There are many responsibilities that fall to those serving as HOA board members, so, more likely than not, a board member is going to have to learn some new skills in order to serve effectively. To be sure, most board members are probably not going to have the foundational knowledge necessary for board leadership. Unless you have served on many HOA boards before, the odds are slim that are going to be well-versed in the kind of governance and financial management tasks the job requires.
Education is utterly paramount, then—but where do you get it? The short answer is that this is a prime example of why a professional HOA management company is so crucial. Most any accredited management company will have the facilities and resources necessary to educate your board members; enlisting a local company is especially helpful, as it allows easy access to their facilities. (Residents in North and South Carolina have convenient access to the numerous Kuester offices, for instance, where educational classes and seminars are held fairly regularly.)
The Community Associations Institute (CAI) also offers educational services, though admittedly, these are a bit tougher to access. Here again, the management company you choose is important. Pick one that coordinates its services with the CAI, as Kuester does, to ensure that your board is able to take advantage of these opportunities.
But you don’t have to wait until you are already serving on the board to start educating yourself. If board service is something that interests you—or indeed, if you have already been elected, or have decided to run—you should start that education right now. This can be as simple as going to all the association meetings; familiarizing yourself with the way these meetings are conducted is crucial.
Finally, as an aspiring board member, you can contact your community’s professional management company directly and ask them for any important documents that you might benefit from reviewing. Taking this kind of proactive stance is a great first step toward being truly effective HOA board members for your community association.