A condominium, homeowner (HOA), and townhome association’s Board of Directors serve on the association’s front lines and help ensure that the entire community moves forward. Because it is responsible for all aspects of an association’s business, including, but not limited to, maintenance of the community, operations, decision-making, finance overview, and overall management, the Board must include qualified individuals.
A well-staffed Board of Directors is one that is equipped with a variety of skills, a wealth of experience, and a willingness to handle complex problems. These volunteers will be tasked with a wide range of duties, all of which benefit the community they serve. That is why it is important to ensure that the task of finding replacement board members is given proper attention.
When a member leaves the Board of Directors, someone new must step up. But encouraging participation can often be difficult.
Throughout my practice of representing a variety of community associations, I have wide range of experiences with board recruitment. Some community associations never have a problem with board recruitment, but still, there are other community associations that repeatedly run into issues that make it difficult to secure board involvement.
What I have learned from each side of the spectrum is that consistency is key. What you do often, you will do well. Subsequently, below are seven suggestions I can offer that associations should consider when attempting to secure Board recruitment and involvement.
1. Promote board meetings and remind the community that they are public events
Owners often hesitate to run for the Board because they are unsure of what to expect and are unsure what their commitment will entail. Owners may also worry that they are not qualified to handle the issues that may arise. However, skeptical owners who later have an opportunity to observe the Board in action, often times become invigorated and encouraged to get involved.
2. Send out an informational flyer
Similar to promoting board meetings, you should also let owners know that they can run for an open position on the Board in the next set of elections. Additionally, you may consider providing an overview of the responsibilities they can expect to take on if they win.
3. Identify community members to approach in person
If you don’t already have a few names in mind, turn complainers into participators! As long as they respectfully voice their complaints, individuals who frequently approach the Board with suggestions for improvement can make excellent candidates because their complaints often signal that they care about what is happening in their community. They have shown their level of investment by already being observant, taking note of issues, and taking the time to speak up. So, ask them to run for the Board!
Appealing to specific talents is a good way to get people interested in volunteering. Start by considering any gaps that exist in the Board’s skill set. Are you missing someone with experience in social media outreach, event planning, or finance? Then these are direct qualities that the Board can seek in a new member.
4. Candidates = Commitment
After the new Board member has been elected, don’t forget about the other candidates! People who throw their hat in the ring are bold enough to demonstrate their interest in leadership and their willingness to commit to the community, so you should capitalize on that interest. Keep those who have run and were not elected engaged. Identify their specific platforms and consider creating a committee they can serve on to see it through.
5. Transparency and accountability
Be transparent about the duties, challenges, and time commitment involved in being a Board member. No one likes to find out the hard way that a position is more than they bargained for. Additionally, being transparent about the requirements up front can help save an association from the headache of having to find a replacement Board member mid-year.
6. Share information
Current Board members should give new members any documents created by their predecessors to help demonstrate the tasks required and how to perform them. Don’t underestimate the value of a welcome packet and guide!
7. Today’s preparation is tomorrow’s achievement
Set up new Board members for success. If the previous member was disorganized and left a mess to clean up, the new recruit’s minimal experience will leave them feeling overwhelmed. New board members can learn their new duties at a faster rate and are often more effective in their role if they don’t have to start out by taking care of their predecessor’s unfinished work.
If your association has questions regarding board member recruitment in your community, do not hesitate to contact our law firm. Please call 855-537-0500 or visit www.ksnlaw.com.
Since 1983, KSN has been a legal resource for condominium, homeowner, and townhome associations. We have four office locations, serving hundreds of clients and thousands of communities throughout Illinois, Indiana, and Wisconsin. Our attorneys are also licensed in Arizona, Florida, and Missouri.
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