One of the most common types of complaints to boards and property managers involves a lack of communication between the association and the members of the community. All too often, members feel that they have no voice in major events affecting the community, or that they are uninformed or misinformed about significant board decisions. This inevitably leads to boards and association managers getting bogged down by owners who are quite vocal about their frustrations. One way to prevent such community discord is through the promotion of more effective communication methods between the board, property management and the general membership.
There are several means by which an association can promote communication with the membership and combat community apathy and divisiveness. Probably the most effective means is to establish a communications committee that is charged with creating and distributing newsletters and/or maintaining a community website. Even if the newsletters/updates are only distributed quarterly, just simple reminders on community projects, rules and regulations and other miscellaneous issues can often help allay some of the frustrations that members often express.
Another suggestion for better communication is a shared email address for the board (e.g., firstname.lastname@example.org). As we all know, serving on a board can be like working another job, so having a shared email address may ensure that at least one board member is available at all times to reply to member questions/concerns. Being responsive can go a long way in minimizing future issues, and by having a centralized email account, all the board members can have access and share the responsibility.
Town Hall Meetings
Finally, town hall meetings are also important, especially where an association is faced with a major project or potential special assessment. Even if the decision and authority to proceed ultimately rests with the board, involving the owners in the actual process beforehand and keeping them apprised will go a long way. In most cases, town hall meetings provide a venue where owners feel connected, and they may also promote a better understanding of the thought processes and the necessity behind the project or special assessment. Dropping major news on the membership without some type of background information or prior notice will often backfire.
In sum, by taking the time to implement one or more of the foregoing means of communication, a board can go a long way in establishing a good and peaceful relationship with the association members.
Article provided by Coulter & Sierra