Email Mike Email
Residential Real Estate
Jan 3, 2020

How To Increase Homeowner Participation In Your Community

Sponsored Content provided by Mike Stonestreet - Co-Owner/President, CAMS (Community Association Management Services)

Homeowners can often have differing views of their community associations — some positive, some negative —  depending on their source of information and experiences in the community. New homeowners that buy a home that has an HOA may not fully understand the positive impact the association can have on their experience living in that particular community. It’s important that HOA boards work hard to communicate the benefits to all association members and actively solicit committed volunteers to participate on the board and committees to protect everyone’s investment.

Becoming involved in the decisions and direction of their community, whether it comes in the form of serving on the board of directors or on a committee, is one of the biggest reasons why it’s important to have homeowners become active in their community association. After all, that is what makes it a community. HOAs must have a board of directors and officers according to  governing documents and state statute, so it’s an important requirement from a legal side.

Homeowners can become active participants in their communities in a variety of different ways, the most obvious being attending meetings and voting on important issues. Even if they are unable to attend meetings, they can still be actively involved in association business and meetings by sending in their ballots and proxies. Aside from getting involved with HOA board meetings, residents can join any number of  committees — gardening, welcoming, beautification, social — found in many communities.

A community association can go about soliciting participation by promoting the election of a board of directors. Every time you elect a board of directors, there’s a call for candidates — this is when members have the ability to nominate themselves or someone else. In some communities, this is  done by a nominating committee. Association members can sign up to participate in such a committee or they can contact the board of directors or committee chair.

In terms of starting committees, they are appointed by the board. Homeowners can contact their board of directors requesting the formation of a committee and detailing the purpose of committee. Then, the board will take it under consideration, and approve or deny it. If approved, the next steps are to draft a charter and outline the committee’s objectives and scope of authority.
 
Unfortunately, there is indeed such a thing as “bad” participation. This is usually in the form of people getting on a committee or board for reasons of self-interest, such as a homeowner getting on a board specifically because they don’t ever want their assessments to increase. Any homeowner participating in their community association needs to understand they have a fiduciary commitment/duty to working in the best interest of the association, not the members, not the board and not themselves, but the community as a whole.

In terms of what percentage of homeowner participation is a good target, there are various things to consider. Some HOAs have specific approval percentage. For instance, we have a retirement community that has 27 committees — if they don’t have good processes in place or good charters, you could wind up having way too many people involved to ever be successful. In most cases, if you have, say, a 50-unit condominium building, they’re fine with 3-5 members on a committee. However, if you have a 1,000-lot subdivision with amenities and marinas, you’ll need a many more people participating

Generally, the best time of year to reach out to homeowners is at the annual meeting. For the vast majority of associations this is in the last quarter of the year or within the first months of the following year. It’s a great time for getting people in to the meetings and getting them to sign up for things; typically, its right after annual meetings when the committee members are being appointed each year.

Lastly, there are common mistakes to avoid in soliciting participation. Not properly vetting people who want to participate is something we see too often. This is not so much screening them but checking to see, number one, if are they able to be committed to the job; there’s nothing worse than when people get on a committee and don’t show up for meetings. Number two, not having clear and precise guidelines available for community participants adds a plethora of headaches HOAs end up having to deal with down the line.

It’s important to gather input from the entire community and see what types of activities and interests homeowners want to pursue. Remember, for a community to truly thrive, everyone should be given an opportunity to participate.

Mike Stonestreet is a 30-year veteran of the professional HOA management industry who has achieved one of the highest education-based designations in the field, that of Professional Community Association Manager (PCAM). Community Association Management Services (CAMS) has been a leading association management company since its inception in 1991. CAMS is a trusted provider of management services, dedicated to holding themselves to a higher standard of service to the community associations they serve throughout North Carolina and South Carolina. To find out how CAMS can benefit your community or visit www.CAMSmgt.com.

Other Posts from Mike Stonestreet

Cams300pxx250pxblockadjune2018[1]
Ico insights

INSIGHTS

SPONSORS' CONTENT
Mikestonestreetcropped 862150530

The Ultimate Guide to Interpreting & Enforcing Architectural Restrictions

Mike Stonestreet - CAMS (Community Association Management Services)
Jc300 dsc 2735

The Most Efficient Affordable Housing Strategy

JC Lyle - Wilmington Area Rebuilding Ministry
Dane

Can You Do Well By Doing Good?

Dane Scalise - GriffinEstep Benefit Group

Trending News

Granting New Faces To Old Buildings In Downtown Wilmington

Cece Nunn - Oct 22, 2021

Homebuilder New To Wilmington Builds Momentum In Riverlights

Cece Nunn - Oct 22, 2021

UNCW Announces Members Of Chancellor Search Committee

Staff Reports - Oct 22, 2021

City Council Candidate Q&A: Angie Ulmer

Staff Reports - Oct 21, 2021

City Council Candidate Q&A: Luke Waddell

Staff Reports - Oct 22, 2021

In The Current Issue

Health Care Heroes: Nurse Practitioner/Physician Assistant

This category honors a nurse practitioner or physician assistant whose performance is considered exemplary by patients, peers and other heal...


Health Care Heroes: Physician

This category honors a physician whose performance is considered exemplary by patients, peers and other health care providers....


Health Care Heroes: Lifetime Achievement

“He’s a very quiet-spoken guy, and you would never know what a big deal he is just by talking with him,” said Jim Price, a retired OB/GYN, o...

Book On Business

The 2021 WilmingtonBiz: Book on Business is an annual publication showcasing the Wilmington region as a center of business.

Order Your Copy Today!


Galleries

Videos

Trying to Grow a Business?
2020 Health Care Heroes
2020 WilmingtonBiz 100