Board members serve an important role in an HOA. It can be a difficult job, and managing an entire community’s business is a lot to handle. In order to help your board be even more effective in the new year, we’ve put together some tips for helping them hold better meetings and make better decisions.
- Encourage community participation: for the board to best serve the community, it has to know what the community thinks and wants. Keeping the board an isolated, monolithic entity doesn’t accomplish that. Invite community members to attend the meetings and share their thoughts (while still laying out strict rules for when and how to speak, in order to keep the meeting on track).
- Promote ethical behavior: make it a point to have board members always advocate for the most ethical of behavior and actions. Put policies in place for audits and other reviews that get rid of even the appearance of impropriety.
- Hold meetings in a neutral location: an HOA board is an official body, but it’s also still a meeting of community members. Holding meetings in a local restaurant, church, or clubhouse makes for a friendlier atmosphere, while still giving the board the space needed to hold an effective meeting.
- Recruit board members with the right experience: while the desire to sit on a board is definitely a plus, that alone doesn’t make someone a good candidate. Try to find people in the community with business experience, leadership skills, and other useful traits and encourage them to run for a seat.
- Have official documents on hand: all HOA boards have covenants, bylaws, and other official documents that they have to follow. In case any issues regarding them come up, the board members should have these documents available and ready to be reviewed so that the matter can be dealt with quickly.
- Serve refreshments: working on an empty stomach can make people cranky and liable to make bad decisions. Have small refreshments available before the meeting (just be sure to put them away when it starts).
- Have a clear agenda: the items to be discussed at each meeting should be laid out beforehand, and every member prepared to discuss them fully when they enter the room.
New Year, New Resolve
The most important thing is that board members remember what it is that they’re there to do, and that community members help them do it as well as possible. In addition to these tips, try anything that will foster more communication between board members and HOA residents.