Board meetings are a key part of running any HOA, allowing both board members and homeowners to keep up with what’s going on and give input for important decisions. However, it’s not uncommon for even the most established HOAs to experience a lull in participation, lackluster enthusiasm, or even spotty attendance when it’s time to convene…but there are easy ways to encourage participation!
Below are four tips to encourage involvement and breathe a little life back into your meetings:
Hold meetings at convenient times and, with the increase in remote meetings due to COVID-19, via user-friendly tools, like Zoom. Depending on your community, weekends and evenings may be the most convenient, but ask your board members and homeowners for their input on the best time of day/week to meet—the more involvement they have with determining the timing, the more likely they’ll be to show up.
Show your board members and homeowners you value their time by having a clear, precise agenda accessible for attendants. Provide a start and end time on the agenda to encourage everyone to stay on topic, and try to keep meetings consistently about an hour. This way, participants will know what to expect and will be more willing to attend. Additionally, include the agenda with the meeting notice, and make sure to send notices in advance and via various ways. Aim to send notices a week (or two!) ahead of time, and advertise in common areas, send eblasts, and post on your community website.
Incentivize your board members and homeowners to be more actively engaged by providing them with an informational packet prior to each meeting. This information can include a detailed agenda, financial and committee reports, minutes from the previous meeting, and any other pertinent information. Board members who have a heads up of what will be discussed at each meeting are more likely to come prepared to contribute.
Communicate with board members what the expectations are for each meeting, and make it clear to each member that their voice is welcome and work to compromise if disagreements arise.
Also, allow homeowners time to express their concerns during meetings, so you might consider adding a Q&A session to the agenda.
Additionally, solicit attendants to get involved in committees and include the committees on the agenda. If homeowners feel like their voice will be listened to and their interests will be discussed, they’ll more likely be inspired to attend.
Those who volunteer their time and efforts to serve on an HOA board generally have a sincere desire to contribute, and homeowners who feel valued will want to help as well. Implementing these simple tips can improve the quality and efficiency of any meeting and give your board members and homeowners the tools they need to engage more fully in the bettering of their community.