Necessary for the overall development and advancement of a community, board meetings are where most homeowners’ association (HOA) business is conducted. During these meetings, board members review operations, settle disputes, and make plans for the future. Holding effective meetings is the key to board members fulfilling their role within the community; however, they don’t always go as planned due to factors like poor attendance and lack of organization. Read on to learn seven ways to create better, more productive board meetings and deliver on the goals set for these important get-togethers.
1. Increase Attendance with an Established Schedule
To maximize attendance at your HOA board meetings, create a shared calendar and schedule your meetings about one year in advance. Remember to check your governing documents for scheduling guidelines as meeting frequency, attendance, and notification requirements vary by association. Try to stick to your pre-selected dates and times to avoid confusion and plan out homeowner notification dates, too. Typically, residents should be notified of board meetings seven to 30 days in advance, and 30-day notices should be given for annual meetings. You can promote your meetings by:
- Including reminders in your association’s newsletter or other communication channels
- Reaching out to residents directly via email or phone call
- Setting meeting notifications on your community’s app
- Delivering fliers to each homeowner
2. Enhance Meeting Structure with an Agenda
Your board meeting agenda should serve as an outline for meetings and contain a variety of topics, such as action items, committee reports, and updates on business. A well-crafted agenda sets the tone and pace of your meeting, keeps discussions on track and on topic, and ensures high-priority items are addressed. A typical agenda includes:
- Meeting Name
- Date, Time, Location
- Homeowner’s Open Forum
- Call to Order
- Roll Call
- Approval of Last Meeting’s Minutes
- Officer Reports
- Action Items
- Committee Reports
- Old Business
- New Business
3. Advance Accessibility Through Technology
Because adaptability is the key to success in an ever-changing community living landscape, your board should leverage technology to make meetings more efficient and accessible. You may want to consider live-streaming your meetings over a virtual meeting platform so more people can attend or revamping your in-person voting requirements by allowing members to vote remotely on a secure, digital platform. Every community has different powers and rules regarding remote or telephonic meetings, so check your governing documents and provincial or state laws before transitioning to a virtual environment.
4. Boost Efficiency by Prioritizing Preparation
Two of the most common complaints about board meetings are that they take too long and don’t always stay on track. To help meetings run smoothly, all board members should review documents related to the agenda in advance and prepare to respond to any relevant questions and concerns. This preparation will ultimately save your board time and stress and foster a respectful and collaborative space.
5. Drive Participation by Encouraging Public Comment
Include time for public comment or open discussion in your agenda and remind homeowners that they'll have an opportunity to speak in your meeting notices. Make sure that each person who wishes to address the board can do so—and hear them out with an open mind. When people feel acknowledged, they recognize their value as a community member. An inclusive atmosphere at your board meeting not only drives participation, but also encourages involvement long-term within the HOA.
6. Improve Records & Protect Your Association with Clear and Concise Minutes
Recording and publishing board meeting minutes is required for most communities. Because they can be used in court and play a crucial role in financial business, preparing and maintaining minutes is a task that shouldn’t be taken lightly. Consider the following when trying to improve your minutes:
- Create a consistent format for the minutes. Have each recorder study the format before beginning their duties.
- Write as concisely and plainly as possible so readers can understand what took place at the meeting.
- Publish minutes in a timely manner. Make minutes available to review within days of the meeting and have them formally approved at the next monthly meeting.
7. Strengthen Communication Strategy by Creating a Follow-Up Brief
In the days immediately following the meeting, publish a brief wrap-up of what took place. While you may want to use your minutes as a guide, write your follow-up in a way that residents can understand, providing bullet points and plain language for quick, easy reference. Use your community’s app or website for quick delivery of general information. Regular communication promotes a positive and cooperative spirit and strengthens transparency and trust between the board and residents.
See the Results and Keep Looking Forward
When you run inclusive and effective board meetings, you’ll see that interest in the community will continue to grow—along with productivity and general morale. This helps significantly as you plan for your annual board meeting, which is one of the most important meetings of the year. For more information, check out our free ebook, "Make the Most of Your Annual Board Meeting." In it, you’ll discover valuable tips and actionable advice on how to achieve quorum and hold yearly meetings that lead to positive results in your community.