A homeowner’s association can’t operate properly without an engaged, motivated membership. But how do you convince residents to run for the HOA board?
Board members don’t get paid—and you can’t offer any “incentives” that would undermine the volunteer nature of the position. In an era where people are busier than ever, asking folks to donate their time as a board member can be a tough sell. Here are a few ways to make it easier to convince homeowners to run for the HOA Board.
1. Showcase What the Current HOA Board Is Doing
The decisions made by board members have an impact on the entire community, influencing property values, quality of life, and much more. By regularly informing homeowners about the board’s activities, you may spark interest among those who enjoy being in a position to make a positive difference. This is true whether they agree or disagree with the current board’s decisions. In fact, the people who complain loudest about what the board is doing may be your best recruits to run in the next election cycle. After all, they should want the chance to do things differently!
2. Solicit Fresh Ideas from the Community
Being an HOA board member may seem boring—unless there are exciting initiatives under consideration. When people come up with their own ideas, they are more likely to volunteer to help put them into action. Approach homeowners who offer ideas for improvement and ask them if they will help make those ideas a reality. Festive community events, proposed improvements to common areas, and neighborhood safety initiatives may all attract champions who can be recruited to the HOA board.
3. Find Out Who Is Most Trusted
Maybe people don’t want to serve on the board themselves, but they’d be happy to nominate a neighbor. Take a poll in the community to find out who is most trusted and respected. Then, approach those potential candidates and let them know that their name came up as an ideal board member. There’s nothing wrong with appealing to vanity or professional pride to cajole homeowners into serving on the board—if they really are the best people for the job. Look for HOA members who have skills that are sorely needed (e.g., accounting, project management, legal) since they can make a big impact with a minimal time commitment.
4. Start with Baby Steps
Give homeowners plenty of opportunity for involvement in smaller ways before they make a commitment to be on the board. For example, make HOA meetings into social events that attract people to attend so they can add their voice to the conversation. Then, recruit them to serve on a committee where they can get used to participating in making decisions. After that, it’s not such a big leap to ask them to run in the next HOA board election. In any event, ensure potential candidates understand the scope of their HOA board responsibilities in advance.
5. Remind Members of the Consequences of a Vacancy
The rules of your HOA likely require that certain board positions be filled for the association to comply with regulations. If nobody is willing to step forward, your board may have to take unwanted action.
- Your current board might appoint someone rather than going through the standard election process. In this case, the person appointed may be reluctant to serve and the community doesn’t get a choice in who is on the board.
- The HOA may go into receivership in which case the courts would appoint someone to fill one or more board positions. This service comes with a hefty price tag and HOA members will end up footing the bill.
- Some boards simply start making outrageously bad decisions to force the issue. Unfortunately, that’s a surefire way to garner ill will and could be viewed as a breach of fiduciary duty.
Need help communicating with members, managing board elections, and more? Turn to Ardent Residential for assistance recruiting homeowners to run for your HOA board.