While the HOA holds meetings throughout the year to manage specific issues that arise and review overall operations, annual meetings take things to another level. Homeowners may or may not attend board meetings, but all homeowners are encouraged to be at the annual meeting to stay abreast of happenings within the HOA and cast their vote. However, it’s not always easy to keep high attendance and interest in meetings. Here are a few ways that HOAs can handle common annual meeting challenges:
Explain the importance of the annual meeting. New members may not understand the difference between the annual meeting and board meetings. Make sure that homeowners understand that in order for changes to occur – whether it’s voting on new board members or amending the governing documents – a quorum must be present. Low turnout rates can drag things out and require more meetings to be held. If everyone attends, this can boost productivity.
Provide plenty of notice. Many governing documents set a window of 10-90 days’ notice for the annual meeting. Give homeowners enough time to plan for it and make necessary arrangements so that they can attend. Send out a friendly reminder closer to the date as well.
Set an agenda – and follow it. Often homeowners are apathetic toward meetings because they don’t want to sit through drawn out discussions. Encourage speakers to keep presentations short and to the point. Handouts can provide members with additional information and there will be time for questions as well. Plan ahead to ensure all issues that require a vote are included to make the most of homeowner time.
Keep things interesting. Want to emphasize important information or results? Create a visual. When members have something to look at, it can help keep attention and enhance understanding. Showcase the impact of committees through a short video highlighting their achievements. Break things up so that it doesn’t become monotonous. It can also be a good idea to provide light refreshments or have door prizes members can win.
When homeowners are engaged and actively involved in submitting and executing ideas, voting on changes, and serving on committees, it can build a stronger sense of community and create a more harmonious environment. Partnering with a property management company such as Kuester can help HOAs boost interest and attendance, keep meetings on track, and operate more effectively. Members play an important part in guiding the board and raising issues that affect their life as part of the community, so encourage them to get involved and make their voice heard.