As a Board member, it can sometimes be easy to focus on the operational functions of managing an Association rather than the larger picture: creating a Community that Homeowners and residents love to live in. Vendors of all sorts must be hired and paid in a timely manner, mailings have to be prepared and sent, rules and regulations have to be enforced, Board meetings must be held, and the list of other tasks and situations that arise each day are enough to keep anyone’s focus firmly entrenched in the minutiae.
However, being task-oriented isn’t a negative trait; in fact, it is oftentimes a strength when it comes to managing communities in an organized fashion. Below are some suggestions to add to your toolbox as Board members in order to increase engagement within your Community.
Create a Newsletter with a Regular Publication Schedule
The number one complaint Homeowners living in Associations consistently make against their Boards of Directors is a lack of communication. Nothing sows a climate of disengagement and distrust more so among Homeowners than when they feel as if decisions impacting their homes and Communities are being made behind their backs. That’s why it’s important to communicate Community changes and announcements well in advance of their implementation, and a newsletter is a great way to do that.
When designing a newsletter, it’s important to work with a graphic designer who knows how to create a visually-appealing product. Visual appeal is important, as the content of your newsletter may be valuable and pertinent, but no one will read it if the design isn’t inviting. At Hammersmith, we offer in-house, professional newsletter design, printing, and mailing services, which takes much of the specialized expertise and logistical headache out of the newsletter creation and distribution process. If you think a newsletter could benefit your Community, be sure to put it on the agenda for the next Board meeting and discuss options with your Community Association Manager!
Build a Website with Valuable Community Information
Speaking of technology trends, if your Community doesn’t have a website, it’s time to change that. According to the World Bank, 84.2% of the United States population uses the internet, which means that the overwhelming majority of people living within your community likely do as well.
Community websites have multiple functions. On one hand they act as a “sign post” of sorts for potential new Homeowners within the Community, and are oftentimes a great way to showcase the Community’s amenities and why the current Homeowners love living there. (Which in turn boosts your Community’s reputation and visibility, thus making it a more desirable place to purchase.)
The other side of its function is much like the newsletter’s: keeping Homeowners informed. With a website it’s easy to post instantaneous announcements, so they’re a great way to keep Homeowners engaged and informed between editions of the newsletter.
At Hammersmith, we employ a full-time dedicated web designer to create all of our Communities’ websites and keep them updated and running smoothly, as well as multiple packages to choose from. You don’t have to be tech savvy to produce a quality website for your Community—you just need to hire the experts in Association web design!
Plan Regular Community Events
The third pillar of increasing engagement in your Community is a simple one: get people together and talking! A great Community event can do wonders for the overall morale of the Association, and face to face communication is oftentimes the best way to strengthen relationships within the Community.
As a Board member, it’s a good idea to invite your Community’s Association Manager to Community events, as this is an opportunity for them to hear directly from Homeowners in a situation other than a formal meeting, which can sometimes be contentious. It also shows Homeowners that their Manager is invested in listening to their opinions about the management of their Community, and that they’re a real person, not just some other “managing agent.”
Hammersmith Lifestyle Services is your one stop shop for all of your event planning needs! Our team of event professionals will handle all of the planning, promotion, staffing and cleanup of your Community’s events. All you have to do is show up and have fun! From winter sleigh rides to summer concerts in the park, our Lifestyle Services Team can offer a range of event ideas for you to choose from. Or if you have your own concept, they can help make it a reality! Your next Community event is just a proposal away—you can request one here!
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Building community can be as easy as starting one or several simple initiatives, or improving the ones you currently employ to be more effective. Newsletters, websites and events are great ways to increase engagement within your Community, and as a Board member, you should consider making them a part of your Community-building toolbox.