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Subject: 5-year planning
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Author Messages
BobW11
(South Carolina)

Posts:1


12/30/2008 9:05 AM  
I was just elected to serve on The Elms Plantation board. I'm now encharge of the Planning Committee. My first task is to draft a 5-year plan. We are a gated 18 year old community. This will be our first attempt to draft a 5-year plan. Does anyone know of any plan that I could review or any suggested guidelines to follow?
DonnaS
(Tennessee)

Posts:5671


12/30/2008 10:48 AM  

Bob,
We need a little more info. A 5 year plan for what? Budget and Reserves, maintenances and improvements, or generally, just a projected outlook?
RobertR1
(South Carolina)

Posts:5164


12/30/2008 9:48 PM  
BobW,
You may have been elected to set up a five year plan but you have to have direction (as stated) by your BOD. You will probably need to to know how to develope a spread sheet. What systems does your management use doing their books. For one individual to step in with no previous experience and do this is next to impossible. You are going to have to copy from other five year plans and adapt.

But the five year plan can be such a vital part to the direction your association is going I wonder if you have looked into cost od farming it out. On the other hand, I suspect many association develope a five year plan and adjust the figures and projects more or less yearly. S--t happens. The best five year plan makes sense, is within capabilities, has constant attention by the board, releases regular reports of the effectiveness of the plan, and is an agenda item each annual meeting. As other similar associations in the area if the have a working five year plan. If you have an HOA attorney that you use, ask him for directions for your state and any local requirement, if there is any.
KirkW1
(Texas)

Posts:1665


12/30/2008 10:37 PM  
I would sit down and figure out where you want the HOA to be in five years. I have not heard of this before, but it makes a lot of sense for the organization to do.

Short of more definitive answer, I would look to see what the membership wants to see the HOA be in five years. And what it would take to get that done. Perhaps the people only want a private code police. If so, then a five year plan will be easy. But perhaps they want to see neighborhood improvements. In that case, you will need to figure out what improvements should be made and what kind of budget will be needed.

I would not shy away from extending beyond the five years. But would state that certain things might still be a work in progress at the end of the five years. This might include an improvement fund for putting in a park at some point.
RobertR1
(South Carolina)

Posts:5164


12/31/2008 3:51 AM  
Kirk,
If you have NO experience in developing a five year plan, you best copy from someone else. Most of what you suggest will be in there. However people and boards are people and they change from year to year and all kinds of thing happen that effect this five year plan. If it addresses a 50 unit complex, it is going to be different that a 250 unit complex.

If the latter is true, I would suggest a Reserve study be done and the five year plan can be included. Same regimes find a reserve study to be to clumbersome, but I am not sure that is correct either. We (65 units) didn't opt for a reserve study, and that is another tale, but we have had five year plans for years. The five year plan has to be tweaked just about yearly, if fact our latest five year plan was in process and we decided some of our longstanding structural concerns needed to be addressed now, so this means a shift in the five year plan. I don't believe a five year plan can be cast in stone, but it helps keep your eye on the horizon and that is a good thing.
SusanW1
(Michigan)

Posts:5202


12/31/2008 10:41 AM  
Many businesses and groups do Strategic Planning. There are guidelines on Google on how to conduct SP meetings.

Basically it asks the group to look at the past successes and how problems were solved, present issues and challenges, and then future dreams and goals - in a variety of domains, such as financial, social, cosmetic, community, etc. etc.

From there, there will be smaller committees set up to deal with each issue and develop important and urgent-important lists of things to do in a time line sort of fashion.

Good luck with this. Most people deal with today and that's it. They don't want to look back and learn from history, nor do they want to set goals for 5 years down the lane. Do yourself a favor and invite ONLY people who can develop a vision and then are willing to take small steps to get to the better future.

JoeK1
(Michigan)

Posts:37


12/31/2008 11:14 AM  
Having been in charge of the strategic planning process for a multi-billion dollar global for-profit organization, I (and our organization) found that a 5-year strategic plan was essentially too complex and a considerable waste of energy and time. Business conditions/factors were simply happening too quickly to make a plan of this duration of any use. We opted instead for a 1-year business plan that was contained on 1-page. It has served us well and met with a considerble amount of success. I believe a plan of this type could and should also be used for a homeowner or condo association.

Preparing a strategic plan might seem an unnecessary expenditure of time and effort. However, clarifying and defining your direction and using strategy to plan your activities, transforms vague ideas of what you want into a powerful tool for accomplishment. It also lends itself to getting more members involved in helping to set the longer-term direction of the association.

This transformation occurs by using specific targets, or goals to guide you, so you know where you (or your team) are going, as well as why, and how. It helps you make the big decisions and move through the day-to-day ones, so you stay on track. And when unexpected situations arise in your environment, your plan helps you know what to do. I would recommend that your strategic plan consist of the following elements:

 Mission Statement - The mission statement is not just a vision, which at times can be very vague and lofty. Rather, it is the fundamental What and Why of your association. It defines your overall purpose and serves as an ongoing guide, without time parameters. If crafted well, the mission statement can remain unchanged for decades, while your goals and action plans may change annually, or even more frequently.

 Strengths-Weaknesses-Opportunities-Threats (SWOT) Analysis - It has always been important for a condo or homeowner association to know and understand how it fits in and interacts with the surrounding environment on both an internal (businesses practices) and external view (how your condo or homeowner association operates with the outside world). Assessing your strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats through a SWOT analysis is a very simple process that can offer powerful insight into the potential and critical issues affecting your condo association

 Goals, Objectives, and Action Plans - While the mission statement is broad and abstract, goals, objectives and action plans are specific. They are the targets you want to hit. The action plan is where the rubber meets the road. It is comprised of the tasks that will enable you to meet your goals and objectives.

Time does not permit a discussion of all the nuances of preparing a solid business plan, so I have included a sample of one for a small-medium sized condo association.

Good Luck
JoeK

Attachment: 1123114257571.doc

SusanW1
(Michigan)

Posts:5202


12/31/2008 11:53 AM  
Thanks, Joe.

Only a man from Michigan would explain things so clearly
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