Improve HOA annual meetings for your association, and you set it up for a solid year. That’s no exaggeration, either – HOA annual meetings are simply that important. It’s when the annual budget gets its final review. It also sets the tone for how the HOA prepares for the coming year. Thus, your HOA social committee has an important role when it comes to managing this important event.
Read on for tips on how to improve HOA annual meeting attendance, agenda, and your overall meeting experience.
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Improve HOA Annual Meetings With These 5 Tips
Once a year, HOAs have annual meetings where everyone comes together to examine next year’s prospects. It’s when both the board and members look at the annual budget and figure out what they should spend on, and how it affects fees. It’s also a good reason to get everyone together and socialize. So, how do you go about improving this major event for your association?
1. Improve HOA Annual Meetings With Sufficient Planning
Failing to plan is planning to fail. That holds true not just for the actual projects your HOA implements, but also for its events as well.
Thus, it’s a good idea to prepare for the HOA annual meetings as early as you can. This way, you can work out any kinks and have plenty of time to do so. Plus, you’ll have plenty of time to implement ideas to improve HOA annual meetings as well.
To give your HOA enough time to plan things out, consider starting your planning six to eight months ahead. Yes, that means you’ll already be planning for your HOA annual meeting for most of the year. With the length of the agenda for these meetings, you’ll be glad you did.
2. Finalize Your Agenda Early On
A lot of things happen in a managed community over the course of the year. Plus, there’s a lot of expectations from the HOA residents about next year as well. That’s why it’s important to set boundaries when it comes to what makes it into the agenda, and what’s not. You’re now planning your HOA annual meeting earlier, right? Then now’s the time to start setting up the agenda items, so you have a clear agenda to stick to.
This way, you make sure you have enough time to cover the annual meeting basics, like:
- Financial reports, and other reports from the HOA board
- Summary of upcoming projects, and the budget for them
- Items the board needs to vote on
- Board nominees
- Board elections
- Open Forum for the HOA members
Another advantage of setting up the agenda way in advance is that you give other board members plenty of time to prepare as well. When your board has a clear agenda ahead of time, the board members who are presenting will have plenty of time to organize their documents.
Of course, there could be urgent matters that may come up after you have already set up the agenda. At least, that’s just a handful of items that you have to fit into the agenda you’ve already outlined. Whatever the case, make sure to release a final annual meeting agenda a month before the meeting takes place.
3. Inform the Community Early
Any organization needs to set aside time to talk about goals and catch up with the happenings of the year, especially a community association. It is central for every association to meet annually and discuss the topics of the coming year. Every community has a quorum that needs to be met, which means the majority of board members have to be present for the meeting to be legal.
Surprisingly, most annual meetings are low in attendance, which is a concern for the association. Oftentimes, the problem lies with the way the HOA board makes the announcement. Boosting attendance is always a great way to improve HOA annual meetings.
Many board members and property managers would agree that the attendance of meetings is low and something should be done. So, if it will take place during a busy time of the year, make sure to notify everyone early. Another suggestion is to send out weekly reminders.
If you have the budget for it, you can also try sending out an annual meeting invitation. If cost is a concern an email blast is free of charge, too, so that’s a good idea if your email list is fairly complete. Your bylaws may also prescribe how far in advance of the meeting you should be sending these notices.
Send them early enough, however, and some homeowners might also forget the exact date. Most HOAs would normally mail out annual meeting notices a month prior to the meeting. Reminders here and there could enhance attendance.
4. Take Steps to Ensure Everyone Can Participate
One of the highlights of the HOA annual meeting is the election of the board of directors. Just like most elections, the results are only valid if a quorum is met. That is, you need enough voters, and enough votes, for the election to have a winner.
These numbers are usually specified in your association’s governing documents. Usually, board meetings require 50% of the eligible voters to cast votes for the result to be valid.
Not every HOA member can make it to your HOA annual meeting. If they choose, let them vote by proxy, instead. A letter of proxy can allow an HOA member to vote on another’s behalf. Check with your association lawyer if your HOA allows proxy votes to count.
Also, consider adding a suggestion box as well. Sometimes, board members will ignore them. However, it can be worth it if one of the suggestions ends up helping your board.
Improve HOA Annual Meetings for the Good of the Community
Every HOA is different. Some HOAs are blessed with active members and experienced community managers. Others have to make do with trial and error to improve annual HOA meetings for everyone. However, one thing remains constant – your board needs to put in the effort to improve. Stay connected to the community at large, and be open to new ideas. Do your research, and don’t be afraid to ask for help from your community manager. Before long, your annual HOA meetings will be events that everyone will look forward to.