Last modified on March 24th, 2020
By Elizabeth Millar
When it’s election time for your community association, you may notice that the same board members run for the same positions and often run unopposed. While board members with experience are valuable, they can face term limits, while others burn out. It’s beneficial to the community to seek out new leadership to inspire diverse perspectives. Thankfully, there are a few ways you can open the door and get the conversation started in a way that piques the interest of your homeowners to help encourage new volunteers. Here are a few tips:
1. Educate & Inspire Your Associations
As election time approaches, ensure that all homeowners in the community know the process and how they can be involved. Make sure to add it as an agenda item at a board meeting where you can dive into the topic and allow other board members to discuss what the election is and the rules and process for running for a position. You can also host a separate educational event, like an ice cream social, to provide a place for homeowners to learn all about the various board positions and how they can get involved.
Boost homeowner attendance to the meeting by communicating it through bulk email and texts to the community. It’s an excellent opportunity to educate homeowners on what it means to be a board member, what the various roles are, and successful ways you’ve seen these roles work together in the past. Your goal should be to get homeowners excited so they consider becoming an integral part of their community. Show them how they can make great impacts on the association to make it a better place to live.
As a community manager, you’ve seen many different boards in many communities, some more successful than others. Share your experience with your associations so they can put their best foot forward and run for the roles that best suit their abilities.
This goes for all aspects of running for and conducting business as a board member. Feel free to share ways you’ve seen other board members campaign for their positions, handle business, and types of business to be managed. The more homeowners know the more they can picture themselves in specific board roles, and will hopefully help change up the leadership to bring fresh perspectives to the community associations.
2. Come In Prepared
When you’re trying to recruit homeowners to participate in various board member positions, it’s essential to be prepared for their questions. Ensure that you’ve already considered various questions so you’re ready to go when curious homeowners as things, such as:
- What is the expected time commitment?
- How often and for how long do we need to meet?
- Do you have guidelines and expectations available that you can share?
- Can previous and current board members share their experience with us?
- Do we need to learn how to use new software?
It’s important to remember that homeowners often have full-time jobs, and the thought of running for the board on top of their other personal commitments may seem overwhelming. Preparation not only helps answer questions, but it also shows that you’re serious about building a community that’s inclusive of the residents who live there.
Help them to see that a board position is not just another job or task in their life, but rather as an impactful role for the betterment of their community.
3. Show Your Appreciation
Volunteering, which is what board members are doing, doesn’t have to be a thankless job. Handwritten thank-you notes, appreciation dinners, and public acknowledgments of volunteers’ work can go a long way in creating and solidifying a close-knit community that’s willing to step up when there are jobs that need to be done.
Showing your appreciation through respect for their time is also a huge win. Ensure that meetings start and end on-time. After all, board members have jobs, families, and other commitments in their lives. An easy way to make the most of the time board members need to spend on community business is through modern community association management software.
4. Employ The Right Technology
Cutting-edge community association management software like AppFolio makes the most of board members’ time with online portals that enable them to approve business matters anytime, anywhere, on any device through an easy-to-access app. Self-service tools put the power in their hands to locate important community documents, which reduces their need to lean on you for information.
With modern, mobile tools, board members have increased transparency and spend less of their valuable time working on community business – a point you’ll want to share with homeowners when election time rolls back around!