On a scale of 1 to 5, with 5 being the best, how well do HOA board members in your homeowners association communicate with members? Take a moment to think about that, or even discuss it with your fellow board members. Be honest. If you’re like many other HOA boards, communication with members can be a challenge, especially without the help of a manager. So what can you do to get your messages read or heard?
Board members freely give their time and talents to effectively govern the Association, but if members aren’t involved on some level – even just by reading their communications – it can feel like all the work is in vain. Since being a member of the Board is a serious time commitment there are often bigger issues needing your focus than worrying about how to keep members informed. However, it’s still important and there are small, easy things you can do to meet the following communication challenges head on.
1. Residents don’t read the CC&Rs or Rules
Unfortunately, many residents don’t know what they don’t know. Even though they are given the documents when they move in, they often don’t read them or give them a quick glance at best. When it’s appropriate, attach the CC&Rs and/or the rules and regulations to any correspondence sent to members.
2. Residents don’t attend meetings
Most people won’t show up to any kind of group function or meeting unless they’re invited. It’s possible that residents don’t attend board meetings or membership meetings because they’ve never been invited or aren’t aware they’re welcome. Invite them to the meetings in person and assure them they aren’t going to be coerced onto a committee, but instead will have the opportunity to get to know other members and what's going on around the homeowners association.
3. Resident’s aren’t involved
The old adage is “many hands make light work.” If more residents were involved in the Association, they would get to know other residents, be more aware of the day-to-day workings of the Association, and maybe even find something they would like to help with and get involved on a committee.
HOA board members can encourage residents to get involved by making positive touch points in the community. Whether it’s creating an appealing newsletter people will notice and want to read or simply taking the time to say hello when passing at the pool, asking for input about how things are going for them in the community will help residents feel cared about.
The reality is that Boards don’t want to worry about these extra means of communicating to members or simply don’t have the time to do it. A manager can help educate boards and members about what the Association actually does. This is just one way an HOA manager can help ease the workload and help your Association.
Figure out what it is in your community that gets through to members to help foster relationships, make people what to remain in good standing, and live in the best interest of the homeowners association. It does take some work, but will foster positive communication.