When serving on an association board, it’s very important for all board members to be “in-the-know" because homeowners have appointed you as the community's decision maker. When one board member becomes the only person in communication with vendors, their community manager and other community stakeholders, this can cause contention within the board of directors. By communicating openly and sharing information with all board members, no one is left in the dark, and the added transparency allows the board to lead the community as a team to the best of their abilities.
Implement the communication tips below to ensure board members have the highest level of transparency with each other and their community.
- Ensure complete communication. Each member of the board has been elected to help lead the community, and they can achieve much more together when they’re fully equipped to work as a team. All board members should be aware of community happenings, vendor business and homeowner interactions. Ask your fellow board members if they’re all receiving consistent information from community stakeholders. If communications aren’t being received by all board members, make sure everything is in writing and ask your contacts to include everyone on emails going forward.
- Read reports. Dive deep into reporting provided by your community manager, whether it’s about finances or maintenance projects. Ask questions and ensure you fully understand the information being presented so that you and your fellow board members can make the most informed decisions.
- Learn the role. Seek additional board member training through your management company, real estate division or community management trade organizations. Join your local CAI chapter to stay current about what you need to perform the duties of your role on the board. Associa also offers a variety of webinars and on-site seminars.
- Conduct vendor reviews. Perform annual vendor reviews to evaluate the service received over the past year, set expectations and allow the vendors time to present their findings for future recommended services within your community. This will help ensure your board and your vendors continue to see eye-to-eye on the community’s goals.
- Schedule workshops (in accordance with your state laws and governing documents). First, double check your state laws and governing documents to make sure that workshops comply with open meeting laws and rules. If your community is permitted to have them, board member workshops allow information to be fully shared in advance, giving board members more time to discuss and consider matters before a formal vote. Keep in mind, no decisions should be made during this time because legally, all decisions must be made at official board meetings.
- List tasks. Implement a weekly action list that is shared with your board using a tool like Google Sheets. Through this collaborative list, managers and board members may itemize tasks that are ongoing or completed, note who is responsible for what, and record deadlines. A document like this keeps everyone instantly up-to-date and creates clarity on the status of all your community’s projects.
Each of these initiatives will help board members achieve clear communication, allowing all parties to successfully lead, guide, and execute projects while helping their community achieve its vision.
About the Author
Tiffany Dessaints, PCAM®, serves as the President of Associa Nevada South. She has more than 20 years of business management experience in the community association industry. Tiffany is an active member of CAI and has served on the Nevada Chapter of the Community Association Institute’s board of directors. Additionally, she is a supervising community manager through the Nevada Real Estate Division.More Content by Tiffany Dessaints