If you volunteer for a homeowner’s association (HOA) or condo owner’s association (COA) in Texas communities, you know how challenging it can be to make your board’s voice heard by residents. A stronger voice means a more effective board. Your board’s effectiveness is the foundation for maintaining a community that is accountable, transparent, and thriving.

To help ensure your board’s voice is clearly heard in your community, we've compiled a list of 5 ways to boost your association’s board effectiveness. Whether you're struggling with communication, decision-making, or anything in between, these tips can help bring your board closer together and assure residents that their voices are being heard, too.

Step 1: Involve residents in your board’s decision-making process.  Be creative.

To achieve enduring board effectiveness, it's essential to stay at least one step ahead of the community's needs. A proactive approach will ensure peace of mind for your residents and assure them they’re in good hands. Start by thinking of where your community will be in one, two, or even five years. Will there be more families moving in? Will there be an increase in elderly residents? Asking questions like these is important for all HOA and COA boards in Texas communities.

Once you've identified your community's needs, it's critical to involve your residents in the decision-making process. Host a community meeting and present your ideas, allowing for feedback and suggestions. This approach will not only make your residents feel valued, but it also ensures that their needs are being met. Listen closely to feedback and concerns, and then make informed decisions that benefit the broader population.

Involving your residents in decision-making doesn't have to be limited to community meetings either. Your board can also create a committee of residents whose sole purpose is to represent the community and provide suggestions. This group can meet with the board regularly to discuss current projects or proposed initiatives, providing valuable input.

By taking this approach, you are creating a culture of collaboration and community involvement. Your community will be appreciative of the opportunity to contribute and have their voices heard. Especially in Texas communities, residents appreciate a united sense of pride and ownership of their homes.

Step 2: Get in front of potential problems.

As a board member, you carry the responsibility of making decisions that are in the best interest of your whole community. Board effectiveness requires members to consider the unique needs and perspectives of each homeowner, nurture relationships, and create a thriving neighborhood.

For example, let's say you've noticed a lack of safe outdoor spaces for kids to play in your community. Adding a playground is a great solution that will benefit not only the children and families, but also the wider community at large. This kind of investment in such infrastructure, especially in Texas communities, can lead to stronger relationships, enhanced property values, and an enriched homeowner experience.

Step 3: Maximize transparency.

Transparency is crucial for improving board effectiveness. This is particularly important when it comes to making decisions around the HOA or COA’s fees in Texas communities. As a board, communicate with residents on multiple platforms (email, newsletter, in-person meetings, etc.) and explain exactly where their dues go.
For example, you may explain that the fees will be used to fund security measures such as increased patrols or the installation of surveillance cameras. You may also emphasize the ways in which these measures will help keep the community safe and give residents peace of mind.

In addition, you may point out that investing in the property means enhanced property values, making it a beautiful, safe, and desirable area. This, in turn, can help attract new homeowners to Texas communities, leading to a positive cycle of growth and development.

By being transparent and communicative, you open the conversation up to resident engagement. In order to ensure your board’s voice is heard, it’s important to listen to community members’ voices in return.

Step 4: Ask yourself, "Is my priority our priority?"

One of the top mistakes board members make is competing with each other’s ideas. It's easy to get caught up in one priority or project but remind yourself to recognize that everyone on the board has their own ideas and visions for the community. Board effectiveness means identifying the association's top priorities while keeping the bigger picture in mind.

For example, one board member might feel that adding a hiking trail is the top priority, while another board member might feel the playground (using the earlier example) is more important. Remember, look at the long-term results, and support each other's efforts toward achieving the collective goal of making the community a better place. This means that if building a new park or playground is necessary for the greater good, it's important to support those efforts, even if it may not be your personal top priority.

Also, communicate your ideas clearly with the board and the community, ensuring that everyone is on the same page. This can be achieved by outlining objectives, timelines, and budgets for each project. Having open and transparent communication channels ensures that everyone is working towards the same goals, which is essential for boosting board effectiveness in Texas communities.

Step 5: Celebrate the “wins.” Let community members know they’ve helped make a difference.

Once you've identified a top priority, such as building that new playground we mentioned earlier, it's time to collaborate and make it happen. This starts by working with your fellow board members to find a vendor who understands your community’s unique needs and operates on a strict timeline. Don't settle for just any vendor - make sure they prioritize the needs of your residents first and foremost. By doing so, you ensure that the result is a playground that can be enjoyed by all homeowners.

But it doesn't stop there. Maintaining a strong sense of camaraderie within your community is key to ensuring board effectiveness that lasts. Hosting a grand opening for your new playground is a fantastic way to bring everyone together and celebrate the hard work that went into making it a reality.

Of course, being an HOA board member is no small task. However, with the support of a trusted property management company, Texas communities can count on the expertise and resources your association needs to succeed.

Don't hesitate to reach out for help – FirstService Residential Texas is here to support you every step of the way. To schedule a no-strings-attached conversation about ways your board can be more effective, contact us today. We’ll be in touch soon.

Monday June 19, 2023