What do ghost towns, Arizona saunas in the summer, and HOA meetings have in common? If you’re a board member and you hold regular meetings—as you should—you probably already know the answer to this question, and it has nothing to do with the heat; yes, the answer is a distinct emptiness and lack of enthusiasm on the part of the intended audience, and this is very unfortunate when trying to run a community. If you weren’t already well-aware, one of the major duties of the board—outside of keeping your community in line—is working with and for your homeowners to ensure their dues are going towards projects they, for the most part, support. Obviously, you can’t please everyone and there’s always going to be some sort of strife; however, at the end of the day, you need to make sure at least a majority of people are happy with the direction the board and community is going.

Of course, this would certainly be a lot easier if anyone ever showed up to the meetings! We’ve all been there before; no matter what you do, how you do it, or what big changes your board is thinking about making, once that annual, special, or town hall meeting date comes, the chances of you actually seeing anyone from your neighborhood is little to none.  This is made even worse when you finally decide to make those decisions or changes that you wanted to discuss, and all of a sudden the entire community is knocking down your door demanding to know why they weren’t notified; it’s a lose-lose situation that no one wants to go through. Fortunately (or unfortunately, depending on how you look at it) there are missteps that many boards are making when planning and setting up a meeting, and these missteps can be fixed. Here are a few pointers that might help you attract more homeowners to HOA meetings, so you don’t have to experience the wrath of “unnotified” homeowners ever again!


Though this may seem like bribery, nothing does more in the name of enticing prospective attendees than providing snacks, drinks, and finger food at your meeting. Make lemonade, order catering, or simply provide some homemade cooking, and you’ll see that more homeowners will make it to your meeting—even if they mainly came for the free snacks. Without a doubt, this is a cheap, fun, and easy way to spice the pot and make that stuffy old meeting seem just a little bit more fun.

Make the Agenda Interesting

This one might be a bit difficult, seeing as it’s essentially a business meeting; but, nevertheless, it’s important you do your best to make your meeting agenda seem as interesting as it can possibly be. The best way to do this is, when reminding your homeowners that a meeting is coming up, to send a copy of the meeting agenda, and to make that agenda as palate pleasing as possible. Make sure your most important and potentially community changing topics are in bold and at the top of the agenda, while things that might not seem too interesting—basic policy changes, landscape vendor negotiations, etc.—aren’t focused upon. Even the design of your agenda can help make it a bit more “juicy”, so stay away from bland business proposal-esque forms and have a little fun with it. In short, make the meeting feel less meeting-like—no one likes to be reminded of work when they aren’t actually at work.


Keep Meetings Short

Look, we know there is probably a lot on the agenda that you want to get to, particularly if you don’t hold many special meetings or town hall meetings and only have one annual meeting per year; but, if you want anyone to come to the meeting at hand, you need to make meetings short and to the point. The moment anyone sees the meeting is supposed to last from 5 to 8, or worse, no one is going to want to and no one is going to. Time is precious, and when most homeowners work 8 to 5 everyday, few are going to want to spend their relaxation time at a board meeting—regardless of how important it may be. Thus, do your best to compress meetings as much as possible by:

  • Splitting up Meetings: If there is a ton on the docket, it might be better just to have half the meeting one night and table the rest of the meeting for a later date. Homeowners will be more amenable to two short meetings rather than one long one, particularly if you allow some time to pass between them. Plus, those who actually do show up will be able to process the information a bit easier (no one likes information overloads)
  • Limiting Meetings to 2 Hours AT MAX: Again, no one likes going to a meeting that sucks up their entire night. Keeping your meetings two hours or less can help with that.
  • Staying on Topic: Meetings oftentimes can go on and on and on, especially if you have that one board member (or homeowner) who is long winded or likes to relate everything to their life. Don’t Let This Happen. Stick to the topics at hand and do your best to ensure the meeting is always progressing down the docket. Here’s a useful article on running a meeting to help with this exact idea.

Advanced Notice

If you are having trouble getting homeowners to your meetings, there may be a chance that you are sending the notices too late for them to get the meeting integrated into their schedule. Truthfully, all people are busy, and even when they aren’t, it’s hard to expect them to pencil in something as heady as a meeting in last minute. With that in mind, it’s very important to give early and frequent reminders that a meeting is nigh. This will make sure that those who actually have intentions of going have a chance to put it in their schedule ahead of time, increasing their chances of being able to go. Trust us; there’s nothing worse than sending out notice for a meeting the night or day before, so make sure you send them out at least a week or two ahead of time, with reminders as the date draws nearer.

Do What you Can to Make your Meetings Successful

At the end of the day, it’s extremely hard to attract homeowners in any capacity to board meetings. After all, in case you haven’t noticed, meetings are boring, and most everyone has to deal with those at work—who wants to go through that on their own time? But, if you make your meeting seem as far away from work as possible, provide your homeowners with what they need, and maybe “bribe” them with some free food, you should be able to make your meetings at least a bit more populated. This way, you can go through with those tough decisions that may anger people more than you originally thought and keep your community happy! Or, at least, happier than normal, which is still preferable than the alternative, wouldn’t you say?