The Smart HOA Holiday Planning Guide
Holidays are a fun way to bring people together, and luckily, they happen year-round. Celebrating holidays in your HOA is a great opportunity to encourage a sense of community among homeowners. Join us below for a guide to navigating holiday planning in your community!
Building the relationship between the HOA and homeowners through community events is important. Hosting consistent, semi-frequent events allows homeowners to not only foster connections with one another but also with the board and association as a whole.
A community holiday calendar is a useful tool that will aide you in incorporating holiday events year-round. One way to set up the community holiday calendar is to schedule quarterly seasonal events.
Memorial Day, Fourth of July, and Labor Day all represent the summer season, so fun outdoor events could be held for each day, or even one big event could be planned to celebrate all three days at once. Celebrating the summer holidays in the HOA, and especially the season as a whole, is a fun way for the community to embrace the season and enjoy some sun together. Homeowners could contribute to a potluck or beat the heat with a pool party.
The fall season is home to two common holidays: Halloween and Thanksgiving. These holidays are characterized by food, traditions, and decorations! Some great ways to celebrate the fall season include a community trunk-or-treat event or even a fall festival. A back-to-school celebration is another great way to kick off the fall season.
While most people think of Christmas as the winter holiday, winter also includes New Year’s Day and Valentine’s Day. Since all three of these holidays are so different, individual events could be planned for each one, such as an ugly sweater party, New Year’s Eve party, and card or candy exchange, respectively. However, the season could be celebrated as a whole with a fun general winter party.
The spring season includes St. Patrick’s Day and Easter. One way to celebrate this season is with an HOA spring festival to enjoy the return of warmer weather and blooming flowers. Alternatively, a treasure or scavenger hunt, or even an outdoor film screening, are some other opportunities to bring the community together to observe the spring season.
Steps for Putting on a Show-Stopping Event
Now that you have some event ideas for the holidays, what next?
Plan, plan, plan!
The first step is to plan out the budget and schedule for these events. A great way to expedite this process, and get homeowners involved, is to create a committee designated to specific events or events in general, such as a social or events committee.
Additionally, it’s vital to check the governing documents to see if social events can be funded by the HOA. It’s also important to be transparent with funds, allowing homeowners to know how their money is being used and, in turn, they won’t feel deceived.
The committee should also decide on the theme, location, and when the events will be held. A good rule of thumb is to opt for convenient times and locations, such as weeknights or weekend days, as well as a place within or near the community, so that the maximum number of homeowners can attend.
Grab Some Volunteers
Soliciting volunteers to help with the event will not only make the preparation for the event easier, but it will also get homeowners excited about the event and getting involved in the association in general. Providing volunteer opportunities, in addition to committees, such as venue preparation, contest judging, and clean-up efforts, allows homeowners to feel like a valued part of the community.
Communicate and Promote!
It’s important to get the word out about the event by advertising via eblast, flyers or postings around the community, social media channels, the association’s website, and any other avenues to communicate with homeowners. Furthermore, it’s crucial to notify homeowners more than once with multiple and consistent reminders and also provide homeowners several ways to access event information.
Review and Request Feedback
Finally, after the event is done, it can be helpful to review what went well and what didn’t in addition to asking for homeowner feedback. Taking into consideration homeowners’ opinions via survey is a great way to improve upcoming events and encourage homeowners to turn out again in the future.
Other Fun Community Holiday Activities
Although events and parties can be fun, they can also be costly. Additionally, your community may be looking to boost community morale beyond the events you already have. Either way, community activities that aren’t traditional “events” are another great way to bring the community together for holidays at a fraction of the cost.
- Decorate the community for any season with decorations, lights, flags, etc.
- Sponsor yard of the month competitions or holiday decoration contests that allow homeowners to enhance the aesthetics of the community from their own home.
- Host community-wide garage sales throughout the year, generally for the spring, summer, or fall seasons.
- Collect donations through food or supplies drives near holidays.
- Plan out parade routes for homeowners to enjoy the holidays in their own streets.
Tips and Tricks to Remember
Stay Inclusive: While some holidays are religious-based, the events planned around those times don’t have to be so that everyone can feel welcome to participate. Opting for seasonal events rather than holiday-based is an easy practice in inclusivity.
Increase Attendance: Including incentives, such as prizes and raffles, is a great way to encourage homeowner engagement. Another way to increase homeowner attendance is to offer refreshments or schedule food trucks.
To further increase homeowner participation within the community, try aligning meeting dates with community events to encourage homeowners to get involved in the HOA for fun and functionality.
Avoid BYOB: Thinking about offering alcohol? Think again. There’s a lot of liability surrounding serving alcohol, and generally, the risks outweigh the benefits. Check out our article on serving alcohol here.
Utilize Your Resources: It’s important to rely on your management company’s expertise, if you have one. They’re there to help! Not only do they know about daily HOA operations, but also community events.
Above all, it’s important to be mindful and welcoming of all homeowners in your community. It’s not always possible to make everyone happy, but by finding common ground in the community, you can create an environment that’s encouraging for everyone and plan events that interest most homeowners.
If you’re looking for more information on how to plan community events or increase homeowner engagement, browse through our other articles on the Boardline Blog! Subscribe today for more useful HOA information.
Also, check out our Knowledge Base for answers to any other HOA questions you may have.