A good meeting or presentation always starts with good preparation and the proper planning. mem property management always prepares for annual HOA meetings 1-2 months in advance to be sure that everything is in place. Some community association documents specify a certain date or window of time in which the meeting needs to be held, which can actually make planning a bit easier because the date is predetermined. Generally speaking, mem property management NJ encourages our HOA and condo association communities to plan their annual meeting 30 to 45 days after their financial year end. This gives the board an opportunity to speak and reflect on the community financials and accomplishments on a 12 month basis. Once you have determined the date, you’ll want to make sure you’re planning the location, guest speakers, and agenda Association Advisors as you lead up to the meeting date.
mem property management always want to choose and set-up a meeting location that’s fairly close to the community. Obviously, the easier you make it for the owners to attend, the more likely to increase your attendance. We like to reach out to local schools, churches, and libraries in the nearby community area. Many of the owners are familiar with these nearby facilities. We encourage our communities to offer a small donation in exchange for the use of the facility, assuming they don’t already charge a fee, which some do. We try to avoid annual meetings in restaurants or busy public areas because it really makes it difficult to conduct HOA business when there is a ton of background noise or other distractions.
When notifying the community members of the meeting, include a specific meeting agenda with the notice of meeting. Be sure to be as specific as you can on the meeting agenda. The owners attendance is, of course, directly affected by the topics that are covered at the meeting. Every owner has their own specific interests or hot buttons. Of course there is a chance the meeting agenda can change between the announcement and the actual meeting. Make sure your board and management team have reviewed all the agenda items and can answer the pending questions about each topic.
Announcement of the Annual meeting via traditional mail is probably the most important factor in generating community annual meeting attendance. Almost everywhere, it is a legal requirement to send out advanced notice of your HOA or Condo Association annual meeting. Many community documents specify a particular date that the notice of meeting is must be mailed in order for the meeting to be a legal association meeting. Although this is the most important communication that leads to attendance, because of the postage costs involved, it is also the most expensive. In order to keep these costs down, limit the documentation that goes in the actual notice. You can provide additional material to those that attend the meeting. Also try offering an online way to submit a proxy vote as opposed to having a print version included in the meeting mail out.
Announcing Annual HOA meeting information via email is certainly the quickest way to get your message out to your community quickly and inexpensively. There are many states that actually require announcement either via email or posting it on the community website as part of the legal compliance to have an official annual meeting. You’ll want to keep the email announcement simple, make sure to emphasize the date, location, and time, and attach the meeting agenda or provide a web link to the agenda. This is certainly the wave of the future and will continue to be the most important way for an HOA community to communicate with its owners.
Signage throughout the community
This is something mem property did long before email blasts and website postings. Although it’s a a bit of old school technique, it really does work. Placing some signs at the main entrances, near mailbox areas, and other major intersections throughout the community really does help get the word out. You want make sure these signs are out at least 3-5 days before the actual meeting to make sure a good amount of traffic has driven and walked by them to help deliver the message. Also make sure that either your association management company or a community volunteer grabs these signs immediately after the meeting to make sure that you can possibly modify and reuse them for next year. They tend to disappear if left out too long after the meeting.
A good informational, annual meeting packet is an essential element that will help lure the owners of the association to the once a year meeting. A good informational packet will have all the basic financial information (balance sheets, income and expense statements, budget comparisons, etc) along with any substantial community news and information. We encourage our community board of directors to reflect on the accomplishments and highlights of the previous year and actually make that information part of the annual meeting packet. A lot of the owners in the association really don’t have an idea the amount of work and effort put into association by both the board of directors and management team. This is a great opportunity to both educate the meeting attendees as well as congratulate the volunteers that help run the HOA or condo association.
This strategy is certainly our favorite and most successful annual meeting attendance strategy. Everyone likes free food, so naturally “If you bring it, they will come”. This can certainly be minimal with some coffee, tea, and possibly some small finger foods. Some communities get really into it and bring several items pot luck style and everyone gets a taste of some good home cooking. Our most popular and requested items for food is bringing in 10-20 pizzas for everyone to dive into and get a quick dinner for parents and the kids alike. This is a great tactic especially for our larger, family oriented communities. People tend to be in a better overall mood if they are not hungry so this can even help improve the overall feel of the meeting.
How your annual meetings are conducted can certainly influence attendance for future community meetings. Stick to the agenda and progress through the information at a steady pace. Certainly don’t rush through things to cause confusion, but you want to be respectful of everyone’s time and not dwell too long on any one topic if at all possible. Take questions from the attendees after presenting the full information on each agenda topic to help not disrupt the flow of the meeting.
Give Always and Door Prizes
Remember when you were a little kid, and your parents would entice us to clean our room with a promise of a Popsicle after you finished? Well, as adults we aren’t too different. We all have super busy schedules, and we all need a little incentive or motivation to help determine how we spend our time. We always encourage our communities to draw names for small door prizes and giveaways for any owner that does attend the meeting. We recommend small gift cards to your basic staple stores like Home Depot or Walmart or other association related prizes like a free monthly assessment or even extra pool keys or gate openers for gated communities. You’ll be surprised how many people, young or old, get excited about the chance to win something. Having this extra incentive will certainly help you obtain higher attendance numbers.
Meeting HOA annual meeting quorum requirements doesn’t have to be a difficult task. Some great planning and creative tactics by board of directors and the HOA management team can help make the annual meeting quorum a sure thing. It is important for all homeowners association members to attend their community’s annual meeting. Everyone deserves to know what is going on in their community association. It is in all HOA members best interest to understand and educate themselves with the news and financial information that affects their home.