both volunteer positions with a shared sense of responsibility and representation."

Hirsch added that other good committee candidates are often those who recently moved into the building or community.  “New residents can bring an outsider’s perspective and fresh ideas, and at the same time, serving on a committee is a great opportunity to meet your neighbors and make new friends.”
In addition, if you have leadership capabilities or experience, as well as the ability to nurture a collaborative and supportive team, you can leverage those skills to become a successful committee chair.

But along with interest, passion and experience, it’s also important to consider whether you have enough bandwidth to devote to serving on a committee – after all, business or personal responsibilities often take up many people’s available free time. 

Are you with us so far?  If your experience, interests, passion and time are in sync with a committee’s needs, consider this – can you be objective?  Do you have the ability to separate your personal interests from those of the association?  In other words, can you put aside your own wishes and needs to make a decision that benefits the greater good of your HOA, condo board or community association? 

Serving on a committee can be a win-win for both you and your association – a great way to enjoy a rewarding experience and at the same time, make a difference for your building or community.  If you’re still unsure whether you have the right stuff – remember, some of the most productive committee members once wondered the same thing – consult with a good property management company for advice.  To learn more about association committees and how their members and activities can enhance the lifestyle of your building or community, contact FirstService Residential.
Thursday March 17, 2016