Strategies on playing a bigger role in your HOA.
You live in an HOA. You have a great idea. You’re not on the board, and elections are months away. What next?
Presenting a good idea, whether to a board or to a boss or to anyone else in the position to approve it, isn’t about them. Or you. It’s about the idea.
A good idea needs a spokesperson. And if you’ve come up with the idea, that spokesperson is you. If you can imagine the concept and how it will benefit your community, paint that picture in your presentation. Or, if you can count the ways it will profit your community, tally it up and explain how the numbers will help.
And before you present your idea at the next board meeting (in the agenda as “Other” or “Discussion” or “Comments,”), contact the board secretary and ask if your idea can be featured as a main topic of the meeting.
On the day, you might be nervous. Understandably so. Who wouldn’t? That’s why advice about picturing audiences in their underwear exists. But better than that, picture your idea. In full regalia.
Give your idea wings and a voice, and it can fly.
Have multiple great ideas that you think can improve your community? Consider running for a board position in your HOA come election time or joining a committee. You can be instrumental in helping to plan the community-wide spring BBQ, to renovate the community center, to redesign the common area landscaping, to review and update the association’s architectural guidelines, to create the association’s 5-year plan and to get involved in any number of other important endeavors. All it takes is a few hours of your time each month and a commitment to your neighbors.
There’s a lot to be gained from volunteering your time: new friends, new skills, recognition by your neighbors and—perhaps best of all—an improved community.
Contact the association manager or a member of the board today. Welcome to the neighborhood!
We’re Having What Kind of Meeting?
If you live in a HOA or Condo, or are on the Board in a HOA or Condo, you are probably getting notices left and right about meetings.
What’s the difference between a board meeting and a special meeting, or an annual meeting and a town meeting? Confused? Here’s some clarification.
Annual meetings—or annual membership meetings—are usually required by your governing documents, which specify when they’re to be conducted and how and when members are to be notified about the meeting. This is the main meeting of the year when members receive the new budget, elect a board, hear committee reports and discuss items of common interest. Click here for our HOA/Condo annual review meeting checklist or view below.
Special meetings are limited to a particular topic. When the Board calls a special meeting (which they can do at any time), they must notify all members in advance. The notice will specify the topic so interested members can attend. Special meetings give the board an opportunity to explore sensitive or controversial matters—perhaps an assessment increase. Members do not participate in the meeting, unless asked directly by a board member, but they have a right to listen to the board discussion.
Town meetings are informal gatherings intended to promote two-way communication; full member participation is essential to success. The board may want to present a controversial issue or explore an important question like amending the bylaws. The board may want to get a sense of members’ priorities, garner support for a large project or clarify a misunderstood decision.
Most of the business of the association is conducted at regular board meetings. Board members set policy, oversee the manager’s work, review operations, resolve disputes, talk to residents and plan for the future. Often the health and harmony of an entire community is directly linked to how constructive these meetings are.
The governing documents require the association to notify you in advance of all meetings, and you’re welcome—in fact, encouraged—to attend and listen. The only time you can’t listen is when the board goes into executive session. Topics that the board can discuss in executive session are limited by law to a narrow range of sensitive topics. Executive sessions keep only the discussion private; no votes can be taken. The board must adjourn the executive session and resume the open session before voting on the issue. In this way, members may hear the outcome, but not the private details.
Occasionally the association notifies all residents of a meeting at which absolutely no business is to be conducted. Generally these meetings include food and music, and they tend to be the best attended meetings the association has. Oh, wait! That’s a party, not a meeting. Well, it depends on your definition of meeting.
Here is our annual review checklist which will come in handy for what type of meeting? An annual meeting!