If you ask community members why they join committees, they are likely to tell you that they truly want to make a difference in their community. But while their intentions may be great and their hearts may be in the right place, life often gets in the way. Committee members are, after all, volunteers, and as such, it might take a little something extra to keep them motivated.

The good news is that there are a number of strategies you can implement to keep your committees engaged and get the most out of these valuable volunteers. A quality property management company can help you think of some additional ideas, but this list is a great place to start.

1. Make it formal.

A good place to start when it comes to committees is to establish the objectives of your committee, determine the responsibilities and set clear goals and job descriptions for each committee member. It is also helpful to appoint a Chairperson for each committee and have that person report directly to the Board so as to create a clear line of accountability to the Board.  When everyone has a clear picture of their role within the committee, and the objective of the committee as a whole, then chances are you will be much more efficient and effective.

2. Make sure your committee has the right tools.

If a committee understands its scope of work and authority to carry it out, then it will likely achieve its goal. But nothing slows that process down like not having the right resources to accomplish what lies ahead. Supply your committee members with the necessary supplies, records, documents, reports and equipment from the start. If they need a refresher on the association’s policies and procedures, start there. And always remember that your committee will need clear direction every step of the way.

3. Run effective meetings.

Poorly run meetings are sure to suck the wind out of your committee’s sails. For committee members to feel effective, they must feel like they are part of a well-run organization, and that starts and ends with your meetings. To ensure your meetings are effective, set and stick to an agenda, minimize socializing during the meetings, implement time limits, if necessary, and adhere to a schedule.

4. Make sure committee members feel valued.

You will often find that when individuals, especially volunteers, feel appreciated, they’re more likely to go the extra mile. One simple way to accomplish this is to sit all committee members in a circle so that attendees are face-to-face and there is no perceived hierarchy. Encourage active listening and practice empathy. Always make your meeting a safe space where members can express ideas and offer suggestions through brainstorming. Consider doing “go arounds” where each member has a turn to say exactly what is on his/her mind.

5. Relieve stress and resolve conflict.

The potential for conflict exists whenever you have a group of people with different views and opinions. Complications arise, however, when things are not dealt with effectively. Create a culture within your committee that encourages collaboration, not competition. During meetings, keep the conversation light, be tolerant of others and schedule regular breaks. Most of all, avoid defeatist thinking.

6. Say thank you.

For many of your committee members, a job well done and the sense of accomplishment will be reward in and of itself. But a little gratitude goes a long way, especially coming from a Board member. After all, you’ve been there every step of the way – providing vision, offering advice and inspiring them to find creative solutions. When that process culminates with a sincere – and timely – thank you from you, it not only makes the volunteer feel appreciated, but also motivates him/her to continue to serve. Good volunteers are hard to come by, so that is definitely the kind of outcome you’re looking for.

It goes without saying that you want your committees to succeed, but in order for that to happen, you need to make sure that each member of the committee is successful too. If you remember these strategies and put them to practice, you’ll definitely get the most out of your committee members.

For more information on how a professional property management company can help you maximize the effectiveness of your committees, contact FirstService Residential, North America’s premier property management company.
Thursday December 22, 2016