As the year slowly comes to a close, many HOAs hold their annual meeting in order prepare for the year ahead. The new budget is approved, board members are elected, and the activities of the past 12 months are recapped. However, one of the challenges many associations face is getting attendance up in order to meet quorum and simply ensure that as many homeowners as possible are involved and informed. Here are a few ways to increase interest and help things run more smoothly:
1. Notify members early.
Start sending out reminders at least 60 days in advance, then continue following up. Post the date on your community website, in newsletters, and on the community bulletin board. You want to give members enough time to plan ahead in case they need to coordinate child care or arrange their schedule around the meeting. While you don’t want to go overboard bombarding members with reminders, you do want to keep it fresh in their mind so they don’t forget.
2. Prepare necessary materials.
The board doesn’t want to be scrambling at the last minute. Make sure that agendas are created, ballots are printed, and any presentations are finalized and tested ahead of time to ensure audio/visual equipment is working properly. Don’t forget about securing necessary personnel too! Do you need volunteers to help with voting procedures or handing out materials? Is there setup that needs to be done prior to the meeting?
3. Make it fun.
No one likes to sit through long, drawn-out meetings. Consider combining the annual meeting with a social event. Provide light refreshments or hold a pizza party or ice cream social afterward. Keep the agenda short and to the point, and follow clear processes and procedures to stay on track. While there may be some hot-button issues that are discussed, don’t forget to emphasize all of the positive things that have happened over the past year and celebrate the successes.
4. Introduce nominees ahead of time.
If board elections are occurring, make sure homeowners know who is on the ballot in advance. Consider holding a meet-and-greet or a candidate forum so they can get to know nominees and ask questions in order to make more informed decisions when voting. If nominees are making speeches or presentations at the annual meeting, have guidelines in place to keep things moving along.
Remember: if quorum isn’t met, no official HOA business can be conducted. Be proactive in educating members on the importance of attending or voting by proxy. Regular communication and building strong relationships can go a long way in getting member involvement up and having more effective meetings. Don’t forget to talk to your community manager about ways they can help with communication, preparation, and execution of the annual meeting as well! Contact Kuester today learn more about how we support HOA operations.