Annual meetings are an integral part of HOA operations. This is where voting takes place on a variety of issues ranging from budgets and board members to capital projects and special assessments. During this time, members and shareholders are also updated on board business and HOA issues. Since homeowner attendance is crucial, the board should take steps to encourage members to attend, and keep the meeting as efficient as possible.
Communicate, Communicate, Communicate
A quorum is required before any voting can occur, and this means that homeowners must not only be aware of the meeting, but also show up (or fill out a proxy). Give plenty of advanced notice and send out reminders leading up to the meeting. There is often a 10- to 90-day window for notification, so use it wisely. Make sure that homeowners understand the importance of the meeting, what will occur, and why their input matters. Use a variety of methods to reach as many people as possible including emails, letters, newsletters, and social media.
Homeowners must receive a copy of the agenda prior to the meeting, so the board should begin planning well in advance. Determine exactly what issues will be discussed, who will lead each portion of the meeting, how voting will occur, who will count the votes, and any other necessary details. Having a clear plan in place can keep things moving forward and prevent confusion and disorder that can drag the meeting out.
Once the agenda has been established, follow it closely. Lay out procedures and expectations at the start of the meeting so that homeowners are aware. If there will be a time limit on comments or presentations, note this upfront. While you want members to participate, you also want to keep one or two people from dominating the meeting. If disagreements arise, have a plan in place for how they will be addressed.
No one likes to sit through long meetings. Keep it interesting and engaging for members by arranging for a social event beforehand or providing light refreshments. Use visuals during presentations to help convey information and hold attention. Spend a few minutes recognizing volunteers for their contributions or sharing positive news about the community. While you don’t want too much fluff at the meeting, livening things up can help with attendance.
When homeowners are up-to-date on what is happening in the community and actively involved in presenting ideas and making decisions, it can build a stronger HOA and more enjoyable community. Partnering with a property management company like Kuester can help HOAs to plan and execute more effective meetings and enhance overall operations.