Even though neighbors may live physically close together in HOAs, they aren’t necessary close as people. In fact, many neighbors don’t even know each other’s names. Busy schedules often make socializing in the community difficult. So, it’s the board’s community management job to convince homeowner’s of the benefits of connecting.
To build a sense of community, the HOA can use several community management tactics, including the following:
- Use neighborhood common areas – By leveraging clubhouses, recreational facilities and other common areas, HOA boards can bring together members in an informal way. Places to go with amenities available make it easier for homeowners to venture out and meet other HOA members. Promoting these casual interactions is one of the easiest community management efforts a HOA board can make.
- Promote open communication – The board must exhibit strong communication skills to be successful with its community management. However, the communication must go both ways. In other words, the board must be open to the ideas, thoughts and concerns of the members. The board should not just communicate to its members.
- Schedule fun events – The goal behind these community management events is to help neighbors get to know each other. Especially in large neighborhoods, neighbors may not know their immediate neighbor’s names. By organizing enjoyable events, the HOA board can promote a sense of unity.
- Try to make community involvement appealing – Persuading members to volunteer time and energy on behalf of the HOA will always be difficult. However, it’s a crucial part of the board’s community management directive. The board needs to clearly show why everyone needs to contribute to the HOA and what happens if not enough volunteers come forward.
- Effectively communicate the HOA’s rules – Good community management requires that every member understand the rules. Without effective communication of the rules, the HOA will likely experience member conflicts and confusion over policies. These misunderstandings can lead to member involvement, but it might end up being in a dysfunctional sort of way.
- Create a welcoming committee -- Some HOA boards have had great success with community management by creating a welcoming committee. This committee meets new members soon after they move into the neighborhood. The committee can bring the new homeowners a small gift, welcome kit and other community resources. The goal of this meeting is to make new members feel welcome and hopefully persuade them to become actively involved.
Creating a sense of community takes hard work on the part of the entire neighborhood. The HOA board isn’t solely responsible for community management. Every homeowner has a vested interest in making sure the community is as well run as it can be.