We received a tremendous amount of feedback and additional questions in response to our recent webinar "Build Your Team: Committee Formation", which featured board members from communities around the state discussing their best tips and advice for other associations that may be considering starting new committees or want to reinvigorate existing ones in their buildings and neighborhoods.
Hear are repsonses to the most frequently asked questions from board members like you! Need some help getting a committee started? Use the form on this page to download our association guide "How to Create a Committee Charter".
Regardless of their size, 80% of our communities have a social committee to create unique resident experiences. Naturally, larger communities tend to have an increased variety of committees (Landscape, ACC, Finance,etc.) to help share the workload of the board due to the increased number of prospective volunteers, but there’s no direct correlation to home value.
What kick-started our engagement was the creation of our neighborhood Facebook page. If you don't already have one, I'd strongly recommend this. It's a great way of getting to know one another, communicating needs, generating excitement and recruiting members. On the other hand, if you already have a Facebook page that still doesn't generate interest, your community may not need committees. Don't force it.
Another option is to create and distribute colorful flyers to promote "committee recruitment" events (definitely bring snacks!). We've found that once neighbors become friends, they'll want to be on committees to spend more time together!
Between 3-5 committee members are ideal. While we haven't experienced this problem in our communities, we recommend having a volunteer limit. Once homeowners are aware of their committee role, they're likely to volunteer for multiple committees.
There aren't official rules limiting the number of committees an owner may serve on. In this case, the board and president must weigh the benefits and risks with the community. The board also controls the committee charter, which designates its purpose, duration, members, and chairperson. This charter can be modified or canceled as the board sees fit.
Oh boy, do we have that problem! First, one of our Facebook page guidelines asks that everyone keep comments "positive and constructive," and that voicing concerns shouldn’t include any identifying information about other residents (street name, vehicle type, etc.). It helps tone things down a little, but definitely expect some push back from those who think the community Facebook page grants "freedom of speech."
We also moderate the page where a group of admins are required to approve or decline posts. Oftentimes, we'll reach out directly to a poster and ask them to revise the wording to avoid situations being blown out of proportion. Here’s an example:
"Come on guys, pick up your dog's business. I've never lived in a neighborhood where people just don't care. I've seen you on my camera - I know who you are!"
"Just a reminder to be considerate of other yards, and please pick up after your dog."
Once worded correctly, we've found that others often provide suggestions on fixing the problem, rather than jumping on the bandwagon to complain about it.
Second, to find out if something is a real problem or just plaguing a few, you may want to create a quick Facebook poll. Something like:
Have you noticed cluttered yards are becoming an increasing problem in the neighborhood?
If the majority vote "yes", perhaps FirstService Residential can provide a solution. For this situation, we include notes in our newsletters. If it really proves to be a significant problem, perhaps you or the Communications Committee could post a follow up statement on Facebook. Something like:
"According to a recent poll, many have indicated a problem with XYZ. Does anyone have a possible solution to this problem?" I think you'll find that
1) The "complainers" will appreciate your help and complain less and
2) Other residents will be eager to help and, provide suggestions. Of course, every neighborhood is different, but this is what works in ours.
Download our step-by-step association guide, How to Create a Committee Charter, by filling out the form on this page!
FirstService Residential aims to answer your most frequently asked questions on a variety of key topics.