HOA board meetings — are they time well spent for your members? Being on a homeowners association board means volunteering your time and effort for the improvement of your community. For the most part, it’s an incredibly fulfilling role, but it also involves dealing with differences in opinion and finding time to get everyone together. Learning how to run an HOA meeting could just be the best skill you can pick up as part of a community management team.
How to Run HOA Board Meetings Successfully
Successful HOA board meetings need not eat up a lot of your time. Often, the shorter you can make them, the better it is for everyone involved. Smooth and effective HOA board meetings are ones your members will actually start looking forward to once they start to see how much they are getting done in a short period of time.
Most board members are volunteers who care about having a well-run community, and many of them are even passionate about it. It’s just a fact that each member may have different ideas, and association board meetings are important opportunities for them to give voice to their thoughts.
It can be difficult at times to maintain short HOA board meetings and come to quick decisions. Keep the following tips in mind on how to run an HOA meeting, and everyone can leave the table with a clear idea of which direction the group is going next.
1. Have a Well-Organized Agenda
Two main things are crucial for running successful HOA board meetings. The first is the attendance — association board meetings need everyone to be aware of the decisions that the group makes. The second is having a well-organized agenda for your meeting. This includes old business, new business, committee reports, a review of action items, the treasury report of the previous month’s finances, and an open owner forum.
What goes into your agenda depends on the requirements set forth in your governing documents and your state laws. That said, keep in mind to include only the necessary items in your meeting agenda.
Effective HOA board meetings need not cover every little issue. In fact, it may be counter-productive to start a meeting with a huge list of items. To keep the group engaged and focused, try to keep the association board meetings centered on just the most urgent item at the time, if possible.
2. Keep It Concise
The purpose of meetings should be appointed actions, on-topic discussion, and motions that move the association’s goals forward. Otherwise, HOA board meetings tend to get sidetracked, and that’s not a thing you want if you still have important matters to discuss.
It’s really important to set up guidelines for your agenda items. Anything outside of these should be handled at another time. Discussions can end up going in circles, but that’s normal when concerned people are involved.
In these cases, those running the meeting should know when and how to table it in a way that respects everyone’s opinions so that the meeting may move on.
Successful HOA board meetings are ones that cater to those present. For meetings among board members, you should also only discuss items that are high-level topics or in need of a vote from those involved. Also, keep in mind that you don’t necessarily need committee members to be present at each and every meeting. They should, however, be there for the regular board of directors meetings.
Just what makes HOA board meetings short and concise? Sixty (60) to ninety (90) minutes is generally a good running time to aim for the majority of your association board meetings.
3. Assign Times for Agenda Items
Always have someone monitoring discussion time on items addressed. Each agenda item should have a time budget to them – that’s one of the important things to understand about effective HOA board meetings. It’s easy for something meant to take 10 minutes to turn into an hour-long discussion if someone does not put their foot down. For a typical agenda item, if it goes 10 minutes over, wrap it up and move on.
It’s a good thing to remember that it’s also all too common for board meetings to turn into social hour. Make sure to designate specific times to start and end your HOA board meetings. That way, you can give everyone time to socialize later or attend to other things as they need to.
4. Limit Homeowner Speaking Time
The opinion of homeowners is invaluable for planning future improvements for the community. Of course, it’s great to invite owners to meetings, but you do have to manage their numbers. It’s also best to provide a venue for homeowners to express themselves, but you also don’t want comments from everyone basically taking over the entire meeting.
Allot time for them a few minutes before or after meetings. Better yet, have them submit questions and comments before the meeting so the board can know what to expect and better address them in a timely manner.
Keep in mind that not all homeowners will be familiar in detail with the HOA governing rules. It’s always a good idea to remind owners and members about meeting rules and the procedures to follow. This will establish a behavior boundary for everyone in the venue, and this can save you from having to deal with disruptions later on.
5. Be Clear When Wrapping Up
Effective HOA board meetings bring everyone on the same page, so it’s always a good idea to spend a few minutes to confirm everyone’s understanding of what was discussed. Before you end each meeting, if time permits, try to review action items and make sure each board member understands their responsibilities and role for each of them. It’s better to confirm from everyone while you’re still together so that there will be fewer disagreements afterward.
Make Effective HOA Board Meetings a Habit
Successful HOA board meetings get everyone involved, and you can say that they’re the secret for strong, effective associations. Thinking that your HOA can do better in terms of planning and running their meetings? Drop us a message and let us know how we at Cedar Management Group can help.
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