Board members of a homeowners’ association (HOA) assume a position that can be fast-paced and demanding, juggling many responsibilities at once. That’s why many rely on the support of association committees. Tasked with important duties, like financial planning, managing maintenance projects, and enforcing violations, some committees are obligated to communicate to the board in the form of a report. This report should be simple, concise, and clearly identify the subject being discussed. The decision-makers for the HOA, board members must be able to easily digest the information being presented. Read on to learn more about board reports and how to make them useful.
What’s a Board Report?
A formal communication tool from a committee to a board of directors, a board report entails an objective. Depending on the committee, the objectives may differ. While a landscaping committee may submit a report that details the progress of vetting new landscaping contractors, a budget committee might submit a financial report, and a social committee may submit a report requesting funds for an upcoming event.
Why Reports are Important to Board Members
Some board reports, such as an association’s meeting minutes, are legally binding and may be used in a court of law if legal issues arise. However, board and committee members should consider them important because they inform board members, help keep them united in decision-making, and spark discussion, questions, and enthusiasm for the association.
Ways to Create a Report Boards Will Read
When drafting a board report, you first want to identify your purpose—and stick with it throughout the document. Is it intended to simply inform the board or to ask for a decision? Committees often go through lengthy research before drafting a report, incorporating more information into the document than necessary. This makes it difficult to follow and muddles intentions. To ensure your report gets the attention it deserves, consider implementing these four practices:
Make it quick and easy.
A report that’s too long and hard to understand can restrict the board from coming to a conclusion on a decision or fully comprehending the status of a project. While you want to be thorough, you also want to keep board members engaged. To make your report a quick and easy read:
- Keep it under four pages
- Identify the purpose of the report (is it to inform or ask for a decision?) at the beginning
- Create an outline to simplify the flow of content
- Write plainly and use simple language
Stay on topic.
It’s easy to lose track of the intended purpose of the report when you’re drafting it, especially if the topic or purpose is multifaceted. However, by making sure you have one main idea and sticking to it throughout the document, you’re more likely to win the board’s approval. Keep things streamlined by:
- Stating your main point or topic at the beginning.
- Clearly communicating your recommendations and the choices you’re proposing they make.
- Concluding with your reasoning.
When the topic gets complex, such as a long-term development project, consider creating separate reports or sectioning out the data to what’s relevant for that given subject. You want to keep the message clear to avoid confusion.
Present your report.
When you present your report at a board meeting, it’s easier to guide board members to act and also allows you to read the room. By picking up on visual cues, you’ll know if your document is too lengthy or difficult to understand. Remedy the situation by sticking to a script, asking for feedback, and limiting the presentation to under three minutes.
Offer additional support.
You’re the subject matter expert. To ensure the board fully understands what you’re talking about, offer additional support. That might mean providing your contact information so board members can follow up with additional questions or hosting a separate meeting for those who’d like more information.
A Meeting Minutes Template
A valued report for all homeowners’ associations, meeting minutes are typically recorded by the board secretary. However, that person may assign someone else to record minutes. Download our "HOA Board Meeting Minutes Template" to keep minutes brief, concise, and objective.