How a Board Should Reach Out to New Members of the Community
One of the most important things in a community is to make newcomers feel welcome. Not only does it make the new owners feel like they belong, it’s an important first step in making sure that there aren’t problems down the road.
The best way to accomplish this is for the board to meet with the new residents in person as soon as possible. It can be as simple as a quick drop-by to exchange handshakes and put names to faces, or it can be as structured as a dinner invitation where the board members can host the new people and get acquainted with them. Any way is a good way, really, as long as there’s a certain amount of face time.
If the board is unavailable, a welcoming committee can be formed and volunteer residents can make the first introductions.
The next step is to find out how the new residents prefer to receive important information. Older people tend to prefer printed materials and younger folks tend to prefer electronic versions, but that’s not set in stone by any means. Knowing the residents’ preference can make it easier to get welcome packets to them, as well as keep them in the loop about new or recent developments.
This is also the perfect time to provide the new residents with lists of rights and responsibilities, so that expectations can be set right from the get-go. This is probably the single most effective way of staving off problems that can develop from a lack of information.
It’s also important to inform them that board meetings are open to the public, so that they’ll feel welcome attending them.
And finally, it’s not a bad idea to host a welcoming party for new residents. It doesn’t have to be anything spectacular, but it is a nice gesture. Whatever makes them feel most at home is what you should do!
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