Tips for Developing a Relationship with Neighboring Communities
As a homeowners’ association (HOA) board member, part of carrying out your fiduciary duty to the community includes building positive connections with valuable industry partners. Nurturing these relationships can significantly affect governance and make the community a better place to live.
While it’s important to focus your efforts on the people and issues within your HOA, expanding your reach and networking with neighboring associations may help your community do more. From promoting neighborhood pride to amplifying the value of your association, forming new partnerships with nearby HOAs can have a positive impact. Read on to learn more about the benefits of a strong partnership, tips for finding local HOAs, and ways to nourish a relationship.
Benefits of Partnering with Neighboring Communities
Juggling everything from rule enforcement to meeting management can be tough for any HOA board member. However, you might be able to tackle some items more efficiently by working with a supportive partner, like a nearby community. When leveraged properly, a close-knit bond with a neighboring HOA can reduce your workload and solve issues. A connection can provide:
- Improved education of board members through shared resources
- Increased resident engagement fueled by community event exposure
- Knowledge of local activities, animal sightings, and crime from consistent communication
- New business opportunities created by networking
How to Find Like-Minded Local HOAs
Getting out and speaking with the associations near yours can seem like a tall task. You don’t want to make the wrong first impression or reach out to an association with different values. To find local communities with similar goals, consider:
- Using your community manager to your advantage. Your community manager is tasked with helping your community thrive, and part of that includes relationship-building. Reach out to your manager about your interest in networking, and ask if they know of any similar-valued HOAs. Some management companies will even hold events to bring their partner communities together.
- Research similar associations. Associations that are similar in size, price point, and style often share comparable values. Finding them can be as simple as typing the name of your city along with “homeowners’ association” in a search engine. Or you can look up homes for sale near you and see if the corresponding HOA information is available.
3 Ways You Can Build a Relationship with Neighboring Communities
All strong relationships have great communication, , but building that up will take some work. The key is knowing who to contact and keeping in touch with them. Follow these tips to facilitate steady communication with a community partner.
Tip #1: Share common resources.
Depending on your community's privacy laws and governing documents, you may be able to share common information and resources with another community. The types of data that may be shared include:
- Crime and safety details. Sharing general safety information might allow associations to form effective prevention and notification plans.
- Weather conditions. Communicating first responder contact information or dependable weather trackers will help residents be better prepared when threatening conditions strike.
- Vendor contacts. The associations near yours likely have similar vendors. Use your neighbors to get first-hand recommendations and special referral rates.
Tip #2: Get involved in the local HOA industry.
When you attend public industry forums, you’ll meet other leaders and like-minded people operating associations. Keep your eye out for:
- Management-hosted board training events. A great way to meet neighboring board members, attending a training event hosted by your management company also enables you to learn more about your important role in the community.
- Vendor networking opportunities. Businesses looking to expand their client base may invite communities to product demonstrations or meet-and-greets.
- CAI’s conferences, workshops, retreats, and seminars. The Community Associations Institute (CAI) hosts leadership events year-round so you can link up with communities near and far.
Tip #3: Collaborate with communities for events.
Community events allow residents to connect, enhance a positive environment, and foster a supportive culture. And while they’re essential, funding events can be expensive, and planning can be stressful. For your next event, consider collaborating with your partner community. You may be able to cut costs, gain resources, and increase participation. These types of events lend themselves to joint-hosting opportunities:
- National Night Out: Coordinate your National Night Out (NNO) plans with your neighboring community. An annual community-building campaign that promotes police-community partnerships, neighborhood camaraderie, and safer communities, hosting an NNO event usually includes many free resources and encourages connections.
- Garage sales: Hold community-wide garage sales alongside other associations to take advantage of the influx of people in the area and put more eyes on available homes.
- Recycling events: Work with a fellow community to set up recycling drop-off centers for old computers, TVs, and other electronics. This will help make each community more eco-friendly, allow residents to declutter their homes, and hopefully increase environmental efforts in the future.
Keep Expanding Your Local Relationships
Neighboring communities aren’t the only relationships you should be looking to foster. Consider reaching out to your local government and getting a jump start on making positive changes. Check out our article, “HOA 101: How to Start Working with Your Local Government,” for tips on building an impactful relationship.