If you volunteer your services to your homeowners association, you know there are as many rewards as there are challenges. There are always residents with individual demands and concerns and Board members who may have difficulty agreeing with one another. There is also the critical need to carefully develop and adhere to a strict budget. But serving on the Board doesn’t have to be anything but smooth sailing if everyone is on the same page. Here are a few tips to make the day-to-day operations of any community association as easy as possible:

1. Put the community first.

Putting the needs of others first and rising above personal interests is a staple of volunteerism. It’s no different for community associations. Those who tirelessly work towards achieving the greater good tend to be the most successful, no matter what challenges they face. 

2. Get homeowners involved.

This can happen through the power of committees. The more committees you create in your community, the more opportunities residents have to pitch in. If you don’t already have committees that focus on architecture, security, social events and landscape, start to set them up. 

3. Respect final decisions.

It’s critical that your Committee and Board members are able to finalize decisions. Although committees or boards may have opposing viewpoints when voting, a unified team is a healthy one. Resentment breeds discontent.

4. Have a vision and mission.

Vision and mission statements aren’t just for Fortune 500 companies. They can help your community association maintain clear principles in the face of any challenge. Oftentimes, these documents served as guidelines when issues occur.

5. Have Board and Committee members who work together as a team.

When everyone focuses on achieving their common goal, disagreements can usually be resolved. Differing opinions are what make organizations powerful. But even when Board or Committee members disagree, it is important to remember they’re all on the same team, working together to do what’s right for the community.

6. Run like a business.

Your association should be treated as a corporation. If you’re on the Board or a Committee, prepare for a meeting the same way you would for a business engagement. A good property manager will provide you with all the information you need to make an informed decision on a topic, so make sure you review it before it’s time to make decision. 

7. Collaborate with a property manager.

Your property manager is your partner in good community management, including both planning for the future and addressing today’s challenges and concerns. From goal setting to reserve projections to choosing the new landscaping vendor for the upcoming year, treat your property manager like the partner he or she is.  

8. Communicate well.

Transparency is the best tool in any Board or Committee’s toolbox. Don’t leave your homeowners guessing; you’ll find that the more they know, the more they’ll want to be involved and that’s good for everybody. Keep the lines of communication open for upcoming projects, scheduled events, Board or Committee meetings and annual meetings. Of course, you’ll need to keep them apprised of essential happenings like water shut-offs, bulk trash days and street cleaning and repair. But you can do more – look to the larger aspects of community life (like the beginning of the school year) and remind them how these seasonal changes can and will affect life in your community. Knowing you care enough to communicate will go a long way toward encouraging greater resident engagement and goodwill. 

9. Say thanks.

Showing gratitude works wonders in any scenario. Thank your residents for following guidelines and making an effort to keep your neighborhood a great place to live. Show your gratitude often, and you’ll be repaid in the form of a friendly, healthy community. 
Does your community assocaition fulfill all of these definitions of success? If not, use them as guidelines to work toward making your community the best it can be. For further insight into enhancing your community’s lifestyle, contact FirstService Residential.
Monday May 25, 2015