It is the start of a new year, a time when resolutions are fresh in the mind and we, as people, tell ourselves that we are going to put forth an honest effort to be good, and do good (at least for the next few weeks, anyway).  If you are a member of your community’s homeowners association, this could be an excellent time to encourage your fellow community members to ride that wave of optimism and become more involved with the HOA.  

Get the Word Out

One very simple, yet very important reason why many community members do not get involved with their HOA, is that they simply don’t know how, or what involvement looks like.  For many, the only knowledge that they have of the HOA are the horror stories, so abundant on the internet, of overreaching, megalomaniac associations forbidding the well-meaning homeowner from living their best suburban life.  With the increase in the number of planned communities being built recent years, and so many new families and individuals moving into these communities, it is entirely possible that these new residents have never had any interaction with the HOA and have no clue as to its purpose, or what it can do (and does) for the community, beyond these moden suburban legends (like what we did there?).

Information and communication are the keys to success here.  Provide your community with an abundance of information.  Use social media and newsletters to inform everyone of the specific goals of the association, when meetings will be held, what special events are being planned, who the elected members are, etc.  Using these same avenues, encourage everyone to come out and take an active role by participating in community events and association meetings.  Simply stated, “you don’t know what you don’t know.”  Clearly communicate, to all members of your community, exactly what your association is and exactly how they can get involved.  This simple education will almost certainly generate more involvement.    

Bring the Fun

If you want community members to feel more connected to each other and to their community, provide them with opportunities to do so.  Allowing residents the chance to interact with each other, as well as elected members of the HOA is a perfect way to show the importance and excitement of getting involved and connected.    

Encourage community members to join committees that plan events such as these, so that they are involved, and gain a sense of ownership of the great things that can and are happening in their community.  An additional benefit to this approach, is that the events are tailored to your specific community, since no one has a better understanding of what your community wants and needs than those who are a part of it.  

Recognize

The act of saying, “Thank you,” is incredibly simple.  So simple, in fact, that we often forget to do it.  While it is no radical idea, the mere act of showing sincere gratitude is one of the most effective ways to encourage continued involvement of members and is, in fact, one of the best ways to be a good human (something that we could all probably work a little harder at, if we're being honest with ourselves).  

Show your appreciation often, and in various ways.  If your community utilizes social media, be sure to mention the achievements of your committees, and thank all those who volunteer and help out at events, planning, etc.  Take a few moments at meetings to personally thank individuals and teams that are working to make the community better, in whatever way they are.  Be sure that your acknowledgements are frequent, timely, but most of all, sinere.