You had important items to discuss and decisions to make but it’s become all too normal to watch meetings fall off track into fun but time-wasting discussion about who’s doing what in the neighborhood, what decision city counsel just made that’s got everybody in a tizzy, gossiping about who’s that man showing up so-and-so’s house the last few weeks, or any number of things.
Some HOAs have too much fun, some quietly loathe each other, some are just crazy-unorganized and desperately need some order.
You’re about to learn how to shape up fast and start running your HOA board meetings like a B.O.S.S.!
Pre-Planning HOA Board Meetings is Key
Create a solid agenda. Before the actual meeting, you need to plan and prepare.
Give advanced notice of the upcoming meeting. State laws may dictate how many days you need of advanced notice you need to provide.
Send Information in Advance
For HOA board meetings to run smoothly, as with all meetings, it’s most effective if all members have the necessary information needed contribute ideas and make informed decisions.
The last thing you want is to spend time in a 1- hour meeting reviewing proposals from lawn care companies in the actual meeting. If these are done in advance, then you are prepared for making an informed group decision on which way to go in a time-efficient way.
When you send a meeting notice, attach a copy of the agenda document you made.
This gives all board members a chance to mentally prepare for what needs to be accomplished in the meeting.
Provide full meeting kits that include things like:
- Minutes from the last HOA board meeting
- Financial update
- Upcoming meeting agenda
- Proposals to be discussed
- Any additional information that would help the board be informed on topics to be discussed
Secure an Appropriate Location
Before you can press ‘send’ on the email informing HOA board members about the upcoming meeting, you have to secure a location to invite them to.
You want meetings to feel appropriate to the kind of event it is.
For an HOA board meeting, you should set a more professional feel, which means you should choose a location that is a more formal environment.
A board room or conference room with that long formal conference table and chairs is exactly what you’re looking for.
It’s not a good idea to have an HOA board meeting at someone’s house, even though you’re all neighbors in the same neighborhood. You should keep your neighborhood gatherings as a separate thing.
Don’t bring that casualness to your HOA board meetings because it may begin to degrade the professionalism with which board members perform. If this happens, things can start going downhill rather quickly.
Choose a neutral location for all your HOA board meetings. You should try to secure a location that you’ll be able to meet at for all future meetings, if possible. This location should include the space, seating and tables for all the board members and even several chairs for homeowners who’d like to attend a meeting.
If you’re in a neighborhood that has a clubhouse then we don’t even need to be having this conversation! That’s an ideal location, obviously.
However, if your neighborhood does not have an accommodating clubhouse facility, there are other good options. Consider a nearby bank, library (meeting room), restaurant, hotel, or church. Hotels, may charge for their meeting spaces, which try other options first, saving this as a last resort.
The meeting room should have adequate lighting, be nice and clean, power jacks for electronic devices, and have restroom facilities nearby.
Providing light refreshments is something that makes everyone feel comfortable in meetings so consider nice but inexpensive options here.
Follow the Agenda
Get a picture in your head of a bunch of British men wearing those white-curly-haired wigs in the 17th century. You want to be just shy of that kind of formality to your meetings. So get ready for the “here-here’s,” “I’s” and all the formal meeting jargon you can conjure up from watching too much TV.
Just kidding…for the most part.
Parliamentary Procedure does require that you should have governing procedures in place that dictate how you operate and make decisions. You should have a set of customs, ethics and rules in place, but you don’t need to go too crazy with them.
Here are a few rules that can help you have solid HOA board meetings:
- Stick to discussing agenda items
- Give each board member time to share their thoughts on each item
- Cover one item at a time on the agenda before moving on
- Use a voting system to decide on issues so decisions are fairly decided with the participation of all HOA board members
- Allow equal time for each board member to share questions and comments
- Allow some time for non-board members to share thoughts and questions
It’s important to have order and structure to HOA board meetings, but it’s not critical that you get too hung up on formalities. While it is important to maintain a professional tone to your board meetings, it’s also important to connect on a social level and have a good time with your board.
After all, if volunteer HOA board members are not being paid for their participation in the board, a good percentage of the reason for them joining is social connection.
If it takes all this work just to run good board meetings, how much work will it be to actually get all the things done that you decide on in your meetings?
This takes a lot more work and expertise, which is why you should consider hiring an HOA Management Company.
Learn more about how we can take the load off and level up the effectiveness of your Home Owner Association’s responsibility to great community management.