Building HOA Committees
HOA Committees can be a valuable resource to the Homeowners and Board members they serve. They help complete specific tasks that might otherwise be overwhelming for a typical Board to take on as an additional responsibility. This article will explore the roles and responsibilities of Committees, the types of Committees an HOA can benefit from, and how to solicit volunteers to serve on Committees.
Roles and Responsibilities of Committees
HOA Committees are made up of homeowner volunteers that live in the community and are appointed by the Board of Directors.
Your HOA's governing documents might have guidelines for forming a Committee. Some governing documents may only address one type of Committee and have parameters around creating new ones.
Each Committee should have a charter; this outlines the roles and responsibilities the Committee and its members are expected to uphold. Below are a few tips for creating charters for new Committees:
- Create an outline that provides structure and direction. The outline can be used when the Board passes a resolution to create the Committee.
- Have a statement of purpose - What is expected of the Committee? Clarify if they have authority to make decisions or if they are gathering information and providing recommendations.
- Identify how many members should make up the Committee and how they will report to the Board.
- Will there be a Budget for the Committee? If so, clearly identify what the budget will be.
- How long will the service term be for volunteers?
- Identify a Committee name. (i.e., Social Committee, Decorating Committee, Safety Committee, etc.)
- List the Committee members' names and identify their positions. The Chair and Co-Chair will take responsibility for the Committee's actions and report to the Board. The Secretary will keep records and documentation of meetings, tasks, and progress the Committee makes. If there is a budget, the Treasurer will make sure the Committee stays within the budget limits.
- Encourage Committee members to exchange information and meet regularly to discuss the goals of the Committee.
Types of Committees
- Executive Committee: Made up of the Community’s Board of Directors.
- Non-Executive Committee: Made up of homeowner volunteers and depending on governing documents or state statutes, Board Members may be excluded from positions on certain Committees. In other cases, the bylaws may require a Committee to have at least one Board member.
- Standing Committee (Continuous tasks): Architectural, Finance, Events, Social, Landscaping, Welcome, Block Watch, Communication.
- Special Committee (Specific project tasks): An Advisory Committee may be tasked to research vendors to identify possible candidates to submit RFPs. For example, the Playground Committee can be tasked with getting new playground equipment.
A variety of Committees have been created over the years to assist Boards - Community Service, Block Watch, Beautification, and Communications Committees are all groups that serve a specific need inside a community.
Below are the top five most common Committees found within an HOA and what some of the duties are that they could be charged with through the charter.
- Architectural Review: The Architectural Review Committee can review and approve exterior changes and ensure that all changes comply with the Design Guidelines and the CC&Rs.
- Financial Advisory: The Financial Advisory Committee could be tasked to review and monitor the HOA's finances to ensure the financial position remains strong and operates responsibly. They may also be tasked with obtaining and reviewing a reserve study prepared by a third-party vendor contracted by the association.
- Welcome Committee: This group warmly welcomes new homeowners in the neighborhood. Additionally, members of the Welcome Committee may provide information about meetings, events, or neighborhood practices to keep new homeowners informed.
- Social Committee: The purpose of the Social Committee is to assist the Board in creating social and recreational events geared towards the interests and needs of the community.
- Landscape Committee: The primary role of the Landscape Committee is to keep the board abreast of the needs of the community. This may include conducting inspections on the grounds of the community to look for ways to enhance common areas, identify potential landscape improvements and possible maintenance concerns to make recommendations to the Board.
Can a Committee meet without notice of a meeting?
A review of that state statute, governing documents, or Committee charter will assist in determining if notice of the Committee meeting must be provided to all members of the Association.
Soliciting Volunteers for the Committee
Now that the Board has identified a need to establish a new Committee, you will need to find reliable and helpful volunteers. Here are a few tips that will help you attract the right volunteer that will help to make the Committee successful.
- Consistent and clear communication is Critical
There are many ways to communicate the need for Committee volunteers. To ensure this message is received throughout the community, we encourage you to utilize multiple communication channels. E-blasts, newsletter announcements, Board Meeting announcements, flyers, and good old-fashioned word of mouth are all great ways to share your message with the community.
- Talk to active members.
As a Board member, you probably notice which HOA members regularly show up to Board meetings. It is good practice to build relationships with attending members of your HOA meetings. Taking time to speak with homeowners one-on-one will make them feel more connected and possibly encourage participation.
- Consider creating an application.
If your HOA is fortunate to have multiple people willing to volunteer for a Committee position, the Board can create an application. That way, it's a fair and open process for selection.
The form can ask for name, address, email, information, and whether the candidate served on any other Committees. You can also include a candidate information section that would allow homeowners to share skills and talents that they bring to the table. For example, someone with an accounting background might be helpful in a finance or budget committee.
- Show appreciation
Reinforce the behaviors you want to be repeated. Show volunteers how grateful the Board is for their commitment, publicly acknowledge their efforts at Board meetings, in community newsletters, or highlight them on the HOA website. This reinforces the volunteers' loyalty and can also attract new volunteers.
Committees provide the perfect environment for members to engage and contribute to the community's success. If you are a part of a Board that is overwhelmed with projects and tasks and could use the help of a professional management company, AAM is ready to help. We have the experience and processes ready to help you form the Committees your association needs.