We communicate with people each and every day. Whether you’re speaking in person, over the phone or through an email, it’s important to know how to effectively convey your message and get people the information they need. This is especially true in a community association, but it doesn’t stop there. As a member of a community association board, you need to also ensure that your message will stay in tact while making its way around the association.
It’s kind of like the telephone game you may have played as a kid. You sit in a circle and whisper something into the ear of the person next to you. This continues with everyone whispering the message into the ear of the person next to them until the last person is reached and then says what he heard aloud. The message he hears is often not the same message originally whispered. When you send out a message to an association, it moves from member to member and it’s your responsibility to make sure the message stays clear the whole way through.
So how do you effectively communicate with your association and residents?
- Be clear: Make sure your putting messages in terms that everyone understands. Communicate clear and effectively so that you convey the right message.
- Hold meetings: Holding meetings is great for communication among residents and community boards. It offers a place for people to meet others and discuss as a group.
- Send out newsletters: Use newsletters to send out to association members and residents about anything they need to know about. Put information on your website and promote it through newsletters. It’s important to make it easy for people to find the information they want, and the easiest way to do this is by sending it to them directly.
- Listen: Communication is a two-way street, so you need to be listening to. Ask questions, send out surveys and listen to what people has to say. Knowing what others want will help you make decisions and do what’s best for everyone.
It is absolutely essential to foster communication in any community. It’s your responsibility to keep residents and community association board members informed so that they know what’s going on around them. Communication is key when it comes to association living, so it’s important to make sure you’re communicating effectively.
One of the great things about living in a community is the opportunity to get involved and attend Homeowner Association meetings. Attending meetings allows residents to ensure that they have a voice and understand what is going on with their community, but for some, attending meetings isn’t always easy.
A Florida State Senator is hoping to make it a state law that Homeowner Association meetings must be held somewhere anyone can attend. The new bill is a result of complaints by some who have struggled to attend HOA meetings due to physical disabilities. Bill 1450 would require that all homeowner association meetings be held in areas that are handicap accessible.
When it comes to community living, it’s important for HOAs and property managers to understand that resident interests need to be taken into account. A community only thrives as a result of the residents living in it. Allowing and encouraging volunteer participation brings a different perspective to meetings and ensures that the needs of residents don’t get swept under the rug. Whether your board is made up of only volunteers, only professionals or both, it is essential to keep in mind that the interests of the residents are just as important, if not more, than the interests of the board. For tips on how to recruit volunteers to your HOA board, click here.
Stay tuned for more information concerning Bill 1450 and homeowner association meetings.
We are happy to announce that PeytonBolin, PL has been named a Community Association Service Provider (CASP) Designated Member by Florida Community Association Professionals (FCAP) (http://fcaponline NULL.net/). The CASP designation is offered by FCAP, LLC. for organizations that offer products and services to the community association industry.
We recently went through the strenuous vendor program to become a CASP Designated Member, the highest level of recognition for vendors who offer services to the community association industry in Florida. As a part of the requirements for the professional designation, members of PeytonBolin recently attended advanced training through Florida CAM Schools in Orlando. We also agreed to conduct business according to the CASP code of ethics and underwent a business risk analysis of our organization, among other things.
“There has been a need for a statewide organization that offers services to the community association industry,” said Lisa Whitson, Director of FCAP. “We feel that FCAP and the vendor program we offer meets that need offering statewide training and networking for those in the community association industry. We are pleased that PeytonBolin is a part of this new offering for Floridians who are tasked with the responsibility of managing the communities in which they live. Board members and managers can now choose to do business with vendors who are trained in how community associations operate and how they are governed here in Florida.”
PeytonBolin, PL is a Florida-based law firm focused on the practice of Community Association Law, providing legal services to associations and individual owners. Partnering with condominium and homeowner associations throughout Florida, PeytonBolin PL provides collections services, covenant enforcement, and guidance to boards to successfully manage their community affairs. Representation for both associations and individuals encompasses the key areas of insurance, construction, contract disputes and debt collection. To learn more about PeytonBolin, visit www.PeytonBolin.com.
If you’re a part of a condo or homeowner association, you’ve probably had a conversation concerning the need for volunteers. Many times, it is based on size, but that isn’t always the deciding factor. Some large communities are successful without a manager, while some small communities have professionals aiding them.
If you’re not sure whether your association is better off run by a professional manager or volunteers, the following tips will help you decide.
Hire a professional if:
- Residents don’t have time or don’t want to volunteer
- Residents don’t have the necessary skills
- A management company can receive better rates from contractors or service providers like insurance companies
- Your association is responsible for managing many building systems, properties and amenities.
- Your community has complex systems and/or amenities which require technical expertise
Use volunteers if:
- You don’t have the money to hire a professional manager
- Residents are willing and able to commit and take on required responsibilities.
- Residents are skilled in finance, operations, public relations, law, construction, and project management,
If your community association doesn’t fit perfectly into either of these categories, you may want to take the middle ground and use a mix of professionals and volunteers. The overall goal of a condo or homeowner association is to ensure solid property values, and this may only be achieved through a mix of volunteers and professionals. Splitting responsibilities helps ensure that you’re getting necessary work done efficiently and at a lower cost than if the board was run fully by professionals. Figure out what roles volunteers can take on and use professionals for the ones that require more technical skills and knowledge.
Volunteers can be an important part of any community association, but they can sometimes be hard to recruit. While they aren’t always easy to find, they are an important part of an association because they bring a different perspective to the table. You may know what’s right from the business point of view, but the resident point of view can be quite different, and you want a happy medium between the two. Management AND residents should be happy, and though it can sometimes be difficult to find the perfect arrangement, having voices for both sides of the spectrum can help.
- Advertise the need for volunteers: You may not have volunteers because your residents don’t know that you need them. Send out an email or notice that the association has a shortage of volunteers and explain the potential consequences of this shortage. Many people would love to be involved, but don’t know that they can be or don’t know how to go about the process.
- Make board responsibilities clear: If residents don’t know what the board accomplishes and the processes they take to do it, they aren’t going to want to join. Make it clear that the board is responsible for making decisions that will affect residents.
- Remember that your volunteers have lives: Don’t plan board meetings for in the middle of the day while volunteers are at work. Make sure meetings are run professionally and with an agenda, so that you aren’t all sitting for hours on ends without any progress. Residents may want to be a part of meetings, but if you make it difficult for them, they may not always be able to participate.
- Acknowledge their participation: It’s important to take volunteer participation seriously. Listen to what volunteers have to say. Their opinion is just as important as that of other members and they will bring a new perspective you may not have thought about. Recognize the effort involved in volunteering for an association board and make volunteers feel appreciated.
- Socialize the membership: People are more likely to volunteer if they know their neighbors. Hold social events that are promoted by the association so that volunteers have a chance to get to know the people they are representing.
- Use their skills: Do not just give volunteers mindless tasks. Use them to their potential. If they are volunteering, then they want to help. Give them real responsibilities and they will be more likely to take it seriously.
- Offer 1-time volunteer opportunities: Some people want to get involved, but just do not have the time to be a full volunteer. Offer opportunities for residents to volunteer for just one project or part-time.
Association volunteers are an important part of any community association board, so it’s important to recruit them properly and treat them as an invaluable member of the team. Make sure all residents know how important the role of an association volunteer is and make it clear how they can become one. Your board and the community will both benefit from resident volunteers so make an effort to recruit them.