Are the people who live within your community merely residents—or are they also friends? That may not seem like a particularly pertinent or pragmatic question, and to an extent it is beyond the scope of what the HOA is about. The community association is meant to preserve the value of common properties; that is its primary function. The community association does not exist to help residents make friends!
With that said… a secondary role of the HOA is to ensure that community members are enjoying a high quality of living. That doesn’t meant the HOA board member must also don the hat of the cruise ship director, or the activities planner. Having a shared HOA Calendar of events, however, can go a long way toward bringing residents together, and ensuring everyone is enjoying a high quality of life.
The question is, what does that HOA calendar of events look like? This is where members of the board will need to think critically. Who are the people who live in your community, and what are their needs?
There are some communities in which the residents really want events planned. These are typically communities that are larger, or else they are Active Adult communities. The role of the HOA board is not to plan events that everyone will love—that will be impossible—but rather to ensure that as many people as possible are pleased with the events being scheduled. Planning a mix of things—an outdoor event, maybe a board game night in the clubhouse, etc.—is the best bet.
For smaller communities, or communities in which there isn’t this demand for activities, the HOA might focus on one or two events that can simply help people get to know each other. A garage sale is always a good idea, or perhaps some sort of holiday gathering or summer kickoff cook-out.
Ultimately, the first step is simply asking yourself the question: What has your HOA board done for its community lately? What does your HOA calendar of events look like? And how might you better serve the needs of those who live in your neighborhood?