Serving on your homeowners’ association’s (HOA’s) board of directors is an important job that comes with a lot of responsibility. Board members are tasked with everything from preserving the financial health of the association and enforcing rules to attending meetings and maintaining overall operations—and it’s easy for these duties to pile up and become exhausting. Luckily, there are a few ways HOA boards can keep fellow leaders engaged, energized, and enthusiastic about their roles. Read on to learn seven tips to help board members ease the pressure and prevent burnout.
1. Hire a community management company.
All associations have the option to self-manage; however, it’s a big undertaking and can be a full-time job. Board members are volunteers, and many have families, careers, or other interests that can prevent them from properly managing the association. While it comes at a cost, hiring a professional community management company to help fulfill tasks can lighten your board's burden and liability and save time, effort, and stress.
2. Clearly outline expectations upfront.
Before asking a board member to fully commit, ensure they clearly understand the scope of their role. It’s best to communicate what exactly the position entails and to be transparent about time obligations upfront, so you alleviate any uncertainty. When there are no surprises and board members know what to expect, they’re more likely to relax into their role quickly and continue serving.
3. Set realistic goals.
Your board probably has a long list of goals it wants to achieve. However, it’s necessary to be practical about what can be accomplished. Instead of aiming to tackle everything at once, create a prioritized action list to focus on a realistic amount of work to be done—no more than three items at a time. When boards bite off more than they can chew, it’s discouraging and can lead to burnout and frustration.
4. Rely on service providers.
Effectively leading an association can be draining, so leaning on the expertise of professional advisors and service providers is crucial. Experienced partners, like a lawyer, engineer, and CPA, can provide valuable assistance, advice, information, and direction to help board members keep their batteries charged.
5. Share the workload.
As a part-time volunteer, it’s hard to accomplish everything—there simply aren’t enough hours in the day. That’s why establishing committees to share and divide the workload is so important. For example, if your community needs a new landscaper, your board can appoint a committee to develop landscaping specifications and interview vendors. When your board evenly distributes responsibilities and relies on committee members to fill in the gaps, it can complete tasks more efficiently.
Types of Committees Your Community Can Start
- Neighborhood Welcome Committee
- Social & Event Committee
- Landscape Committee
- Homeowner Education Committee
- Neighborhood Watch Committee
- Contract Review Committee
6. Educate residents.
Not all residents understand how the board of directors or their HOA operate. This misunderstanding can create friction in the community, prevent board members and staff from doing their jobs correctly, and cause burnout. You can change this by educating homeowners on the ins and outs of HOA living. Consider regularly holding new resident orientations or quarterly informational meetings so residents can meet their neighbors and learn about the community. The more people know, the better off everyone will be.
7. Show gratitude.
One of the best ways to prevent burnout is to show appreciation and thank fellow board members, committee members, and homeowners for their volunteer services and efforts. Frequently recognizing and publicly acknowledging volunteers is not only the right thing to do, but it also increases engagement and keeps people energized.
Unique Ways to Recognize Your Volunteers
- Hold an annual volunteer appreciation event
- Publicly thank volunteers and highlight their achievements at an annual meeting
- Feature volunteers and their achievements in a community newsletter or website
- Send a personalized thank-you note expressing your appreciation
- Give out annual volunteer awards
Becoming a More Effective Board Member
Leading your community isn’t an easy task, especially when you’re keeping up with meetings, buzzwords, and best practices. While board members often put forward their best effort to succeed in their roles, sometimes they still make big mistakes that can result in serious repercussions for themselves, the board, and the community. In our ebook, “8 Mistakes Board Members Make & How to Avoid Them,” we can help you avoid costly mistakes and become a more effective board member in the process.