Recruiting Board Members

A thriving homeowners association (HOA) needs dedicated and capable board members. However, recruiting and keeping board members isn't always easy.  Chances are some of your neighbors aren't always that excited about some aspects of your HOA, and who wants to volunteer to be the target of their ire?

With some careful planning and consistent behavior you can mitigate people's concerns and help create a board that productive and reasonably low-effort. In this blog post, we'll explore 13 approachable strategies to help you find, engage, and keep effective board members for your HOA.

1. Be Clear on Responsibilities

Be open about the purpose and responsibilities of the board. You can do this through newsletters, emails, or social media posts. Let potential members know what the board does and what they can expect if they join. Make sure neighbors are aware that your HOA is run by a board of volunteers from day one. Transparency is key.

Share the successes and challenges the board has faced. By showcasing the impact board members can have, you'll inspire potential members to consider joining. Talk about the positive changes the board has made in the community and the obstacles they've overcome together.

2. Celebrate Individual's Achievements

Let your community know when board members do something great. Make a hero out of the volunteer who got that tennis court fixed or sourced a better management company. By recognizing their hard work, you'll show potential members that their efforts will be appreciated too. Celebrate the accomplishments and give credit where it's due – this will encourage others to join the board and contribute.

Show your appreciation for board members who have dedicated their time and energy to the community. Recognizing their hard work and commitment will encourage them to stay involved and motivate others to join the board as well.

3. Make Board Meetings Enjoyable

Nobody wants to join a dull meeting. Keep your board meetings light-hearted and fun by incorporating social elements. Start with some friendly chit-chat, consider ending with a glass of wine. A relaxed atmosphere will make it easier for potential members to see themselves as part of the team.

Don't get relaxed confused with long. Board meetings should have clear agendas which should be strictly followed. Don't let one person capitalize everyone's time. Ideally everyone speaks the same amount, and the goal should be moving through the agenda quickly. If some items need more research or discussion, that can happen in-between meetings. 

4. Clearly Define Board Tasks

Make it easy for potential board members to understand what's expected of them. Break down the roles and responsibilities into manageable tasks. By setting clear expectations, you'll make the prospect of joining the board less intimidating. 

Have this written up and easily accessible from your website so HOA members can quietly consider what a board membership would feel like. Don't be too lawyer-y here, paint a picture they can imagine themselves being part of. 

5. Reach Out Personally

Research has shown if you need help, you're best served by asking a specific individual for it. Sometimes, all it takes is a personal invitation. If you know someone in the community who might be a great fit for the board, approach them directly. A gentle nudge might be all they need to take the leap and get involved.

6. Ask Busy People to Join

It might sound counterintuitive, but sometimes, the busiest people make the best board members. They're often successful, organized, and know how to get things done. Don't shy away from asking these go-getters to join your team! Remember the old adage: "If you want something done, give it to a busy person."

7. Be Open to Single-issue Members

Some people may be interested in joining the board to address a specific issue or make a particular change. Embrace these passionate individuals – their enthusiasm can bring new energy to the board and inspire other members.

Make sure potential board members understand that they don't have to serve forever. By letting them know it's not a lifetime commitment, they may be more willing to give it a try.

8. Keep It Brief

People are more likely to join the board if they know it won't consume all their free time. Be upfront about the time commitment and try to keep it minimal. By being respectful of your members' time, you'll make it easier for them to say yes.

Running your board meetings according to the agenda will help create a culture of friendly efficiency, and word will get out that being on the board actually isn't so bad. 

9. Demystify the Board Experience

Some people might be hesitant to join the board because they don't know what to expect. Make the experience more approachable by sharing stories from current and former board members. These personal insights can help demystify the board experience and make it less intimidating. This ties in with celebrating individual's achievements and being transparent with meeting agendas notes. The more easily someone can imagine themselves being on the board, the more likely they'll want to give it a try.

10. Offer Training and Support

Provide training and support for new board members to help them feel confident in their roles. By offering guidance, you'll make it easier for them to contribute effectively and feel at ease in their new position. Try to make these materials as lightweight as possible. Sure you can send them off to read all of Robert's Rules of Order, but why not find a few youtube videos that get the basic ideas across faster? 

A well-structured onboarding process can help new board members feel confident and prepared for their role. Make sure to provide them with all the necessary information, resources, and support they need to succeed. This will help ensure a smooth transition and set the stage for their continued involvement.

11. Encourage a Sense of Teamwork

Foster a sense of camaraderie and teamwork among board members. By creating a supportive environment, new members will feel welcomed and valued. This can be done through team-building activities, regular check-ins, or simply encouraging open communication. 

Consider having the board meeting before or after a community building event like a BBQ or swim party.

12. Be Flexible with Meeting Times

One way to make it easier for potential members to join the board is by being flexible with meeting times. If your current schedule isn't convenient for everyone, consider adjusting it to accommodate a broader range of schedules. This will make it more accessible for those who may have been hesitant due to time constraints.

If everyone on the board has a flexible schedule, try for having meetings earlier in the day rather than later. People tend to have less positive energy later in the day for meetings they "have" to goto. 

13. Highlight the Benefits of Board Membership

Don't forget to emphasize the benefits of being a board member. Most homeowners who would consider getting involved with their HOA are hoping for a tighter community, higher curb appeal, and more efficient HOA management. Being a board member helps get you the power to get those things done. 

Besides contributing to the well-being of the community, serving on the board can provide valuable experience, networking opportunities, and personal growth. By showcasing the advantages, you can make the prospect of joining more appealing.

Recruiting and retaining effective HOA board members can be a challenging task, but with these 13 friendly and approachable strategies, you'll be well on your way to building a strong, effective team. Remember, communication, transparency, and appreciation are key to fostering a positive environment that attracts and retains board members. By implementing these strategies, you'll create a thriving and engaged HOA board that benefits the entire community.

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