How do you, as a member of your HOA’s board of directors, communicate with the individuals and families within your community? Effectively communicating with members of your HOA community can be a difficult task. IKO Community Management knows this, and wants to help you learn to communicate with members of your homeowners association in the best ways possible. Follow these HOA Board Communications guidelines:
The foundation of good HOA board communications is a plan for all members of the board to follow. Before you write or say a single word, you need to sit down with the other members of the board and discuss a few things:
- Workflow – Who is your first point of contact? If a member of your community has a specific question, comment, or concern where do they go first? Is this an issue for you to handle or would it be more appropriate for your management company to take care of the problem or question? If your board (in cooperation with your management company) doesn’t have a workflow or needs to make some updates, take some time at your next meeting to draw one out. This may take some time, but it will be worth it. When you’ve finalized your workflow make sure that your company’s website and other documentation. For specific topics assign a contact name that reflects your workflow.
- Voice – While your HOA board is made is made up of individuals with different personalities and perhaps even different ideas about how issues should be handled, it’s important that your board speaks with one voice. This practice will help avoid confusion and will help to unify your board as one entity. If your board agrees on how you’re going to address issues and relay information you’ll be able to communicate with your community more effectively. This voice should continue through all of your communications, including your printed messaging, emails and social media.
- Issues – Dealing with HOA resident complaints or trying to reign in an issue resident can take its toll on your board. When problems arise it’s important to remember that in all likelihood the resident’s complaint is not a personal issue they have with you (if it is, it may be best to let another member of the board handle the issue, even if this doesn’t align with your workflow). While families move in to HOA communities for the benefits, there will inevitably come a time when the laws and guidelines of the community come into conflict with an individual’s desires. Keep a calm head and try to put yourself in their shoes. It’s vitally important to hold to the founding laws and guidelines of your HOA community, but when enforcing these, do so remembering that these are your neighbors and that at the end of the day you’re working for a common interest. If you have a delinquent resident be sure to keep accurate account of all communication. If you send letters make sure that these are filed properly. This record keeping will help you if a need for legal action or other sanctions arises (hopefully it won’t come to that, but it’s better to be prepared).
Your HOA board communications approach can make or break a relationship with a member of your community. Remember, people living within your community are your friends and neighbors. Try not to take things personally, and make sure that issues are handled with care.
If you’d like to learn more about how IKO Community Management can help your HOA board effectively communicate with your community, please do not hesitate to contact us. Follow our blog for more tips and suggestions for your board!