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Subject: recruiting board members
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BillP1
(Colorado)

Posts:1


05/24/2006 12:59 AM  
I am the President of a five board condo assoication. Currently, we have only four members, because of a lack of interest. What are some things to do to help recruit new board members
RogerB
(Colorado)

Posts:5067


05/24/2006 7:06 AM  
Bill, often it takes arm twisting to get volunteers It is a sad fact that members are reluctant to come to meetings even when it may affect their greatest investment. Educating owners about the potential financial consequences to them may help a little. At meetings serve refreshments with a non alcoholic happy hour followed by a very short meeting
Hiring a good management company to remove the daily duties otherwise done by Board members can help keep good Directors from burning out.

Building community spirit helps. Have a newsletter, have someone who welcomes all new owners personally and gives them a new owner packet (this is a great time to recruit volunteers). Have a social committee and several social events - picnics, Easter egg hunts, Fourth of July celebration with a childrens' parade/awards, Christmas party, pool parties, etc.
JulieS
(Georgia)

Posts:412


05/24/2006 9:46 AM  
We have a huge lack of interest when it comes to involvement. I approach people and asked them directly to run for the board or fill a vacant posisiton. Since I am very active in a number of things, I tend to get better results when I approach someone and ask for help.

Most people do not know what is involved in being on the board. They don't know what the responsibilities are or how much time it will require as a volunteer. Generally, people who care about their community are good people to speak with. As a homeowner, you would think people would be more involved when it comes to their property and community but most are not. They are usually quite content until something happens that makes them think otherwise. When this happens, you usually end up with a group that complains for a while but do not offer help to resolve issues.

My advice is to try the direct approach of just asking for help.
SwanB
(Washington)

Posts:199


05/24/2006 9:54 AM  
We started receiving at least two emails a week from a new member. Her energy level was certainly high and only equal to her lack of knowledge. But everyone can learn, right? While we didn't want to recruit her for the Board positions coming up, she was a great candidate for the coordinator of the Block Watch program. Her energy was able to be focused on a volunteer position and she could learn about the community and the bylaws, etc in the process. Maybe next year's election will have a great spot for her enthusiasm.
We are fortunate to have a large enough pool of past active members and current new members to draw on. But my experience has been I need to go out there and ask to get some action. They don't come to us.
MichelleD
(Washington)

Posts:20


05/30/2006 11:48 PM  
I found the best way was to plead my case at the annual meeting, all newsletters, and anytime someone emailed or called about anything. At the end of the conversation, I always asked, "You sound very interested in your community and concerned over...." Then I hook them with "Would you like to be part of the board or serve as a volunteer for upcoming projects?" This is how I found 5 board members and then another 20 or so volunteers.

The board is on my email and then the volunteers are on another distribution list. I keep them informed and I always ask for more volunteers. Remember, the volunteers will be propsective board members later in the future. Good luck!
HaroldS
(Arizona)

Posts:906


05/31/2006 10:38 AM  
It is just a simple fact that many people do not want any part of spying on and regulating their neighbors' lives. You will never get them to serve on the board. Harold
BrianB
(California)

Posts:2820


05/31/2006 10:43 AM  
If people don't want others spying on them or over regulating their lives, the best place for them to be is active on their board.

The only way to effectively change the system is to own it. Become part of it.

I became a board member for the very simple reason, I didn't want some OTHER idiot making up rules that affect me and my home. I want a voice, a say in what happens in my life. but that's just me. others are content to sit back, do nothing until it bites em in the behind, then find they know nothing on how to fight back.
SwanB
(Washington)

Posts:199


05/31/2006 11:14 AM  
HaroldS: I really resent the comment 'spying on'. Your attitude is one reason I became involved in my homeowner's association because I felt there were too many naysayers who spent their time providing negative comments and energy towards the people who were involved. I am proud of the work I do as a volunteer and board member and I get sick and tired of feeling as though there is ever the need to justify or defend my integrity. I am not someone who condones spying on anyone or taking away anyone's rights. For that matter I get sick and tired of the folks in our association who roll over and don't accept any responsibility for their rights.
You have made negative barbs and insinuations at posts on this website. What do you think you are gaining by this attitude of yours?
HaroldS
(Arizona)

Posts:906


05/31/2006 12:06 PM  

Swan - Bill wanted to know how to get more people active on boards. I simply told him that some people will never get active because they believe spying and manipulating other people's lives is part of the job. I'm sorry if that offended you and I'm glad you are so dedicated and malevolent and don't condone spying or taking away anyone's rights - but I'm curious how you derive the information to enforce your documents without doing so? I would like you to explain how you do that.
I think even you would have to admit that there are many boards and members who do enjoy their power. Brian's idea is good - IF - you can get yourself on a closed board.
The whole concept of "not taking away anyone's rights" is ludicrous. The eminently one-sided contracts we sign do indeed take away our civil and property rights and place them in the control of our neighbors. Period. How would you explain that it does not? Harold
hoatalk
(California)

Posts:573


05/31/2006 3:24 PM  
Harold: As the moderator I have to jump in here...

The original question was, "What are some things to do to help recruit new board members?"

Talking about board members spying, manipulating other's lives and taking away civil & property rights is not answering the question and counter-productive to our education goal here.

With so many web sites set up just to bash HOAs, Boards & MCs, we are really striving to be the one positive place where people can simply share ideas and learn how to better run the HOAs we do have.

We all know there are problems with HOAs and bad things have happened in them too. However, let's please focus on how to make things better and improve the HOAs we do have.

Thank you all for your support and participation.



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HaroldS
(Arizona)

Posts:906


05/31/2006 5:37 PM  
Thank you! I have learned a lot from this forum and have hopefully contributed too.
Obviously speaking of spying hits a raw nerve, and since this forum is all about education, it would perhaps benefit all of us if Swan and/or others could tell us how they gather information about violations. Harold
RogerB
(Colorado)

Posts:5067


05/31/2006 8:22 PM  
Harold, as a Managing Agent I do a weekly Covenant compliance inspection of each HOA. Inspection is done from the street and common areas and when violations are observed they are photographed. It is never spying. IMO using that word is an attempt to degrade a Covenant controlled community.
BrianB
(California)

Posts:2820


05/31/2006 8:59 PM  
in an attempt to honestly answer the second question (about spying), I can say two things:

As a board president, i respond to written complaints from other members only. If they aren't a member, if they aren't a dues-paying homeowners, and they don't put it in writing, then it isn't followed up by me. If i do get a complaint, i will either verify with my own eyes from public access, or go talk to the owner and ask them.

As for finding items on my own, I will do a walk around, and observe items visible from the public property that violate rules. I will NOT peek over fences, through windows, or even into open garages... streets and yards are my area, alone.

so, I only spy on what my neighbors put out there for me to see, or what they admit to in conversation with me.

LindaJ


Posts:0


06/16/2006 1:23 AM  
BillP1, our Board sends out a newsletter with "important" issues to all homeowners. Our recent one included a notice that there will be two 3-year-term Board positions up for re-election in October. We asked interested homeowners to contact a specific Board member if they were interested, or had any recommendations. The Board will then follow-up and contact potential candidates.

Another way is to form an election committee, whereby committee members can visit homeowners on a personal basis (face-to-face) and discuss the need for additional Board members and keep a record of people's current or future interest (maybe they are retiring in two years and would consider it then).

A third option would be to make up a short questionnaire to find out a little about each homeowner (find out their interests and strengths). If a homeowner has an insurance background, they would be a good resource if you have a community insurance claim; a homeowner with a legal background could provide you with contacts if needed; a homeowner that enjoys gardening, might be interested in volunteering a few hours to recommend a landscaping plan or plant flowers at the main entrance, etc. The more you can find out about your community members, the more you can all "share" in the responsibilities and make better decisions based on your membership. You can set up a table with the questionnaire data and do a quick sort when you need to access specific responses.

I hope this gives you some ideas.
LindaJ


Posts:0


06/16/2006 2:00 AM  
HaroldS. I don't understand why it's not obvious to you. First, it is not the JOB of the Board to FIND violators. The Board's job is to enforce the CC&Rs. If a Board member is aware of a violation, they will certainly bring it to the attention of the other Board members, a letter will be written to the violator, they will be given a specific time to comply with the covenants, and the consequences of not complying will be explained (e.g., fines).

The most common way to learn about a violator, is when a neighbor complains. To limit the constant complaints and petty interruptions to the Board members' personal lives (since they are all volunteers and work very hard daily to maintain the association) we developed a simple form that must be used when requesting information or service, filing a complaint or reporting a violation. This is EVERY homeowner's "investment", and they need to take some responsibility in working "with" the Board, not expect a few Board members to play policeman. We receive so many phone calls from homeowners that just want to vent, but when told to send in a signed form, they realize how petty they are being and it ends there.

Our homeowners are beginning to understand how much time they are draining from the Board members with their phone calls and uninvited home visits, and we are getting more homeowner communications by mail now. This gives the Board time to review the homeowners' requests and concerns, review the covenants and city ordinances where applicable, allows the Board to share in handling the workload, gets results much faster. and is more cost effective (i.e., if several sprinkler heads need replacing, it costs less to have the repairs done in a single visit).

I think you get my point and realize how passionate I am about the "entire community" being involved in the association and giving the respect that's due our elected Board on their time. It's easy to burn out effective Board members, and sharing the responsibilities will help you keep the good ones longer. I know from experience!!
SallyK
(California)

Posts:3


06/16/2006 10:56 AM  
Start a rumor: "Special Assessment."
Sorry, your delema is common. You can't force anyone to be on the Board. BUT, if you do not have a Board of Directors the courts will step in and appoint a Board from a list of professionals in your community or ourlying area such as accountants, bankers, lawyers, etc. And as they are not volunteers, you pay their fees. What does this do to your monthly dues???
SallyK
(California)

Posts:3


06/16/2006 11:03 AM  
Dear Harold:
Let's examine your statment. "Spying on and regulating." No Board of Directors should be spying or regulating only ensuring the governing docs. are enforced equally and consistently.
Complaints should be submitted in writing to ensure a paper trail is in place prior to calling hearing. Spying could be considered violating a homeowners peaceful enjoyment as well as right to privacy.
Please be careful.
DavidH4


Posts:0


06/17/2006 1:47 PM  
I certainly agree Linda. If you have a management company, it is their job to enforce rules on any violations. Folks should realize that the Board members also have lives too. Another thing is, the board was elected by the homeowners. If they did not have the confidence inthe people they elected, why did they vote for them. Petty arguments between homeowners over an interputation of a rule is counterproductive. The board and management company makes decisions based on community standards and the well being of all homeowners.
LindaJ


Posts:0


06/17/2006 11:17 PM  
I agree with SallyK and DavidH4. To keep the dues attractive to potential buyers, our builder kept the monthly dues amount to an absolute minimum. Our association was turned over to the homeowners in October 2005. We did not have enough money for current expenses, and were unable to raise the dues amount enough to pay a management company's fees. Therefore, our Board is solely responsible for enforcing the CC&Rs. When voting-in the new Board members, homeowners voted for candidates that they "knew," not for candidates that had the best qualifications (knowledge and/or experience). I highly recommend once you find valid candidates to serve on the Board, you ask them to summarize their qualifications and encourage homeowners to vote for the best candidate(s) - this is not a popularity contest - don't vote for someone that you simply "like," vote for someone who can help increase your investment.

Everyone who built or bought a home in our association had a copy of the CC&Rs and was able to read them prior to their purchase. By purchasing a home in our association, they agreed to abide by the current rules. I have seen Boards that are totally self-serving and/or made up of people who are mostly interested in the "power" - ours is not. If a homeowner does not agree with the rules, it is nonproductive to have them try to get on the Board so they can "change" things - this would be "self-serving." We bought our home based on the rules, agree with a majority of the rules, and want them enforced equally to all homeowners. We do not "spy" on our members; all complaints, requests and responses are in writing; and we are sincerely appreciative for the hard work by our Board members who keep communications open and enforce our covenants. I still don't understand why people buy into a community association if they do not want to play by the rules.

Bottom line BillP1, if you are still unable to find qualified and interested homeowners to serve on your Board, you may need to go outside your membership to recruit Board members, provided your By-Laws allow this. You may want to write a letter to the homeowners and let them know their options (e.g., if no one steps up, it may cost them additional dues to pay for non-member Board members). Sometimes explaining the situation and the realism of increased dues encourages homeowners to volunteer their time.
CarolK
(Arizona)

Posts:3


07/13/2006 8:19 AM  
Does anyone have any more info on courts appointing board members, particularly is the info is pertinent to Arizona? Our management company has said that the current board members have a responsibility to remain on the board if no one else will run, but I'm not sure this is true. I am committed to serving out my term, but I need a break!
NancyM2
(California)

Posts:249


07/13/2006 1:55 PM  
I loved your reply Sally ~ Start a rumor to hit the pocketbook ~ works every time ~ it's the only way we found anyone interisted. Was when we wanted to raise the dues or levy an assessment. Sad but true. Having been a board member to a rather large HOA I can certainly attest to the "burn out" factor. Many of the suggestions made to avoid this factor were valuable. I might add one more occupational hassard ~~ Once you become involved. you will always care about, and want the best for your community. It's hard to sit back and see it abused. However my hat is certinly off to those who care enough to volunteer their time.

Nancy M
JoyceS1
(Indiana)

Posts:140


07/13/2006 6:16 PM  
NancyM2

Your statement that once you become involved in the HOA community you will always care about and want what's best for it hit home with me.

My husband and I became actively involved in our community about 4-5 years ago in various capacities. I tried stepping aside for a year, but it was hard watching all that we put in motion suddenly coming to a screetching halt. Fortunately (or unfortunately, depending on one's perspective) I've been taken out of temporary retirement and placed in the position of president when the president had to resign for health reasons. Now, I can get things moving again.

I do care about the community and its future and I now understand that I won't ever be able to turn my back on it.

I definitely need my head examined because it is a thankless job, but somebody's got to do it!

JoyceS1
NancyM2
(California)

Posts:249


07/13/2006 7:11 PM  
Joyce ~ Hang in there ~ we need people like you. I joined the board because we were looking down the throat of receivership after a very expensive Class action suit hit us. the board members could not be part of the class. (conflict of interest) I was one of a few that didn't join the class suit. it didn't make any sense to sue myself, so I had opted out. I have been a homemaker all my life, I laughingly call myself a "kept women" I found myself Treasurer of a HOA that owed attorneys close to a million. the first check I signed was for our water bill ~ and noticed we had $15.33 left in our working account~~Shock set in~~ we did have to levy an assessment, and with some carefull planning, and spending pulled ourselves in about a year ~ I had a burn out and resigned. Now I am watching a clickish board spend like it didn't matter, putting friends and homeowners on the payroll. I can see another assessment coming ~ but noone cares because it hasen't hit yet. I still drive around our community and feel responsible for these family's, and their homes. This board would not want me back,(maybe that's a good thing) as I ask too many questions. It is heartwarming for me to see people like yourself and others visiting HOATalk that care about their community.

Nancy M
JoyceS1
(Indiana)

Posts:140


07/14/2006 3:47 AM  
NancyM2

We think a lot alike. I, too, feel responsible for the investments people have made in their homes. Unfortuantely, many people living in these homes feel only responsible for no one other than themselves due to never having lived in an HOA situation before. Old habits die hard I guess.

Suffering "burn-out" is my biggest challenge. I've suffered it once, and may again. There isn't anyone to pick up where I leave off, so I'm in a pickle.

Maybe at some point down the road I may simply have to accept that things will never change and give up. My fighting spirit is still alive for now.

Thanks for your comments. I know where you are coming from.

JoyceS1

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