An HOA’s committees keep your association agile and up to date by ensuring the board has ample help with time-consuming tasks. Knowing more about the tasks you can assign committees, committee restrictions, how to create committees, and how to solicit for new committee members will give you a clearer picture of how setting up committees will help you meet your HOA’s goals.
What does a committee do?
Most committees exist to assist the board by researching and communicating their findings to the board. Committees will also assist boards by completing nonessential tasks – anything that doesn’t require board action.
The type of committee will also determine the committee’s role in the HOA. There are two types:
- Standing committees: a permanent committee that always exists to help the HOA with a specific function. For example, a social committee would be a standing committee.
- Temporary committees: sometimes called ad hoc committees, these committees only come into being when there is a one-time job that needs to be done. For example, if a box chain store was going to be built across the street from your community, the board could create a committee for the sole purpose of researching the effects the store will have on the community’s traffic.
As anyone who has ever organized a group of people for the purpose of accomplishing a goal knows, the process of getting everyone going in one direction can be quite complex. That’s why knowing what type of committee you want to create is a great place to start – knowing if it’s going to be a temporary or permanent committee will affect everything from who you choose for volunteers, to how you will have them meet.
Do HOA committees have any restrictions?
Unless the committee in question is the ACC, committees can advise and assist the board, but they cannot make decisions for the community.
To get a clearer picture of how committees advise and assist their HOA boards without making decisions, see the following examples:
- Writing the community’s annual budget for the board to approve and implement.
- Creating a landscape design within the proposed budget for board approval.
- Producing a quarterly newsletter for the community in accordance with board guidelines.
While restrictions for committees do exist, these restrictions ensure that power stays within the hands of the people whom the membership elected – the Board of Directors! Additionally, the restrictions in place ensure that the HOA’s committees do all the legwork to save the Board time when it comes to making the final decision for their community.
How can your HOA board create a committee?
The first step all boards should take when creating a committee is to check your state law and ensure that there are no laws concerning the formation of HOA committees. See below for a few examples of restrictions states may choose to enact for HOA committees:
- In Texas, management committees can be formed, but only if they have at least 2 members and the committee is made up of most board members.
- In Arizona, every committee formed must have at least one board member (unless you’re forming an advisory committee).
The second step all boards should take when creating a committee is to review your governing documents for:
- Any required committees (like the ACC/ARC).
- Any qualifications for committee membership.
The third step is to create a committee charter. A committee charter is a document that contains:
- The guidelines and goals for the committee.
- Outlines committee meeting times and expectations.
- Joining requirements.
- Committee goals
- How the committee should achieve its goals.
A charter will keep new committees and new committee members on the same page and will give the committee membership focus and direction as they work through their assigned tasks.
The fourth and final step all boards should take when creating a committee is to recruit committee members for your new committee. To find the best candidates for your committee, we recommend sending a detailed description of the role to your membership. In this description, include:
- All the required tasks for the position.
- Committee meeting times.
- The time commitment volunteers must dedicate to completing their responsibilities.
- Committee term length.
- Any other required or preferred skills.
In order to increase your chances of membership buy-in, discuss open committee roles at board meetings, community events, annual member meetings, or any other event where members of your HOA are likely to congregate.
As anyone who has ever served on a board knows, the duties and responsibilities of being a board member are complex – that’s why a few well-placed committees can support your board immensely. If you have any more questions about HOA management, sign up for our blog today!
Also, visit Boardline Academy for more tips on how to be the best HOA Board Member you can be.