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Top 6 Reasons to Attend Board Member Educational Sessions

While homeowners vote on who will lead their homeowners’ association (HOA), it takes education and effort to be successful as a board member. An important post, serving on the board of directors is less stressful and more rewarding when you understand your community, the HOA industry, and your role within the organization. That’s where board member educational sessions bring high value. Even though they’re not mandatory, there are plenty of reasons to attend these informative events.

Here are six benefits to attending board member educational sessions.


1. Understand Your Purpose, Duties, and Obligations

Board members have a fiduciary duty to always act in the best interests of their association and its residents. To do that, they’ll need to have a basic understanding of their roles. Many educational sessions are dedicated to making sure that board members understand the fundamentals of:

  • Best practices
  • Roles and duties
  • Officer positions and responsibilities
  • Expectations of the board
  • Time management skills

You don’t have to be new to the board to benefit from an introductory course to board management. More established board members can use the sessions to freshen up on current codes of conduct, technical standards, and much more.

“Attending board educational events can help new and seasoned board members understand their fiduciary duties, learn about governing documents, and network with other board members to share resources and support.”

- Georgie Zuppa, CMCA®, AMS®, PCAM®, Regional Sales Director, Associa

A great opportunity to ask questions and learn more, you’ll be able to get more comfortable as a board member and use the information in the future to mentor future leaders.


2. Protect the Association from Liability

Every HOA must operate under a specific set of legally-binding guidelines, including a community’s governing documents and local, federal, and state laws. With this, an understanding of the law is crucial in your day-to-day duties. Among other potential challenges, detailed governing documents must be followed correctly, contract negotiations may require legal intervention, HOA rules change frequently, and established laws must be followed.

Educational sessions make sure that new board members understand these provisions by calling on professionals like attorneys and CPAs to contribute.  Leveraging this knowledge base, board members can use these sessions to become informed about the legalities that are critical to the future of their community.


3. Budget Appropriately

HOA finances are sometimes complex, so it’s important that all board members—not just the treasurer—learn how to manage them properly. Many times, educational sessions include guest speakers from accounting firms to share their insight. Generally, these sessions focus on areas of finance most critical to an association, such as:

Board members who gain financial knowledge from these sessions are often better equipped to track spending, approve expenditures, and prepare financial reports.

“Oftentimes, a board can be responsible for a multi-million-dollar budget. Regardless of the size of your budget, the board is responsible for protecting, preserving, and enhancing the community, making these kinds of sessions a top priority.”

- Georgie Zuppa, CMCA®, AMS®, PCAM®, Regional Sales Director, Associa


4. Properly Maintain the Community

One of the most important responsibilities of the board is to maintain the curb appeal and property values of their community. Educational sessions offer opportunities to connect with properly vetted professionals who make a living keeping communities just like yours looking and functioning at their best. Key figures to any association, HOA maintenance and landscaping companies often lead lessons on weatherizing your community, xeriscaping, and many other topics. Learning from and familiarizing yourself with these service providers—introducing yourself, asking questions, and providing feedback—is one of the best ways to establish a lasting professional relationship. At the least, you should receive actionable tips and professional advice that will enable you to protect your community in the near and long term.  


5. Communicate Effectively

Proper communication allows boards to act as a cohesive unit and keep relationships with homeowners strong. Work to make sure you understand the where, when, and how of creating a dialogue with community members by attending communication-focused sessions. Topics discussed usually include handling confidential information, how to use available platforms for communication, and guides for delivering major announcements. Avenues for communication include board meetings, emails, and apps.

These sessions may improve your familiarity with each method and how to make them effective. Board members might walk away from these types of sessions better equipped to create an organized meeting agenda, send notices at appropriate intervals, or use social media wisely, improving connections and transparency throughout their association.


6. Create Actionable Emergency Plans

Establishing and maintaining successful operations requires detailed planning, especially when it comes to protecting your community from natural threats. Whether it’s flooding, wildfires, or tornadoes, there are many educational sessions that help you plan for and react to natural disasters in your area. Planning is a process, and different sessions focus on very specific aspects of coordinating for emergencies. For example, one session may cover what to do to protect your community before a tornado, while another may cover what to do during relief efforts in the aftermath.

Sessions hosted by members of emergency services organizations or law enforcement provide useful tools. By understanding what goes into disaster planning—from evacuation routes to safe zones and notification requirements—board members can be more strategic when planning for natural disasters.


Board Training at Your Fingertips

As a board member, it’s important to educate yourself consistently. Reach out to your community management company for learning opportunities. At Associa, we believe that the more you know, the better off you’ll be. That’s why we offer a free courses page that includes videos on a variety of board member responsibilities. Gain the insight you need to thrive in your role and succeed in your duties.