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Subject: Flowers for homeowners who have volunteered
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JackJ9


Posts:0


07/18/2021 7:06 PM  
We had a mishap in our community, and the association reached out to a couple homeowners to help correct the mishap. They agreed and used some of the own things to correct the mishap, at our request. I'm proposing that we purchase a bouquet of flowers for each of the homeowners to thank them for helping out in the community. I'll buy them at the grocery store and hand deliver them to save on delivery charges. Want to make sure I am not making a faux pas in this proposal.
MaxB4
(California)

Posts:1614


07/18/2021 7:08 PM  
Sorry, the community cannot, I repeat cannot, spend any money that is not specifically stated in your CCRs.
KerryL1
(California)

Posts:8734


07/18/2021 7:19 PM  
Not sure what "the Association reached out..." Who actually reached out? Just curious
JackJ9


Posts:0


07/18/2021 7:21 PM  
I just read through our CC&Rs, all 81 pages.
"
It doesn't really say what we can and cannot spend money on, except that Assessments are to be used for Common Expenses, which are defined as "the actual and estimated expenses incurred or anticipated to be incurred by the Association for the general benefit of all Owners...."

I would argue that the mishap that was corrected at the request of the association was for the general benefit of all Owners, and that a small gift of flowers to thank the people for their efforts in assisting us correct the mishap is appropriate and covered by our CC&Rs. Providing a nice thank you to these homeowners helped save the association cost and helps keep the door open should another mishap occur in the future.
JackJ9


Posts:0


07/18/2021 7:21 PM  
Posted By KerryL1 on 07/18/2021 7:19 PM
Not sure what "the Association reached out..." Who actually reached out? Just curious




The board of directors voted and agreed that we should reach out to two specific homeowners that were in a position to help out the association in a time of need.
SheliaH
(Indiana)

Posts:4297


07/18/2021 7:23 PM  
I'm with max, although it's a nice gesture. If the board wants to do this, it may be best to pass the hat and get the flowers. Or a nice card and all the board members sign it.

Using HOA money for stuff like this has come up before - if you want to get small gifts for tnis, I would suggest a poll of the community to see how they feel. If no one has a problem with it, you will still need a po!icy dictating when the money is spent and a dollar amount is also appropriate. It could be listed for n the budget as a line item for "goodwill or something, but you should wait until next year where people can see it.

It seems like overkill, but as you said, it should be done right. Npersonally, I'd lot for passing the hat.
KellyM3
(North Carolina)

Posts:1811


07/18/2021 7:25 PM  
Posted By JackJ9 on 07/18/2021 7:06 PM
We had a mishap in our community, and the association reached out to a couple homeowners to help correct the mishap. They agreed and used some of the own things to correct the mishap, at our request. I'm proposing that we purchase a bouquet of flowers for each of the homeowners to thank them for helping out in the community. I'll buy them at the grocery store and hand deliver them to save on delivery charges. Want to make sure I am not making a faux pas in this proposal.




If your full board is on board, and you include it as a vote, I don't see a huge issue.

Philosophically, you'd want to keep HOA funds TIGHTLY focused on core costs so I'd personally not recommend buying flowers. However, you know this situation best at your community level and whether "questionable" purchases like this will elevate community harmony where trouble could, otherwise, be lurking.

Yes, people here will be adamantly opposed to this....and they're not wrong, either. The HOA works for the community. It's up to your community's culture. Mine is very business-oriented.
MaxB4
(California)

Posts:1614


07/18/2021 7:27 PM  
Posted By JackJ9 on 07/18/2021 7:21 PM
I just read through our CC&Rs, all 81 pages.
"
It doesn't really say what we can and cannot spend money on, except that Assessments are to be used for Common Expenses, which are defined as "the actual and estimated expenses incurred or anticipated to be incurred by the Association for the general benefit of all Owners...."

I would argue that the mishap that was corrected at the request of the association was for the general benefit of all Owners, and that a small gift of flowers to thank the people for their efforts in assisting us correct the mishap is appropriate and covered by our CC&Rs. Providing a nice thank you to these homeowners helped save the association cost and helps keep the door open should another mishap occur in the future.



It was just a joke. Someone here has an issue with something like that.
JackJ9


Posts:0


07/18/2021 7:28 PM  
Posted By SheliaH on 07/18/2021 7:23 PM
I'm with max, although it's a nice gesture. If the board wants to do this, it may be best to pass the hat and get the flowers. Or a nice card and all the board members sign it.

Using HOA money for stuff like this has come up before - if you want to get small gifts for tnis, I would suggest a poll of the community to see how they feel. If no one has a problem with it, you will still need a po!icy dictating when the money is spent and a dollar amount is also appropriate. It could be listed for n the budget as a line item for "goodwill or something, but you should wait until next year where people can see it.

It seems like overkill, but as you said, it should be done right. Npersonally, I'd lot for passing the hat.




I've seen it discussed here regarding gifts to board of directors. This isn't that.

This is a time where the board reached out to two homeowners based on their location and asked if they could contribute their personal time and supplies to help out the greater association. These homeowners never volunteered to be part of the board or association, but did so at our request. I think we are obligated to thank them in a specific manner for their contributions that were not required, but helped immensely.

I don't think I need to reach into my own personal pocket to repay a homeowner for their efforts that they made to support the association. I volunteer my time, not my money. I pay enough in dues as it is. Maybe I should start paying the landscaper from personal funds too while I am at it?
SheliaH
(Indiana)

Posts:4297


07/19/2021 6:10 AM  
And yet, you're asking if ASSOCIATION money (provided by you and your neighbors, including the ones who helped) should be used to give flowers to certain homeowners. No, these aren't board members, but it's similar to an association sending flowers to a homeowner who's fighting cancer or passed away. This isn't something that all the homeowners are getting, so why should they be singled out?

You're entitled to use your money as you see fit, but during my 10 years on the board, I remember a few instances where the board chipped among themselves to: give our property managers small gifts when they retired, a sympathy card and flowers to the family of three former HOA presidents when they passed away, one family when their three-year-old was killed in a fire (the house was gutted and they lost everything). My colleagues also chipped in to give ME a lovely card and a bottle of wine when I stepped down - I used to joke it was a medal of sorts for wrestling with delinquencies when I served as treasurer!. Not a quarter of association money was spent.

You don't say how many people are on your board, but I would think all of you chipping in $5 or $10 each won't break you - if you have an issue with it or your colleagues balk, don't give - just say thank you to these folks and move on. If you feel these people deserve some sort of thanks, nothing's stopping YOU from sending your own card. Sometimes we should do things because they're the right thing to do and not quibble over the cost, and there's a lot to be said for expressing gratitude.

CathyA3
(Ohio)

Posts:2607


07/19/2021 8:09 AM  
The board should pass the hat and pay themselves. It's a trivial expense, why raise issues when you don't need to?

Some governing docs will have strict rules about compensating board members or volunteers for any community service. FWIW our former property manager, while not a volunteer, was not allow to accept anything as a gift, not even some cheap little tchotchkes that you can pick up anywhere.

You didn't ask this, but volunteers are often considered employees for liability purposes. So before you use volunteers for anything, you should verify that your HOA is carrying workers comp or equivalent insurance and have the volunteers sign Hold Harmless/Release of Liability forms, especially if the volunteers will be doing physical labor.
AugustinD


Posts:1937


07/19/2021 8:35 AM  
Posted By JackJ9 on 07/18/2021 7:06 PM
We had a mishap in our community, and the association reached out to a couple homeowners to help correct the mishap. They agreed and used some of the own things to correct the mishap, at our request. I'm proposing that we purchase a bouquet of flowers for each of the homeowners to thank them for helping out in the community. I'll buy them at the grocery store and hand deliver them to save on delivery charges. Want to make sure I am not making a faux pas in this proposal.
Jack, an H.O.A. president like yourself needs allies among the membership. So do not go cheap, and do not make mere token gestures. Buy a gift card to a decent restaurant (maître d', cloth tablecloths and napkins, at a minimum). Or if they're not the high dining type, just give them a gift card to the local high end grocery store. The gift card should explain on it that it is from the H.O.A.

The H.O.A. should publicize the H.O.A.'s thoughtful gift in the H.O.A. newsletter with something like: "Dear Folks, Tom and Betty Smith were invaluable in correcting a certain mishap. The H.O.A. sent them a gift card to buy a few drinks at ______. To Tom and Betty: We love you. You're very special."

BarbaraT1
(Texas)

Posts:591


07/19/2021 9:00 AM  
The board of the association I currently work for gives out volunteer appreciation gifts that are usually flowers, a thank you card, a gift card. They pay for this out of HOA funds, as they consider it an investment in the health of the association the same way pre-emergent is an investment in the health of the landscaping. And the governing documents are nice and vague about what assessments can be used for.

I have worked for other boards in which the board members chipped in with their own funds to pay for volunteer appreciation. And still others where residents who owned businesses were invited to sponsor volunteer appreciation gifts, and repaid with an ad in the newsletter or a shout out in the next community mailing.

So there are lots of options. But the key is - these are all decisions made by the board as a whole, not one member.
CathyA3
(Ohio)

Posts:2607


07/19/2021 9:18 AM  
Posted By AugustinD on 07/19/2021 8:35 AM
Posted By JackJ9 on 07/18/2021 7:06 PM
We had a mishap in our community, and the association reached out to a couple homeowners to help correct the mishap. They agreed and used some of the own things to correct the mishap, at our request. I'm proposing that we purchase a bouquet of flowers for each of the homeowners to thank them for helping out in the community. I'll buy them at the grocery store and hand deliver them to save on delivery charges. Want to make sure I am not making a faux pas in this proposal.
Jack, an H.O.A. president like yourself needs allies among the membership. So do not go cheap, and do not make mere token gestures. Buy a gift card to a decent restaurant (maître d', cloth tablecloths and napkins, at a minimum). Or if they're not the high dining type, just give them a gift card to the local high end grocery store. The gift card should explain on it that it is from the H.O.A.

The H.O.A. should publicize the H.O.A.'s thoughtful gift in the H.O.A. newsletter with something like: "Dear Folks, Tom and Betty Smith were invaluable in correcting a certain mishap. The H.O.A. sent them a gift card to buy a few drinks at ______. To Tom and Betty: We love you. You're very special."




I suspect there should be a "sarcasm" emoji in there somewhere... :-)

Actually, I was going to suggest that, rather than buying something like flowers, put a Thank You notice in the community newsletter (assuming the volunteers are OK with that, some folks wouldn't be).

Management experts often recommend putting thanks into writing and say that employees/volunteers often value that more than they do something like another gift card. This approach also gets around any issues with improper spending or accepting gifts.
AugustinD


Posts:1937


07/19/2021 9:37 AM  
Posted By CathyA3 on 07/19/2021 9:18 AM
Posted By AugustinD on 07/19/2021 8:35 AM
Posted By JackJ9 on 07/18/2021 7:06 PM
We had a mishap in our community, and the association reached out to a couple homeowners to help correct the mishap. They agreed and used some of the own things to correct the mishap, at our request. I'm proposing that we purchase a bouquet of flowers for each of the homeowners to thank them for helping out in the community. I'll buy them at the grocery store and hand deliver them to save on delivery charges. Want to make sure I am not making a faux pas in this proposal.
Jack, an H.O.A. president like yourself needs allies among the membership. So do not go cheap, and do not make mere token gestures. Buy a gift card to a decent restaurant (maître d', cloth tablecloths and napkins, at a minimum). Or if they're not the high dining type, just give them a gift card to the local high end grocery store. The gift card should explain on it that it is from the H.O.A.

The H.O.A. should publicize the H.O.A.'s thoughtful gift in the H.O.A. newsletter with something like: "Dear Folks, Tom and Betty Smith were invaluable in correcting a certain mishap. The H.O.A. sent them a gift card to buy a few drinks at ______. To Tom and Betty: We love you. You're very special."


I suspect there should be a "sarcasm" emoji in there somewhere... :-)
Compared to other approaches suggested, I think my approach will lead to the H.O.A. operating per the law and covenants sooner rather than later. Sort of like "natural selection."

And I really do not approve of flowers. After all, an H.O.A. President has an obligation to get the most bang for the buck. If the President is going to show his smiling, grateful face personally at the door of Tom and Betty Smith to make the delivery (thoughtfully saving the H.O.A. the costs of the delivery; also so that Tom and Betty Smith can understand the President is truly a good guy; and lastly, so the President can confirm that Tom and Betty's affection, and vote at the next H.O.A. election are up for sale), then I think gift cards or even cash would be best.
MaxB4
(California)

Posts:1614


07/19/2021 9:50 AM  
Posted By AugustinD on 07/19/2021 9:37 AM
Posted By CathyA3 on 07/19/2021 9:18 AM
Posted By AugustinD on 07/19/2021 8:35 AM
Posted By JackJ9 on 07/18/2021 7:06 PM
We had a mishap in our community, and the association reached out to a couple homeowners to help correct the mishap. They agreed and used some of the own things to correct the mishap, at our request. I'm proposing that we purchase a bouquet of flowers for each of the homeowners to thank them for helping out in the community. I'll buy them at the grocery store and hand deliver them to save on delivery charges. Want to make sure I am not making a faux pas in this proposal.
Jack, an H.O.A. president like yourself needs allies among the membership. So do not go cheap, and do not make mere token gestures. Buy a gift card to a decent restaurant (maître d', cloth tablecloths and napkins, at a minimum). Or if they're not the high dining type, just give them a gift card to the local high end grocery store. The gift card should explain on it that it is from the H.O.A.

The H.O.A. should publicize the H.O.A.'s thoughtful gift in the H.O.A. newsletter with something like: "Dear Folks, Tom and Betty Smith were invaluable in correcting a certain mishap. The H.O.A. sent them a gift card to buy a few drinks at ______. To Tom and Betty: We love you. You're very special."


I suspect there should be a "sarcasm" emoji in there somewhere... :-)
Compared to other approaches suggested, I think my approach will lead to the H.O.A. operating per the law and covenants sooner rather than later. Sort of like "natural selection."

And I really do not approve of flowers. After all, an H.O.A. President has an obligation to get the most bang for the buck. If the President is going to show his smiling, grateful face personally at the door of Tom and Betty Smith to make the delivery (thoughtfully saving the H.O.A. the costs of the delivery; also so that Tom and Betty Smith can understand the President is truly a good guy; and lastly, so the President can confirm that Tom and Betty's affection, and vote at the next H.O.A. election are up for sale), then I think gift cards or even cash would be best.



And we still haven't seen you cite one law or CCRs stating your "whatever" Augie's Law of Contracts.
AugustinD


Posts:1937


07/19/2021 9:56 AM  
Posted By MaxB4 on 07/19/2021 9:50 AM
And [I] still haven't seen you cite one law or CCRs stating your "whatever" Augie's Law of Contracts.
I know, dear. There there. You say you haven't. Others know that time and again, the courts have declared that covenants are contractual terms.
MaxB4
(California)

Posts:1614


07/19/2021 9:58 AM  
Posted By CathyA3 on 07/19/2021 9:18 AM
Posted By AugustinD on 07/19/2021 8:35 AM
Posted By JackJ9 on 07/18/2021 7:06 PM
We had a mishap in our community, and the association reached out to a couple homeowners to help correct the mishap. They agreed and used some of the own things to correct the mishap, at our request. I'm proposing that we purchase a bouquet of flowers for each of the homeowners to thank them for helping out in the community. I'll buy them at the grocery store and hand deliver them to save on delivery charges. Want to make sure I am not making a faux pas in this proposal.
Jack, an H.O.A. president like yourself needs allies among the membership. So do not go cheap, and do not make mere token gestures. Buy a gift card to a decent restaurant (maître d', cloth tablecloths and napkins, at a minimum). Or if they're not the high dining type, just give them a gift card to the local high end grocery store. The gift card should explain on it that it is from the H.O.A.

The H.O.A. should publicize the H.O.A.'s thoughtful gift in the H.O.A. newsletter with something like: "Dear Folks, Tom and Betty Smith were invaluable in correcting a certain mishap. The H.O.A. sent them a gift card to buy a few drinks at ______. To Tom and Betty: We love you. You're very special."




I suspect there should be a "sarcasm" emoji in there somewhere... :-)

Actually, I was going to suggest that, rather than buying something like flowers, put a Thank You notice in the community newsletter (assuming the volunteers are OK with that, some folks wouldn't be).

Management experts often recommend putting thanks into writing and say that employees/volunteers often value that more than they do something like another gift card. This approach also gets around any issues with improper spending or accepting gifts.



A board member summits a receipt for a ink cartridge to print 100 sheets for a board meeting. Do we calculate the exact expense for copying just those 100 sheets? I've been doing this for 13 years and have never encountered an issue for something like this from another board member or homeowner.
CathyA3
(Ohio)

Posts:2607


07/19/2021 11:01 AM  
Posted By MaxB4 on 07/19/2021 9:58 AM
... much snippage ...

A board member summits a receipt for a ink cartridge to print 100 sheets for a board meeting. Do we calculate the exact expense for copying just those 100 sheets? I've been doing this for 13 years and have never encountered an issue for something like this from another board member or homeowner.



I don't know what "a board member" would do, but this board member would not submit a receipt for anything where I couldn't break out the association's expense clearly. If I were printing things at home, I'd use my own equipment and eat the cost. Big items like newsletters went to the local copy shop where I'd get a receipt for that job and that job only, and those I'd submit for reimbursement (when I didn't forget to do so).

I'm sure there are folks out there who will buy a printer cartridge to print whatever and then keep it for personal use. Yeah, it's chump change - but if you're willing to be dishonest about the piddly, low stakes stuff, then it's easier to justify dishonesty when the stakes are higher. My inner accountant *hates* stuff like that and he won't shut up.
LetA
(Nevada)

Posts:1469


07/19/2021 12:05 PM  
Posted By MaxB4 on 07/18/2021 7:27 PM
Posted By JackJ9 on 07/18/2021 7:21 PM
I just read through our CC&Rs, all 81 pages.
"
It doesn't really say what we can and cannot spend money on, except that Assessments are to be used for Common Expenses, which are defined as "the actual and estimated expenses incurred or anticipated to be incurred by the Association for the general benefit of all Owners...."

I would argue that the mishap that was corrected at the request of the association was for the general benefit of all Owners, and that a small gift of flowers to thank the people for their efforts in assisting us correct the mishap is appropriate and covered by our CC&Rs. Providing a nice thank you to these homeowners helped save the association cost and helps keep the door open should another mishap occur in the future.



It was just a joke. Someone here has an issue with something like that.




Badly missing PITA, How is he doing?
LetA
(Nevada)

Posts:1469


07/19/2021 12:08 PM  
I don't see an issue with this. It is a mere pittance of money out of the coffers. You might want to make a motion at the next meeting to put on the agenda of creating a sunshine fund for said expenditures.
MelissaP1
(Alabama)

Posts:10595


07/19/2021 3:38 PM  
My board wanted to "forgive" dues to owners whom have died. They did not want the family to have to worry about paying the dues for the month the person passed away. Now this sounds like a good and considerate thing. However, you have to look at the fact that those dues are considered "income" for the HOA. It also factors into that we placed liens for unpaid dues at 6 months. Which guess what? Probate court takes about 6 months to process. Meaning we are most likely already facing 6 months of unpaid dues by the families anyways while this all processes. Plus how do you lien during probate process without looking like jerks? Which we were not being. We just liened at 6 months as during probate the new owners aren't responsible for previous owner's debts.

So instead I suggested IF this was to happen, then we could "pass the hat" around to donate to pay the dues for that month instead. We still would meet the obligation of the dues being paid. Plus could avoid doing any liens. $50 a month dues wasn't a high amount of which to collect.

So even though it sounds great to "thank someone" it also coming from EVERYONE's dues monies. Which not alot of people may appreciate if they don't like that board member and they are getting "dinner" on their dime.

Former HOA President
BancsS
(Iowa)

Posts:100


07/19/2021 4:13 PM  
Instead of flowers, make up a nice fruit basket. Have each board member buy a different fruit. That won't cost much. Find a nice basket or someone board member may already have one, wrap in cellophane with a bow and thank you note.

Just an idea that won't cost much but won't use HOA funds either.
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