Being a member of a homeowner association (HOA) or community association board is an important role and one that should not be taken lightly. After all, you hold responsibility for members of your community, not just in a business sense, but also as a neighbor and friend.
If you are an HOA or community association board member, the task in front of you might seem a little overwhelming. Consider the following 10 helpful hints for new and current board members to help make your term fruitful, rewarding and, most of all, effective. Use these tips to become a trusted, reliable member of your community.
1. Work for the good of the community, not your own agenda.
When making decisions as a board member, you are deciding for everyone in your community, not just for yourself. In this role, you must put aside your own interests and think about how your work affects everyone. You are in this role because you care about your neighbors and enhancing your property value and this is your chance to prove that. Doing so will boost your trustworthiness and solidify your standing in your community.
2. Respect and work alongside your community association manager.
As a board member, your role is to set policies and make policy decisions. The community association manager’s role is to enact and enforce those policies and take care of the operations. Having experience in community association management certainly can help with your work on the board, but remember to let the community association manager do his/her job, and be there to support his/her work.
3. Your fellow board members are your friends and neighbors.
Keeping this in mind is very crucial to your success, because there could be decisions that need to be made where board members disagree, and perhaps heatedly so. Maintain a respectful tone even if you have differences with your other members. You not only have to work with your fellow board members, you also live in the same community with them. Animosity can hurt the board’s standing among community members. Try to see others’ points from their perspective.
4. Educate yourself.
It’s important to stay on top of what’s going on in your community, and as you progress through your work, you will learn what to do from trial and error. But it also helps to think beyond where you live and tap into knowledge from other sources such as seminars, books, networking with members of other association boards, and accessing the Internet for information. You also can compare notes with your community association manager, as well as talk to city officials, police, and other public servants who have roles in your community or other communities. The more you know about your community, the better you’ll be able to tackle your responsibilities as a board member.
5. Be responsible.
What is your role as a board member? Are you in charge of financial matters or the budget? Do you prepare the agenda? Do you compile important items you want other board members to support? Distribute materials to your fellow members in advance so they have time to review, understand, and come up with any questions or concerns. After all, you’d expect the same from them. That will provide for an informed meeting session with all board members prepared to make the best decisions for the community.
6. Don’t put things off.
Your role is one of service, and if someone in the community or a fellow board member comes to you with an issue or concern, address it as soon as possible. Research it, communicate, and get answers. If you hesitate and leave people waiting too long, they will be less inclined to come to you for your help in the future.
7. Consider hiring a professional community association management company.
You’ll have a lot on your plate serving on as a board member. Having a community association management company working alongside you can alleviate many of your aches and pains. If you already have a community association management company, are you certain they are doing everything they can for you and your community? Are you satisfied with the service and value they provide? These are hard questions you must ask to ensure your community is getting the best service possible.
8. Be an open book.
Board meetings should be open to community members, and you should encourage their attendance. The items you will discuss and about which you will make decisions affects them, and if they have opinions, you should listen to their concerns and consider their viewpoints. This is another great way to build trust with other community members and assure them you have the community’s best interests at heart.
9. Organize a community event.
Whether it’s a food drive, a fundraiser, or just something to bring the entire community together, this is a great way to meet the individuals you serve. Events like these also could give your community a good reputation to outsiders and provide an added incentive for anyone considering moving into your community.
10. Set a good example.
It might not be an official part of your role as a board member, but the way you live and carry yourself will influence how others perceive you. Take care of your property. Don’t let your pets run amuck, and always clean up after them. Keep the noise down. Lend your neighbors a hand. Welcome newcomers. Park in your own parking space(s). These are small things you can do to maintain harmony and enhance surrounding property value.
These tips should help make your position as a board member run smoothly and make your tenure a successful and productive one. For more helpful community management tips, fill out the form below to receive exclusive articles like this one delivered straight to your inbox.