HOA managers do a lot, but of course, they can’t do everything all by themselves—and that’s exactly why recruiting HOA volunteers from inside the community is so pivotal. This can be easier said than done, however; after all, serving on a board might seem, to some, like a major drain on their time, and the work of the HOA is so perpetually busy that burnout is a very real problem. With that in mind, it is important for current HOA leaders to always be thinking ahead and considering who might make good HOA volunteers in the not-so-distant future. And when it comes to recruiting volunteer board members, there are a few simple principles to keep in mind.

One key strategy is to get people involved early. When someone moves into the community, they should immediately be aware of the HOA board’s presence, and of what exactly the HOA does. A good practical solution is to have an HOA board member assigned to meet with new residents as they move in. This ensures that the conversation—about what the board is, and how it might serve the interests of the new resident (and vice versa)—starts as soon as possible.

Another important principle is to be very cautious about trying to coerce people into volunteering, especially those who have busy professional lives. Believing that an accountant or an insurance salesperson might bring some practical expertise to the board is one thing, but if they are already very busy then adding another burdensome time commitment to their schedule is to nobody’s advantage.

Finally, it’s worth mentioning that there needs to be a sense of balance, especially with new HOA volunteers. On the one hand, it’s important to empower HOA volunteers to actually do something. Give them authority, and make sure they know their efforts are important. At the same time, it’s typically best to ease them in slowly, and not overwhelm them right off the bat. Following these guidelines will ensure that you aren’t just recruiting volunteers, but hopefully recruiting volunteers who will be eager to serve—without burning out—for a good while.

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