Non-board members at an HOA board meeting bring several benefits
Any member of your association can attend board meetings except when the board adjourns for an executive meeting. So when your board members seem less than enthused about those non-members' attendance, remind them of the benefits.
You develop stronger communities
When non-board members attend a HOA board meeting, it strengthens the ties that bind the community together.
People get to know each other's names, converse more, and find out about the commonalities that draw them to the same community.
Community events, usually headed up by the community association manager, will more likely experience a boost in attendance as well. People like to spend time with people they know. And a way of getting to know each other better is through participating in board meetings together.
Actions are transparent
Nothing fosters a sense of deep curiosity like behind-the-door meetings. What secrets are board members guarding? Do board members care about the rest of the association? Who knows what board members are doing?
The board seems less like a mysterious society with secret handshakes and elusive goings-on when it is transparent in its meetings. Non-board members can observe the board in action and also relay such information to other community members who did not attend.
In other words, you foster positive word-of-mouth by letting meetings happen in plain sight.
Homeowners get more involved
When community members come to a meeting, they often begin to get more involved in other aspects of the association. That's because they feel more emotionally vested in it.
Plus, people like a sense of ownership and sharing their talents. At a board meeting, a non-board member may hear something that's in his field of expertise and voice solid information and feedback. Best of all, he might volunteer to head up a group to tackle a problem or boost the value of the community.
You get a greater sense of what the consensus is
“The documents may state that there are certain decisions that the board can make on their own without involving the residents,” writes Jane Bolin in her book, Mastering the Business of Your Association: No More Condo Commando. “But when you are viewing your association as a business and are interested in creating a strong community, you may want to consider opening it up for discussion before the board votes.”
”Imagine the difference that could make,” she says. “Yes, you will hear some opinions you don't agree with, but they may add value to the conversation. In our experience, they often do. And because residents feel like they are being heard and that their opinions matter, they will want to show up at board meetings. You won't just get the people that come for the free coffee and donuts or worse, who just want to complain; you will start to get residents showing up who are interested in sharing and contributing and may make great future board members.”
Do you want to get more from your association meetings? We can help! We specialize in community association law and are experienced in best-practices for association boards. We'll know how to help you best run your open meetings and get the most out of your association experience.