Community association (sometimes called a homeowner’s association or HOA) board members are responsible for making critical decisions that affect their community members' lives. In order to make informed decisions, board members need to be educated on a wide variety of topics related to community associations. In addition, board member education is essential for ensuring that associations are run efficiently and effectively. In this article, we will discuss some key areas in which board members should be educated when they serve as volunteers, govern the community, and manage the association's business entity.
Board Member Roles
Community association board members have a lot of responsibility. Not only do they have to make sure the community is running smoothly, but they also have to handle a variety of important legal and financial duties. As such, board members must understand their roles and the board's role as a whole. The president, for example, is responsible for presiding over meetings while the vice president takes on the president's duties in their absence. In addition, the secretary is responsible for taking minutes at meetings and maintaining official records, while the treasurer manages the community's finances. Though this is just the tip of the iceberg, you can see that by understanding your roles and responsibilities, your board can ensure that the community runs smoothly and efficiently. Since board members are volunteers, they must know when they are acting as a board member (only in a properly convened meeting), and when they are "wearing their homeowner hat".
To successfully lead a community association, board members must have a good grasp of their HOA's governing documents. These documents outline the rules and regulations that members must follow and provide board members with the information they need to enforce them. Without a good grasp of the governing documents, board members would be powerless to manage their communities effectively. Fortunately, professional community association management companies offer educational resources to help board members understand the different types of documents and the specific rules of their community. By taking advantage of these resources, board members can ensure they are prepared to lead their community associations.
Anyone who has ever managed their own finances knows it can be difficult and time-consuming. Now imagine trying to keep track of the finances of an entire community! That's why board members need to understand the community's financials. The treasurer is primarily responsible for financial matters, but all board members must be familiar with the HOA's financial reports. This way, everyone can be updated on the association's financial status and be prepared to make informed decisions about the budget and other financial matters. After all, knowledge is power - especially when it comes to money!
Architectural Review and Covenant Compliance
Another thing board members need to be intimately familiar with is the provisions of their community's use restrictions and architectural review process. Why? Because you'll be responsible for enforcing the rules fairly and evenly across the entire community. No exceptions! Trust us; this is not a job for anyone with a personal vendetta against picket fences or burgundy houses. Instead, board members must be able to review requests based solely on the governing documents objectively. To help with this process, boards should have an architectural review process that explains all the information they'll need from the person submitting the request. And don't forget to put a time limit on how long you have to respond—though the governing documents might already do this (and they might say that requests are automatically approved if you don't respond within a certain time frame, so watch out!). At the end of the day, serving on your community's board can be a rewarding experience. Just make sure you go in with your eyes wide open and always put the association's interests first!
Board members are often tasked with making difficult decisions for their homeowners' association. But when it comes to emergency planning, even the most experienced board member can be at a loss. That's why it's essential for board members to educate themselves on the importance of emergency planning. After all, even though you can't predict when an emergency will happen, having a general framework in place can be invaluable. Emergency plans should include who will be in charge of different aspects of the situation, who will be tasked with communication, and so on. You can easily tailor the activities to your specific situation with a plan in place. By educating themselves on emergency planning, board members can help ensure that their HOA is prepared for whatever comes its way.
Becoming a board member of your community association is not as simple as it may seem. It requires continuous education to stay updated on the latest industry trends, know how to handle complex situations, and, most importantly – be effective. While some people might have experience running businesses or holding leadership positions, being a good board member goes beyond that. That's why partnering with a reputable community management company is essential. At CAMS, we offer our clients ongoing training and educational opportunities on various topics so they may develop the skills necessary to be outstanding leaders in their community associations.
Are you interested in finding out more about educational opportunities for board members? Reach out to us today, and be sure to check out recordings of our "Ask the Experts" webinar series here.
In business for over 31 years, CAMS is North and South Carolina’s premier community management company. With experienced local managers in each of its nine regions, CAMS is dedicated to providing innovative solutions to the community associations it serves. Additionally, CAMS was featured on Inc. Magazine’s 2022 Inc. 5000 list of the fastest-growing private companies in America. To learn more, visit www.camsmgt.com/choose-cams.
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