While the board is responsible for ensuring that the overall community runs smoothly, residents can volunteer to oversee a particular aspect of the community – or in other words, they can join committees. These committees ease the burden on boards while allowing homeowners to participate in the community at a lower level of commitment, making them beneficial for everyone in your association.
If your community doesn’t have committees, you could ask homeowners which ones they’d like to participate in via a survey or by creating a poll in an app like TownSq. Otherwise, you can begin the committee-creation process by considering whether any of these options would fit the needs of your community.
1. Welcome Committee. Consider a welcome committee with homeowners willing to stop by and say hello to new neighbors; members could also work in some review of the rules and community processes in addition to making a social visit. This keeps your first interaction from being a violation letter – that’s definitely not starting off on the right foot!
2. Newsletter Committee. A newsletter committee can take responsibility for formatting the community newsletter and coming up with some of the topics to include; the board will still approve the final version before it is distributed, but having someone else help with the preparation lets others be involved while having less for the board to complete.
3. Social Committee. A social committee can help plan a community garage sale, block party, or other neighborhood gathering. They could also assist with creating polls to ask others if they are interested in these types of events. Once you know people are interested in a particular event, another poll can be used to narrow down the event date or venue. The committee can then make the official announcement with a mix of traditional and digital media, such as yard signs in front of the clubhouse, your community’s website or mobile app.
4. Social Media Committee. A social media committee can help moderate online homeowner forums and add announcements and other content to social channels to help keep everyone updated on projects and other information. This could also be a website committee that leverages the skills of owners who want to help and who already have the know-how for creating or updating a community website where the association shares important information.
5. Maintenance Committee. You could even have a committee to help with maintenance items that are the owners’ responsibility; if 15 owners want to have a contractor wash their windows at their expense, they can get a better cost if they all work with the same vendor. Sometimes having the board or management partner organize this type of project is not possible, but if there are residents interested in organizing those types of services for themselves, the association can help with the communication of those opportunities. Encouraging owners to complete regular maintenance on their units for items that are their responsibility helps the entire association in the long run.
By creating committees, you give your homeowners the opportunity to help shape the direction of the community in the ways they care about most, and the community benefits from their contributions. Make sure your board passes a resolution when forming a committee or commission to give the group structure and a directive. Use your resolution to answer questions like:
- What is the minimum number of members and how are members added?
- What is the primary goal of the group (ex: to meet each new homeowner within 30 days of a closing; to plan two social events a year; to prepare four newsletters a year)?
- How will the group report to the board?
- Does the group have a budget they are authorized to use, or do any requests of funds need to be presented to the board?
Bring the above list of committees to your next board meeting to begin discussing which ones would make the biggest difference in your community and how you can start creating them.
About the Author
Lea Marcou, CMCA, AMS, PCAM has worked in customer service for over 15 years. She started with Associa Chicagoland in 2008, and then transitioned from Customer Care Representative to Community Association Manager in 2010. She has worked with a diverse portfolio of properties, including mid-rise condos, townhomes, single family homes and developer and commercial properties. She is an active member of the Community Associations Institute, where she attends industry events, seminars and trade shows. Lea has obtained her CMCA® and AMS® designations, and was recently awarded the prestigious PCAM® designation. Contact her at 847-490-3833 or Lea.Marcou@associa.us.More Content by Lea Marcou