Board members and community managers often agree that committees are an essential part of an HOA. Committees an opportunity for homeowners to get involved with the board.
Important issues can be identified and worked through using committees while simply seeking the board’s seal of approval before any action takes place. Participation from homeowners is a large part of the success in helping to maintain a community. Working alongside the HOA board and your community managers, committees created by volunteer members can make life easier. Following the guidelines of the association’s bylaws, HOA board members can assemble and operate committees structured to fit the needs of the community.
It’s important to understand the details of these committees and structure them in a way that is beneficial to the HOA as a whole. Here is an in-depth guide to setting up, running, and managing committees for your HOA:
Creating a Committee
Being involved as a board member is key. The infrastructure of your community’s association hinges upon the structure and operation of these committees as homeowners become engaged. The association’s bylaws explain that committees are appointed by and report directly to the board. Therefore, in order for committees to function successfully, the board needs to determine why a committee may be necessary, and for what purpose.
Before a committee can be created, it’s important for the HOA board members to create an annual budget. Having a budget in place will let you know what types of committees you may need, and a certain amount of money can be allocated to the various groups in carrying out day-to-day operations.
Each board member must clearly define the roles of each committee and maintain stewardship over their progress. The Board of Directors is also authorized to remove any committee members that may cause conflict or are detrimental to the success of that committee. Working within a committee should be productive and fun!
Gathering information, making recommendations on policy, finding solutions to ongoing problems, and representing the community as a whole are just a few of the ways having committees can assist in the overall success of an HOA. Utilizing the talents of your residents can serve as a training ground for future board members and increase a sense of community within your association.
Types of Committees
While not every type of committee may work for the community in which you live, we have a list of suggestions to consider that can appeal to the majority of homeowners’ associations and community managers. The most common committees are structured to deal with communications, architectural control, social events, and neighborhood watch. Here is a more detailed compilation of committee suggestions:
- Neighborhood Watch: This committee can work to develop relationships with local law enforcement agencies to implement a neighborhood watch program. It’s important to keep in mind that this committee cannot ensure security, and therefore should never be referred to the security committee! Members should not intervene in a suspicious situation, only report it to local law enforcement.
- Financial Committee: As a financial committee works to assist in regard to financial matters, they may find it necessary to create sub-committees. For example, finance, budget, investments, and reserves. Each of these committees takes on different responsibilities in regard to the financial aspect of operating a community.
- Landscape and Maintenance Committee: It’s important to community members to be proud of the neighborhood in which they live. Members of the landscape and maintenance community can assist in encouraging residents to maintain a look and feel of sustainability.
- Communications Committee: Keeping members of the community informed can feel like a daunting task for many board members. Utilizing a communications committee to assist in creating a newsletter will ease this burden.
- Architectural Control Committee (ACC): The duties of this committee are to help maintain the property values by keeping the structures and land operating in accordance with the established restrictions and community’s governing documents.
- Social Committee: Otherwise known as the ‘party planning committee’, this group can organize events for back-to-school events, community garage sales, pool parties, barbeques, and holiday gatherings, just to name a few. These people are considered the glue that holds communities together, and can really make a difference in unity and participation.
There are other committee options that you may find necessary for your respective area, but consider this list and coordinate with your community manager to see what may work the best for your homeowners. If there are specialized needs within your neighborhood, consult your CC&R’s to identify the options and possibilities.
Choosing the Right People
Committees are made up of volunteers within your community and may seem like difficult positions to fill. Getting to know your homeowners will be an important part in organizing your committees. Being aware of the talents and skills that exist within your very own neighborhood, you may be able to encourage someone to participate. Watch for opportunities with your neighbors and invite them to help out at your next meeting. Involving multiple homeowners can maximize opportunities by utilizing the valuable members of your community.
The best way to get people to volunteer is to simply ask, then follow up. Clearly communicate the needs of the association – let members know at your next board meeting, post it on your community social media page, and include it in your newsletter. Making community members aware and then being persistent will be essential. Continue recruiting volunteer committee members until you are able to successfully create the committees your community needs.
Every community member should feel needed and respected; they should understand the purpose of the committee and that their input is valued. Clear expectations should be established by the Board of Directors, and all reports from the committee should be taken seriously.
Organizational structure is necessary to establish value, so a committee chairperson should be determined. Characteristics such as leadership skills, the ability to engage and motivate others, and organizational skills should be taken into consideration when determining the committee chair. Other members of the committee should also demonstrate qualities of honesty, dependability, creativity, and flexibility. A committee secretary may also be necessary.
The committee chair must facilitate members getting to know one another and set meeting agendas ahead of time. A meeting agenda should be sent via email and/or posted on the HOA website. The chairperson also needs to preside over committee meetings and regularly attend monthly board meetings to be current on direction received by the board.
When there is a committee secretary, the minutes of all committee meetings should be documented and published within one week of the meeting. Keeping up-to-date minutes creates action items and ultimately keeps committee members devoted to their tasks. If there is not a secretary identified within the committee, the chairperson should appoint a committee member to complete the responsibility until a secretary is named.
It cannot be underestimated how important committees are to the success of your HOA! Committees allow specialization and an appropriate allotment of responsibilities to members who are skilled, educated, or trained to do them. It will help save board members time and make sure that things are done accurately.
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