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Whether you’re on the board of a single-family homeowners association (HOA) or a high-rise condo association, your community depends on volunteers to operate successfully. However, finding residents who are willing to be on your board of directors, join a committee or help at an event can be challenging. In fact, in a survey conducted by the Foundation for Community Association Research, 45 percent of residents in HOAs and condo associations said that they either never volunteer or only volunteer once a year.

As discouraging as these figures may be, there’s plenty you can do to foster volunteerism in your community. Here are six steps you can take to inspire your residents to get more involved.

1. Communicate the HOA’s need for volunteers.
Making an appeal for volunteers is something your board should do regularly, not just once a year at your annual meeting. Use all your communication channels – community newsletter, website, emails, board meetings and social media – to get the word out.
2. Express your gratitude.  
Appreciation goes a long way toward making volunteers feel like their efforts matter. Give your volunteers a well-deserved pat on the back, a heartfelt “thank you” and a public shout-out at community events. Public recognition also motivates others in the community to consider helping out.

3. Get personal.
Learn your neighbors’ strengths and interests so you’ll know who to turn to when your board needs a new treasurer or a party-planning chairperson. Also, ask for ideas and suggestions. Residents are more likely to volunteer for an activity that is their own brainchild.
4. Use everyone’s time productively.
Plan and manage projects efficiently so that volunteers won’t feel like they are wasting their time. Help them understand the timeline, their role and the project goals.
5. Cheer them on.
An important role of board leadership is to keep members of the community – especially other volunteers – motivated and engaged. Community spirit is crucial to a successful association and often acts as the fuel that keeps residents involved. Be sure you are providing encouragement and positive feedback.   
6. Recognize the value of volunteers.
Associations with actively involved residents are likely to be run better, to be more cohesive and to be more appealing to potential buyers. Connected neighbors take better care of their properties, too, and that enhances real and perceived value. So volunteerism translates into real dollars and cents. That’s why you should never take the important roles of volunteers for granted.
An experienced property management company can help you increase your volunteer pool and help residents see the rewards of becoming more active participants in your community.
Thursday February 15, 2018