Adapting and evolving: How leveraging technology can better serve the communities you manage
Being on the board of an HOA or similar entity gives you the unique opportunity to help make a difference in the community that you live in. Those on an HOA board strive to help make life easier for all residents.
With any position that includes making decisions that affect how other people go about their day, it's essential to be ready for complex decisions, collaboration, and grunt work to increase the quality of life for all residents. To do this, having a solid understanding of the duties of each board member is essential.
To understand those duties and how to carry them out, you first need to acknowledge the commonly made mistakes by board members. This article will recognize these mistakes and shed light on how different forms of community software can help remedy them.
Whether it be a for-profit business, non-profit, charity, club, HOA, or any organization, communication is the ultimate tool to make or break any group. When we communicate and collaborate with others in our immediate group, everyone is on the same page. It ensures that the group focuses on the most significant problems at hand. Communication can also help create a sense of community as it helps to ensure that everyone involved in the community has a voice. Below, we highlight some of the mistakes boards make when communicating with residents and other board members.
When someone lives in an HOA, they will need to allow for routine or one-time inspections or maintenance. This doesn't seem too challenging to manage, especially if you notify each resident via email, snail mail, or phone call. The reality of the situation is that you can't count on everyone using the same mode of communication to receive their updates, warnings, or dates for scheduled events or maintenance. You can't spend all of your time trying to use ALL of these channels to reach people; it would simply take far too long and be incredibly difficult to sift through all the responses, which can lead to mistakes like overlooking an email or forgetting to call someone back.
With community software, issues can now be narrowed down to one place. You can directly message any resident, or all of them simultaneously, about anything at all that they might need to know. All of the information they would need about upcoming events, scheduled maintenance, or inspections: when an HOA uses community software as their central hub for ALL of the HOA's significant developments, more tremendous success and higher satisfaction are guaranteed.
One of the most common mistakes is board members operating independently. As an example, let's say a board member is sending out a letter to all residents informing them of a hang-up to the garbage pickup schedule. Instead of removing the trash on Monday morning, they send a letter informing the resident that it is now Wednesday morning. That's fine, as long as all of the information is correct and discussed amongst the board as a whole beforehand and then communicated to the rest of the HOA. Going at something like this alone creates more room for error since only one person has proofed the message. What if there is additional information that could be helpful? Maybe another board member would have brought it to attention? Instead of one concise statement with all of the information needed, the board will discuss what else a resident needs to know about the new trash day and then send out a second notice.
It is easier to get in touch with other board members via community software. You can edit any announcements made on the homepage of the community website. This makes it easier to correct mistakes made by yourself or other board members who didn't take the time to collect all the information from all of the board members.
Making sure your residents and other board members have all the information they need to have a good understanding of the rules and inner workings of the HOA is essential to avoiding common mistakes within your HOA. Equally as important is ensuring that residents have a way of telling you what they like and dislike, things they'd like to see changed, or questions and concerns they might have.
Many HOAs worldwide suffer from this common mistake; there just aren't many effective ways to receive feedback. Residents are always welcome to email, mail, call, etc., any of the board members, but this doesn't always ensure they feel comfortable or account for their busy schedules. Because there is no clear way for residents to communicate within the community a board member can miss the call and forget to respond, or they could fail to respond to an email or a letter resulting in homeowners not feeling heard.
With community software such as TownSq, the opportunity for residents to comment, ask questions, and give feedback is more simple than ever before. On the TownSq dashboard, you can comment and ask questions on anything that's been posted. You can also get in touch directly with residents through the messages feature discussed in the previous section. With the digital voting feature, residents can comment and ask questions about specific parts of a ballot. There is no shortage of ways to deliver feedback.
Living in an HOA is a unique living situation in which there is much more structure and consistency than a traditional cookie-cutter neighborhood. With this in mind, living in an HOA should have a heightened sense of community since members share commonalities, and everyone abides by the same rules and regulations.
While being a member of an HOA means that everyone follows the same rules and guidelines, everyone lives near one other, and everyone is welcomed to the same events and amenities as each other, often these commonalities might not add up to having a strong sense of community anyways. Assuming your community is connected is a common mistake new board members make.
Communication and feedback are the two main reasons people feel left out of their community. Without communication between board members and residents, the residents start to feel as though they're being ruled over since they never hear about the board's inner workings, leading to an overwhelming worry that they don't have a say in what happens. The same can be said if the residents are not given the correct space to voice their concerns or ask questions.
A simple way to avoid this mistake is implementing community software within the HOA. The resident will better communicate and give feedback to the right audience. This strengthens the sense of community, especially if people feel they have a say in what goes on in their life and their community; they generally will have a higher quality of life and enjoy where they live and the people around them more.
TownSq has more than enough tools to help generate more interactions between a board and its residents. As mentioned before, the TownSq dashboard, accompanied by distinctive features such as announcements, messages, and digital voting, creates that sense of community within TownSq that is so important for HOAs everywhere.
Additionally, resources are available through the software that allows for even more specific communication. For example, residents can schedule maintenance directly through the software, reducing the time it would take to resolve issues. This gives residents more opportunities to communicate directly to the proper authority and helps prevent unnecessary back and forth with board members or management.
With TownSq, many of the problems addressed above become solved, helping the HOA community grow stronger and closer together.