A community association's board of directors consists of elected officers who represent a not-for-profit corporation. Serving as a board member is, and should be, a position of respect and leadership in the community, and the responsibility should be taken seriously – especially during board meetings.
Board meetings are an opportunity to prove to homeowners that their association is a well-run organization. Board members can set the tone by being a professional example and making sure to do the following three things at every board meeting.
- Arrive on time.
To guarantee quorum is met and meetings are efficient, all board members must arrive on time. If you’re going to be late or miss a meeting entirely, be sure to communicate your absence with fellow board members and your community manager. Most boards only meet four or five times annually, and meetings are usually scheduled ahead of time for the entire year, so it’s easy to plan. Consistently attending your board meetings shows respect for the community and helps build a relationship of trust between the board and homeowners.
- Come prepared.
“Before anything else, preparation is the key to success.” – Alexander Graham Bell
Board meetings should last no more than 60 to 90 minutes. To achieve this level of efficiency, all board members must come prepared. Review the financials, read the contracts and proposals, and go through the management report before the meeting. Have your questions ready ahead of time or send them to your manager so they can provide answers without creating more action items. Additionally, showing up prepared signals to homeowners that you have researched the issues and are ready to make informed decisions for the community.
- Contribute to the meeting.
Most boards have five directors, but there are typically one or two members who run the show. Keep in mind that it takes all types of personalities and backgrounds to run a community association. Everyone’s opinion is valid and should be heard. Even if speaking up isn’t your cup of tea, or there is a boisterous member who tends to dominate every meeting, as an elected board member, you have a responsibility to represent your community.
Remember that every board decision doesn’t have to be unanimous. One of the most important aspects of a well-run, professional organization is the ability to disagree respectfully. Having positive discourse about choices affecting the community will lead to better decisions in the long run. One elected director is not more important than another, and your homeowners are counting on you to represent them.
If you aren’t confident in looking at financials or making landscaping or maintenance decisions, there are many resources available. Your manager is a great resource and can provide materials or training to help you make effective decisions.