There is a lot of work that goes into running an effective homeowners association, and volunteers can play an integral role. While some volunteers are board members,there are plenty of others who serve on committees or just help with individual projects from time to time. One of the great things about volunteers is that they bring a wide range of experience and insight to the HOA.
However, the board must be careful about how volunteers are used in order to protect the HOA from potential liability and to prevent burnout from individuals.
- Establish clear directions and expectations. Every committee or project should serve a purpose, and volunteers should know exactly what they are to be doing. Have one or two people lead the committee to manage tasks and ensure that everything is getting done correctly and on time. These leaders can also make sure that there are enough people to cover the work and no one is being overwhelmed.
- Be cautious about how volunteers are used. While it’s fairly safe to ask people to help plant flowers or clean up after an event,avoid asking them to do activities that could pose a potential safety risk. For instance, the HOA does not want volunteers climbing ladders, replacing light fixtures, or clearing clogged gutters. There is high risk for accidents to happen. It is better to use a contracted vendor or licensed handyman that is properly insured and trained.
- Show appreciation. Volunteers don’t have to commit their time to helping the HOA, so let them know that the work they do is valued and recognized. A little appreciation can go a long way in keeping volunteers happy. While an annual party can be fun, do little things throughout the year too like sending a card, writing up an article for the newsletter, or personally saying thank you when you see the person.
Volunteers do a lot to support the board and allow them to focus on more pressing issues that cannot be delegated. But make sure that safety is a top priority when assigning tasks and that volunteers are not duplicating work a vendor is already being paid for. Work together to find opportunities where they can be most beneficial and where they feel they are making a positive impact and able to put their talents and interests to use.
Partnering with a property management company like Kuester can help the HOA learn how to use volunteers more effectively while also reducing liability. A property manager can also ramp up communication and efforts to attract more interest in participating on committees or special projects. Contact Kuester today to find out how we can support your community.