One of the best ways to invite homeowners to volunteer for the community is to send them an HOA board member recruitment letter. Writing this letter, though, takes more than just a few simple words.
What to Include in Your HOA Board Member Recruitment Letter
A lot of homeowners associations find it hard to fill positions on the HOA board, whether due to a lack of interest or candidates. How do you recruit HOA board members, then? Writing a recruiting board members letter is one way of inviting candidates who already have potential. It can even be a way to get timid but skilled candidates out of their shells. Sometimes, people are just waiting for current board members to approach them for help.
But, what should your HOA board member recruitment letter say?
First and foremost, you need to be transparent. Let the homeowner know that being a board member requires their time and commitment. Sure, you may have an HOA management company doing most of the work, but you shouldn’t rely solely on them to improve your community.
You should also set their expectations from the get-go. As a board member, they will be making some tough decisions, some of which won’t go over very well with other homeowners. Explain what it is board members do and invite them to attend a board meeting to get a clearer view of what that is. Emphasize in your letter that the board is an essential part of the association’s success.
Finally, your letter should be inviting. Tell the homeowner that you chose them because you’re interested in hearing what they have to say. Their opinions matter and your board can always use fresh ideas.
Here is a sample letter to potential board members you can use as a guide:
How to Recruit Board Members for Your HOA
Between juggling 9-to-5 jobs and their personal lives, homeowners usually don’t have time to dedicate to serving the community. Because of this, not a lot of residents develop an interest in joining the HOA board. Still, any board will benefit from fresh ideas and a brand-new take on certain issues.
Recruiting HOA board members, though, is not as easy as it seems. Luckily, there are a few ways you can use to drum up interest and enlist some strong volunteers. Beyond writing a recruitment letter, here are tips on how to find HOA board members:
1. Appeal to the Specific Talents of Your Homeowners
Sometimes, homeowners might not want to join the board because they feel that their talents or skills aren’t needed. Chances are, a majority of your residents believe that most of what the board does is related to managing the community’s finances. And although that’s certainly an important part of it, it’s not all you do.
There are some things your board may be lacking that certain homeowners can fulfill. Perhaps you’re in need of someone with expertise in construction or design. Maybe you can benefit from someone with IT knowledge or gardening experience.
If you already know that you’re missing someone with a particular skill set, then it may be worth going that extra mile to recruit them. Make sure not to focus on the association alone. Instead, you should also appeal to the homeowner’s talents.
Talk to homeowners personally and recognize the skills they have. Make them see that the association can gain from their skills and let them know how rewarding the experience can be.
2. Turn Complaints Into Recruitment Opportunities
Complaints aren’t always a bad thing. In fact, they’re opportunities for growth. And, if a homeowner comes to you with a complaint, it can signal their inherent desire to make the community a better place.
Look for homeowners who show a knack for turning complaints into constructive suggestions. Those are the residents you want to focus on because they actually want to contribute something to the community. Don’t be overbearing about it, though. Instead, ask them to see if they want to run for a position on the board. Let them know that they will have more power to change how things are if they’re a board member.
Of course, you should also learn how to identify which homeowners genuinely want to help and which ones are just complaining for the sake of complaining. If a resident complains in an aggressive way as opposed to a polite way, they probably won’t be a good fit for the board.
3. Consider Starting New Recruits in Low-Commitment Positions
Most of the time, homeowners feel hesitant about joining the board because of the level of commitment involved. In a lot of ways, serving as a board member is akin to a part-time job.
If a candidate displays potential but can’t commit a lot of time, start them off as a committee member. The idea here is to start small, letting them experience helping the community in a way that’s not as demanding as being a board member. Who knows? Maybe they will want to upgrade in the future and devote more time to community management. That’s when they can choose to join the board.
4. Market Your HOA Board to Your Homeowners
Because board members work mostly unseen, it can be easy to forget that they even exist. This is usually a sign that things are running very well in the community because homeowners have nothing to complain about.
But, when the board isn’t present enough, at least in a visible sense, it can be hard to cultivate interest. Make sure to do more than just announce the schedule of regular board meetings or board participation. You can encourage residents to join the board by talking about it in your monthly newsletters or your HOA website.
Speaking of board meetings, they also offer a great chance for you to introduce previously unknown board members to the community. This is a good way to connect with residents on a more personal level. When they put a name to the face, they’re made more aware of the board and its work.
5. Be Prepared to Answer Questions Candidly
Apart from learning how to ask someone to be a board member, you should also learn how to give answers. Homeowners are going to have a ton of questions about board roles and the different processes that exist within the community. Make sure to know the answers to the important questions ahead of time so that you can be ready with them when homeowners come knocking.
Talk to your fellow board members and management company first. This way, you can come up with consistent and educational answers while encouraging homeowners to volunteer for the board at the same time.
6. If Your Bylaws Allow It, Try Appointing the Perfect Candidate
For a lot of homeowners associations, their governing documents allow them to choose a candidate and appoint them to a position on the board. If you already know someone who would be a perfect fit for the role, then why not assign it to them straight away?
It goes without saying, though, that you should talk to the person you want to appoint first. Nobody wants to be put on the spot to make a decision. If they seem reluctant, perhaps you can offer them a short-term role to start. When they feel ready or comfortable enough, then you can talk about extending their term.
7. Do Something Outrageous
Sometimes, it takes something really shocking to gain residents’ attention. For instance, sending a notice to all homeowners telling them you’re about to vote on a $2,000 hike in HOA dues can really capture their interest. You can bet a lot of residents will show up to your next meeting. This tactic works for many boards, but you should also exercise caution because it can potentially anger some of your homeowners.
A Word of Caution
Board members aren’t paid to do their jobs. Residents serve on the board on a volunteer basis. If you find that nobody’s interested in running for the open positions, though, don’t resort to bribery or compensation. Even something as small as offering residents a gift basket for their interest in a board position can be misconstrued as bribery.
Why is this sort of practice bad? Because by paying people, you’re essentially knocking down the legal protections offered to board members as volunteers. This can create more problems down the line.
The Importance of Your Recruitment Letter
Serving on the HOA board is often a thankless job, but it’s a necessary one. To build a strong board, you need to start with the recruitment process. You need to let homeowners know why they should join the board and what they can expect from the job should they agree. An HOA board member recruitment letter can help with that.
If your HOA board is crumbling under the weight of your duties, perhaps it’s time to outsource the tasks to an HOA management company. Use our comprehensive online directory to start searching for the best ones in your area.
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