Tips for community associations to get more residents involved
In order for a homeowner's association to work to its full potential, it needs to have the help of the entire community. However, that can be very difficult for a large number of the HOAs out there to get residents more involved in your community association. Often, the homeowners in the community have very little if anything to do with the association, and that's really a shame. Sometimes, the owners aren't actually apathetic about getting involved with the community and the HOA. Sometimes, they may just don't know how to do it. You can make a change to this lack of participation though, and it might not be quite as difficult or time consuming as you might imagine at first.
Website, Email, and Newsletter
It's a good idea to have a website available for residents to use. You can give them a private login and provide access to certain information and records about the community. On the site, you can also provide a newsletter, articles, a blog, and more to get people more involved. Let them know what upcoming meetings will be about and when they will happen. Ask the recipients a question as well to help them get involved. It's also a good way to let everyone know when something is happening in the community, such as a board meeting or any other event.
You can also offer a digital newsletter sent out to the residents via email. This can include much of the same information that you would normally find on the website. One of the benefits of using the digital newsletter is that it ensures people actually get a copy, even though not everyone may read it. While you could send out a physical newsletter, it is more expensive since you have to factor in the cost of the paper.
Make sure you send out reminders of the meetings, and make sure that you provide the owners with at least an overview of the things that you will be discussing in the meeting. A list of bullet points covering what you will discuss and go over is often enough. Try to encourage participation in the meetings as well. Doing something as simple as offering coffee and donuts, as well as a few minutes of socialization after the meeting, is often enough to improve attendance.
This is really one of the best ways to foster a sense of community among homeowners. If you are only gathering the owners together for things that most would find boring, don't be surprised if they don't attend. You need to increase their level of participation, and you can do that by holding a variety of social gatherings. Having barbecues, themed parties, events around the holidays, or just some gatherings for a movie screening can be a great way to get the neighbors to know one another and to become friends. Even if not all of the residents become fast friends, they will at least know one another, and that's more than most communities today can say.
How Will the Community Benefit?
Once you start to get more people involved with the HOA, you will find that they get more involved with one another and the rest of the community. This can create a number of fantastic benefits. The feeling of being neighborly, something that many probably thought was lost decades ago, will be back in strong force. Often, the security of communities will improve very quickly. This is because when everyone knows and recognizes their neighbors, they want to watch out for them. They will also be more likely to know if anything out of the ordinary is happening, and they will be able to report it.
In addition, when the community starts to get stronger, people tend to go to the board meetings more often. They not only get to see their friends and neighbors, but they also get to be active in making the community a better place. You tend to find less animosity between the residents and board members as well. Since they know one another better, they are more reasonable when it comes to talking things out and making decisions that are actually beneficial for everyone.
Make sure that the owners know and understand the importance of building a strong community. You can make this something that you cover very briefly in your meetings as well as in your blog or the articles that you put on your site or in the newsletter. Show the owners just how much better it can be when they have a close-knit community, and you will find that they are typically very responsive.
PeytonBolin, PL is a Florida-based full service real estate law firm focused on the practice of community association law. Committed to providing resourceful, knowledgeable, and consistent representation for associations and individual owners, the entire staff operates as a team to provide the highest quality service. Click here to contact our office to help you in your community.