The members of your association came together because they bought homes in the community. As board members and managers, you help keep it all together but to be successful everyone in a community must work together. As you can see from the list below, successful associations are doing things that not every association is doing. And those things all involve working together.
Do regular strategic planning. Strategic planning is the cornerstone of every successful community association. Without it, communities don’t know where they are going—much less know if they ever get there. Strategic planning allows the entire community to develop and understand the long term goals of the community. For more information on strategic planning read this article or contact Loura Sanchez in our office who is available to facilitate strategic planning sessions for your community.
Embrace Technology. We aren’t talking about having a website, but rather, using technology to make communication easier, automation to save time and foster resident engagement. Hosting meetings via Skype or GoToMeetings or allowing online voting are just a few of the ways successful associations are embracing technology.
Invest in Training. Successful boards know and understand that having trained individuals on their team is a key to success. Training may start with orientation programs for new volunteers and expand to paying for conferences and training programs for established volunteers. Boards know that a small amount of money invested in teaching reaps rewards that are invaluable.
Have Succession Plans. Just like successful companies plan for the retirement of the CEO, successful community associations also plan for change in board members, managers and key staff (if applicable). This is done through cultivation of volunteers who are exposed to the operations of the association early and often, before they are elected to the board, and long term planning to align talent with the goals of the association.
Develop Partnerships. Successful communities work with business partners not “vendors.” They take the time to develop strong ties with those that provide services to their community but also neighboring businesses, communities and governmental entities. These partnerships allow the association to accomplish things faster, more economical and help create something bigger and more significant than just an association.
Use Professionals. Board members do not always have all the skills necessary to run a community association. The most successful ones recognize this and build a team of professionals with the key skills to help the board achieve its goals and take the association to the next level.
Build a Community. While the name community association implies there is a “community”, most associations don’t really have a community. People press the garage door opener, pull in and shut the door. They don’t attend meetings, they don’t use amenities and they don’t even know their neighbors names. Exceptional communities are finding ways for members to connect with each other. They are creating platforms for engagement so that members are a part of something bigger than just a mandatory association where they have to pay assessments.
Encourage voluntary resolution of disputes. While litigation is sometimes necessary, most successful associations foster voluntary compliance with rules and regulations by engagement, education and positive energy.
We’d love to hear ways that your communities are standing out and pushing the envelope to create even better communities. Feel free to comment, shoot us an email or post your thoughts on our Facebook page.