You’ve settled into your dream house and with the free time you now have to do some volunteer work, you have decided to join your community association board to be active in – and an advocate for – the place you call home.
Then… you get a glimpse at that first fiscal year budget spreadsheet!
When it comes to condominium and community associations, the difference between wanting to serve and knowing how best to serve can be daunting. But don’t let all those financial ledgers and legal guidelines discourage you – there is help out there for residents ready and willing to get involved.
The N.C. Chapter of the Community Associations Institute (CAI), an international organization representing more than 35,000 members, is an invaluable tool to homeowners who have stepped up to be leaders within their neighborhoods.
Membership with CAI means never going it alone. In addition to an extensive library of resources available through its website, the organization maintains a highly active online forum, where boards facing specific questions and decision-making dilemmas can seek feedback from their peers across the country.
CAI chapters also offer in-person training sessions and events, such as North Carolina’s annual Community Law Day, a well-attended yearly educational fair led by attorneys specializing in community and condominium association legal matters.
In the Tarheel State, the chapter is further divided by region – coastal, Piedmont, Triad, etc. – to allow members to focus even more specifically on matters that concern them most. While boards along the Atlantic Ocean must be up-to-date on hurricane preparation and clean-up, for example, those in the Piedmont need to keep abreast of snow- and ice-related repairs.
And membership with CAI can add up to significant cost savings over time. Rather than having to consult an accountant or attorney each time you and your board members have questions, you can start first with CAI to see if you can find your answer there.
Simply put, CAI is the source for best practices and guidance on everything you as a community or condominium association board member could face. That’s important to note, since 99 percent of all community and condominium associations in North Carolina are corporations and must function as such.
Therefore, even as a volunteer serving on an association board, you must approach your duties the way a business owner would, because that is essentially what you are doing – handling finances, making and approving budgets and making prudent decisions about your community and its future.
But perhaps the most important benefit of CAI comes down to something I’ve seen time and again in my decades of experience – well-run associations make for happy residents. And that ultimately benefits the entire community you call home.
Click here for more information about becoming a CAI member, or to see a schedule of upcoming events and seminars.
Mike Stonestreet is a 28-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 for more than 265 associations throughout North Carolina, South Carolina and Georgia. To find out how CAMS can benefit your community, call 910-256-2021, email [email protected], or visit www.CAMSmgt.com.
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