For board members, your annual meeting is the most important event on your yearly calendar. Annual meetings are where you discuss fiscal concerns, capital improvement projects, and address homeowner concerns.
To help you navigate your annual meetings like the HOA boss you are, we’ve put together a few tips and tricks to help you and your homeowners feel like your community’s annual meetings are valuable and successful.
Give your homeowners plenty of notice.
Homeowners lead busy lives, and, as a result, many communities experience poor attendance simply because the homeowners have a prior commitment before they receive notice.
To alleviate this problem, consider the following suggestions:
- Book a venue and send a notice as soon as your state legislature allows you to.
- Send regular email or social media reminders in the weeks leading up to the event.
Planning ahead and sending regular reminders will help you get the word out and keep your event top of mind for homeowners.
Find a convenient location and time.
Set your meeting up for success by finding a meeting location and time that is likely to work well for your membership.
In order to find the time and place that works best for the largest percentage of people, consider these tips and tricks:
- Poll the community for when and where would be best for them and arrange the meeting according to their preferences.
- Don’t host an annual meeting around the holidays, if you can help it.
- If you’re going to pick a time around dinner, consider bringing food or snacks.
- Find a location in the association or close to it. Don’t be afraid of outdoor meetings if that’s the open space in your association!
While your governing documents may dictate when you must have your annual meeting, working around your homeowner’s needs and preferences will go a long way to improving attendance and creating positive feelings about the meeting.
Communicate the meeting’s agenda well before the meeting.
While most state legislatures require associations to send a basic agenda along with the annual meeting notice, communicating more in-depth information will help peak homeowners’ interest.
For suggestions on information that might help inspire homeowners to attend and increase the value of the meeting itself, read our suggestions below:
- Email (or share on social media) a more complete agenda, including all the major points you intend to discuss.
- Consider arranging for a professional to come to speak to the community regarding a topic many members feel passionate about. Few things will create as much value as this tip!
- Share a small portion of your presentation to the community and tell them that if they want more information, you will go into more detail at the annual meeting.
Whatever you’re planning to cover at your next annual meeting, share enough of the meeting’s details to get homeowners interested. If you’re not sure the current agenda is likely to generate membership interest, coming up with hooks, like inviting a key speaker, will help increase the meeting’s value.
Keep the meeting as short as possible.
Annual meetings, because of the breadth of topics covered, can usually run for several hours.
In order to keep the meeting going as quickly as possible, consider the following tips:
- Stick to the agenda and redirect all attempts to stray from it.
- Frontload the most important agenda items and discuss them at the beginning of the meeting.
While the purpose of annual meetings is to handle the association’s most pressing business, keeping the meeting short shows respect for your members’ time and will encourage them to come back to future meetings.
Consider different ways to make owners feel engaged.
While there are many strategies you could employ that could help increase homeowner interest, we suggest you stick with ideas that keep your homeowners interested in the discussion and encourage them to focus on the information.
Here are our top suggestions:
- Make your presentations exciting with appropriate jokes, graphics, and other effects. Consider adding any visual components that will help homeowners retain the information.
- Poll your homeowners for concerns well before the annual meeting, and make it clear you will address the top concerns when you convene.
- Hold raffles throughout the meeting to spark excitement and keep homeowner interest.
- Find a safe place or safe activity where the kids can play while the parents focus on the meeting.
While these are just a few of the options available to you to keep engagement high during the meeting, we believe following these 4 tips will give you the biggest bang for your HOA buck.
Keeping the above suggestions in mind will take your annual meeting experience to the next level. Thank you for all you do for your community! If you think JellyBird might be the right fit for your association, get a bid today!
Also, visit Boardline Academy for more tips on how to be the best HOA Board Member you can be. For larger communities with 250+ homes looking for a new HOA management company, visit Spectrum Association Management.