After you spend hours preparing an agenda and practicing what to say, it’s a downer when none of your residents show up to the annual HOA meeting. It’s a nightmare that most homeowners associations deal with, but how can yours stand out from the crowd?Take a few of IKO Community Management’s tips to increase attendance:
Provide food: Unfortunately, the most reasonable time to hold an HOA meeting is between the end of the workday and bedtime, which means fighting peak dinner hours for most families. While the average meeting shouldn’t be more than an hour (depending on the agenda), it’s a good idea to provide food. This will entice people to attend and ease any tension from missing dinner.
IKO Tip: While you may be tempted to order a few large pizzas or meat and cheese platters, it’s wise to take your neighbors’ food allergies into consideration. At the bottom of your RSVP email, ask residents to contact you if they have any food concerns. They will greatly appreciate you going the extra mile.
Hold a raffle: If it’s within your HOA’s Covenants, Conditions & Restrictions (CC&Rs), offer one lucky attendee an award. It could be the payment of HOA dues for one month or a gift card to a local restaurant, provided by the generosity of a resident. This will undoubtedly give people a reason to show up.
Invite a speaker: Seeing the same friendly faces every month can get a bit repetitive, so invite a local speaker to keep the agenda interesting. Consider asking an insurance agent to discuss the importance of renters and homeowners insurance, loss assessment coverage, and more.
You could also invite a city or county official to your HOA meeting. He or she can update the community on projects, budgets, planned improvements, and other significant matters.
Advertise the meeting: No one will attend your event if they don’t know about it. Use e-newsletters and social media to link to the secretary’s agendas and meeting minutes for those who were unable to attend or would like a review. This keeps everyone up-to-date on the latest budget adjustments, new neighbor introductions, and so on.
IKO Tip: Social media and e-mail are also great ways to market open positions. For example, the safety committee needs volunteer crossing guards during back to school, the community offers paid lifeguard positions during pool season, or the HOA is offering board elections.
Offer free childcare: Many homeowners can’t make HOA meetings because they can’t find or afford a babysitter. Hire a licensed babysitter in your community, or consider asking parents to volunteer for and rotate the position each month. This will eliminate any worry of keeping kids at home, so you get focused attendees.
Use creative outlets: Instead of speaking the entire time, utilize video, music, slideshows, or a picture gallery to go over the most important points. The creative visuals will keep your attendees engaged.
Keep it short or break it up: Instead of having one big annual meeting, schedule multiple meetings throughout the year to ensure a shorter set of talking points -- and a longer lasting attention span from your audience. No one likes information overload, so this is the perfect tactic to keep homeowners interested.
Whether you choose to use healthy snacks and free childcare or an artsy slideshow and social media, these tactics are sure to boost engagement and attendance in your community’s HOA.
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