Anyone who has worked in or alongside an HOA board will surely attest to the fact that HOA communications is key to in cultivating a sense of community, and keeping residents apprised of everything from community events to maintenance issues, having some clear means of communication is essential. There are, of course, many options available here, and deciding which ones are best for your HOA is largely a matter of evaluating the specific communication needs of your community.
- Newsletter. A paper newsletter is old-fashioned, but hardly ineffective. A newsletter does not allow you room for depth, but it does allow you to make brief mention of several items in a small space; use a newsletter to mention neighborhood events, pool opening or closing dates, board meetings, and so forth.
- Website. Using a website instead of a newsletter is much more cost-effective, and for many residents it’s more convenient; however, if your community has many people who aren’t on the Web, this option might have limited efficacy.
- Community handbooks. Printing and distributing these books can be costly, so they aren’t a good option for creating regularly and using to discuss upcoming events, but they do provide a good way to make sure residents have copies of all the rules and documents related to living within the parameters of the HOA. Cut costs by putting the handbook online as a free download for members—but have some printed copies handy for those without online access.
- E-mail. The best option for communicating the same message to many residents at once, e-mail has only one downside—that is, that a few members may not have easy web access.
- Text messages. Because many residents will be charged for receiving text messages, and because character space is limited, you will need to use this option only for emergencies or for particularly urgent messages.
- Phone tree. Enlisting one of these professional services will allow you to record a message and have it sent, via phone, to all of your residents.
So which one is the best for your community? Here’s a hint: You’ll probably need more than one of them. Talk with your association management company about the right combination of communication methods for your community’s needs.