Regardless of your community’s size or location, every association board and committee needs resident volunteers. It can be challenging, however, to get enough homeowners to participate.
But what stops homeowners from joining the board or volunteer committees? Some of the most common culprits are lack of time or not feeling like their participation will truly make a difference. Though we may not be able to directly address these, we are able to find ways to motivate them to get involved and make an impact in their community.
Below are several ideas for getting homeowners to consider volunteering while creating an environment that fosters consistent engagement:
1. Communicate often.
Are your homeowners receiving the right information? Make sure homeowners have all the information they need to get involved including how and when they should do it.  Be persistent and use different communication methods to reach them.  One example is to create a community newsletter to highlight important information and then distribute it amongst your residents. Asking for homeowner feedback and suggestions can also inspire them to take action. The goal is to communicate frequently and openly with residents. Your community association management company can prove invaluable in setting up communication processes for your residents.
2. Praise them.
Though volunteers are motivated to give their time because they feel strongly about a cause or their community, it’s not all about being selfless.  Volunteers appreciate recognition for the time and effort they are putting in. Make sure to provide praise during meetings, in your newsletters, and wherever you find an opportunity to do so. This will keep volunteers engaged and happy while working to advance your community’s goals.
3. Make it personal.
Homeowners are more likely to help if they have camaraderie with other volunteers. Encourage this by holding special events that will bring people together like community clean-ups, pool parties, ice cream socials, and potluck meals facilitate resident interaction and create a sense of engagement with the board and community as a whole, making it easier to relate to each other and the organization as a whole. Your community association management company can help you think of new ways to bring people closer and create a true sense of community.
4. Make it valuable.
Volunteers are giving you their time, one of the most valuable assets they have. Make sure it is put to good use by assigning tasks that have real value.  No one likes to feel like they are wasting their time, so make sure volunteers have clear roles and a defined set of tasks to complete. Timelines and budgets should also be reasonable and realistic.  If you need assistance figuring out what roles and tasks should be, your community association management company has good experience putting these together.
5. Be a cheerleader.
If you are a leader on your board or with a volunteer committee, consider yourself the cheerleader of the group.  Motivate others through your words and actions and create a team environment by focusing on the good of the community. You’ll find that keeping spirits high will help volunteers stay involved for a long time to come.
Creating a community sense of volunteerism isn’t easy, but it is definitely attainable. Use these five steps and plan out additional ways to encourage volunteers, and you’ll see long-lasting involvement among community members.  For more ideas, contact FirstService Residential, North America’s leading community management company. 
Thursday September 03, 2015