Top 10 Tips for Successful HOA and COA Board Members
HOA board members are volunteers who help manage the daily affairs of their communities. Their tasks can be very simple or very demanding depending on the size of their community, whether it is self-managed or has a professional property manager, and how many community amenities and activities there are.
In 2017, for example, there were approximately 350,000 community associations in the US, representing approximately half of homes and condominiums. Florida and California have over 45,000 associations each, with Texas, Illinois, North Carolina, New York, Massachusetts, Georgia, Washington, Arizona, and Colorado each having 10,000-20,000 associations. Associations typically have 3-7 volunteer board members who are owners in these communities. https://foundation.caionline.org/wp-content/uploads/2017/07/2016StatsReviewFBWeb.pdf
BOARD MEMBERS ARE VOLUNTEERS
Laws vary by state, with some requiring training for new board members so they understand their roles. Most, however, are simply volunteer-minded people who have the time and interest to step up to serve their community.
This is no small task, especially when media and owners prefer to label and stereotype these volunteers as “power hungry” or “busy-bodies”. While such personality types might be drawn to becoming a board member, it is up to ALL homeowners and condo owners to ask themselves if they are able and willing to volunteer to be good stewards to the finances and deed enforcement necessary to maintain a beautiful and valuable community.
LET OUR EXPERIENCE HELP YOUR HOA/COA
Kim Ruiz, owner of Expressly Written, has experience working with HOA communities across the US and has served as a volunteer board member in her own community since 2003. She provides education and information to volunteer board members through unique, feature-driven websites and software that improves communication and lowers costs for owners and residents. She also creates custom community newsletters with informative articles for residents, answering common questions and more challenging ones.
If you’re thinking of running for a board position, are new to being a board member, or just want to know how to be a better volunteer board member in your community, we asked experienced Florida LCAM (licensed community association manager), Kelly Mauzy, to give us her top 10 tips for being a successful HOA board member.
TOP 10 TIPS FOR BEING A SUCCESSFUL HOA BOARD MEMBER:
- Take an approved Board of Directors Certification Class (required within the first 90 days in Florida; check your state).
- Take the time to read through the governing docs – schedule an appointment with your manager so they can help answer questions and point out the most important items you need to know. This is especially important if reviewing architectural alterations requests.
- RESPOND to your manager’s emails within 24 hours.
- Create a yearly plan with your manager and board and share this plan with the rest of the community so homeowners understand what issues the community is working on.
- Use your meeting time productively. Come prepared to do association business.
- Get your community involved – regular newsletters and websites are effective tools to encourage participation.
- Plan fun events if you have the resources and space available to foster community involvement.
- Get out and walk your community – meet and know the other homeowners in your community.
- Be receptive to others. Listen without needing to respond. This is a great tool for times when you run into an upset homeowner.
- Understand your role as a board member and your fiduciary responsibility. Your responsibility is to maintain the community assets. Sitting down with the manager twice per year to discuss the community is key to operating and maintaining the community. When you do your part as a board member, the manager can perform their part.
Kelly Mauzy, LCAM, also recommends all board members review draft meeting minutes, vendor proposals, and manager emails prior to a board meeting. To run effective meetings, she suggests, “Board member volunteers should not wait until the meeting to review information as each member takes in information at different rates. This only serves to prolong a meeting – that should be no longer than one hour – to almost double or triple the time.”
Mauzy added that one of the main complaints from homeowners and board members alike is when meetings drag on and on. By using proper formats for both board and membership communication, meetings accomplish their intended purpose: to conduct association business. She believes HOA software/websites with the right community features, such as those used by Expressly Written, help with that process.
WE SUPPORT VOLUNTEER BOARD MEMBERS THROUGH EDUCATION AND TOOLS
Volunteers are important members of every community and can make the greatest impact with a little training and the right tools. Expressly Written assists property management companies with their properties, large and small HOA associations, and self-managed communities save time, money, and frustration by improving community involvement and reducing the hassle of HOA management.
If you would like to learn more about being an effective board member, and how the right communication tools and software can be readily available through your new HOA website, email us at Info@ExpresslyWritten.com, or visit our website at www.ExpresslyWritten.com and search our HOA/COA portfolio page along with our newsletter and writing services. (Ask about 6 months free website service being offered through 2021!)