It’s always important for your HOA board to stay in contact with community members. After all, the decisions you make will almost always affect the residents in your HOA, and you want to understand how they will feel about it. HOA boards who are more active in finding out their residents’ opinions will build a stronger community with fewer complaints and less need for violations management. For this reason, you must consider conducting an HOA survey.
HOA Surveys and the Importance of Feedback
A great way to continually find out how residents are feeling is by offering community surveys. They are a great way to ask members about specific topics and find out how residents generally feel about possible changes. Plus, it reminds residents that you care about their input and are taking it into consideration.
You might be a little turned off by the idea of a survey for fear of bringing up negative feedback or revealing unknown problems. However, this may be just the reason you need to do it. Part of being a board member means accepting the responsibility of understanding and working to resolve sources of problems and negative attitudes.
The flip side of this is that HOA surveys can also reveal that your board is headed in the right direction! You might find the majority of members are supportive of a difficult decision or understand it better than you think they do.
HOA Surveys Bring Community Problems to Light
It’s important to note that surveys are not the same as voting. Just because you bring up something in a survey and ask members about it, it doesn’t mean you have to respond to every single issue. In fact, that is usually impossible.
The purpose of surveys is to help you in figuring out what’s most important to focus on, in making the best decisions for the community, and in identifying any problems. Even though you can’t address every problem, you’ll be made aware of it.
To make sure residents understand the purpose of the HOA survey, include a message from your board at the beginning explaining why you are doing the surveys. The best way to avoid a misunderstanding is to set their expectations from the start.
How to Draft and Conduct an HOA Survey
It can be challenging to write and conduct an effective homeowners association survey when you have never done it before. You may forget little details that turn out to be important in the end. To help you out, here are the things you must consider when making and conducting an HOA survey:
1. Purpose of the Survey
Before anything else, you and your HOA board must decide on the survey’s purpose. Why are you doing the survey in the first place? What sort of information are you looking to gather from residents?
Without a purpose, your survey might look scattered, with questions all over the place. Knowing the goal of your HOA survey will help you design compelling questions that get straight to the point.
2. Who Is Your Target Audience?
Your target audience matters just as much as your survey’s purpose. Who do you plan on surveying? Is it geared towards all homeowners or just specific residents? Are you surveying renters instead? If you are, are you surveying everyone? Make sure to decide on a survey sample size as this can inform the way you distribute your questionnaires.
3. Question Design
Nobody wants to answer a long-winded question that is hard to understand. When drafting your survey questions, make sure to keep simplicity and length in mind. Questions that are too long or complicated likely won’t be taken seriously by your residents.
Furthermore, decide whether you want your questions to be open-ended or not. Simple “yes or no” and “true or false” questions are easier to answer.
However, open-ended or subjective questions, which typically call for longer answers, give you more detailed responses. The first kind is more painless to interpret than the second, but the purpose of your HOA survey will usually help determine what kind to use.
Here are some questions commonly found in HOA surveys:
- • What do you like most about living in this development?
- • What changes would you like to see in the community?
- • How do you feel about the current policies enforced by the association?
- • On a scale of 1 to 10 (10 being excellent), how would you rate common area maintenance?
4. Distribution of the Survey
After coming up with a final version of your HOA survey, it is time to actually conduct it. This means deciding on how you intend to distribute the questionnaires. There are many methods to go about this. Email and online surveys are popular choices as they are convenient and do not require printed copies. However, you can also choose to distribute your surveys via snail mail or community newsletters.
When it comes to distribution, you must take your target audience into account. If your audience is not tech-savvy, then distributing physical copies of your survey is the way to go. Conversely, a younger and busier crowd may be keener to take your HOA survey if it is short and can be found online.
HOA Survey Template
Not all HOAs have the luxury of time to create their own surveys. If you find yourself in the same boat, you can download our general community feedback survey template below:
Let Your HOA Surveys Improve Your Community
Conducting HOA surveys can be very helpful for your board and your HOA manager. They bring previously unknown problems to light and provide residents with a way to make their opinions known. More than that, surveys are a great way to assess the health of your association. For this reason, you must make them a regular part of community feedback and planning.
HOA surveys are only one side of the equation, though. Without an effective HOA board and an invested community, surveys are useless. Luckily, both are somewhat within your control.
As an HOA board member, do your best and set an example for everyone else to follow. There are also things you can do to increase engagement among homeowners. With active residents, you are assured of an audience that will partake in surveys and understand the value of giving their feedback and opinions.
If you are having trouble with conducting HOA surveys or getting homeowners to participate in them, feel free to ask for help from an HOA management company. Give us a call anytime.
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