5 Ways to Build a Sense of Community in Your HOA or Condo
Living in an association comes with many perks, but do you know why residents love it? According to Community Association Institute (CAI), residents enjoy the sense of community and involvement that comes from a managed community. With a little help, a well-run management company can increase community engagement and happiness, creating a culture of trust and loyalty within the community. In this blog post, we’ll share some important tips to help your association get started.
1. Build company and community culture
In any association, culture is influenced by the demographic and psychographic make-up of the community members and association leaders. Demographics deals with the characteristics of your community such as generational groups/age, family composition, and income. Psychographic characteristics are those that relate to the values, interests, lifestyle, and preferences of the community members. Once you understand your community’s characteristics better, you can build a culture that speaks to them, integrate it with community operations, effectively train and motivate employees, and communicate the values and mission to board members, current residents, and potential new residents.
2. Help your residents adjust to the new environment
Moving to a new community can cause both excitement and stress for residents and it takes time for them to adjust. If the homeowner is joining an association for the first time, they may not be too familiar with what an association’s all about. Address any concerns or questions they may have. Once the resident has moved in, it’s important to make them feel welcome. Send them information such as association bylaws, contact information, community maps, utility information, facilities such as pool and clubhouse open hours/house rules, and other local resources to help them settle in.
3. Encourage 2-way communication
Let your residents know that you’re there for them when they have questions or need help. Provide them with alternate methods to contact association leaders, board members, or management. As the community grows and evolves, you’ll find there’s room for improving operations. Touch base with your residents regularly to understand what the association leaders or management can do a better job at.
4. Inform residents of community ongoings
The most important way to involve residents in your community is to effectively inform them of events or other ongoings. Stay in touch with them often to let them know of community parties, board member meetings, and construction or maintenance jobs that may impact access to areas.
5. Leverage Technology (social media, website, web portal, email)
Technology has helped individuals stay up to date with the latest news and increase productivity. Similarly, it’s a great way to share information with your community, empower them, and encourage more participation. When evaluating technology for your association, it’s critical to be aware of what is permitted and what restrictions are stated in the association’s governing documents and gain input from residents and board members. Let’s go over some key technology tools to consider:
- Web Portals are the most inclusive pieces of technology that can be implemented for associations because of the variety of information that can be shared and actions that can be taken by both residents and association management. Generally in web portals, residents can have access to community contact information, request maintenance services, receive important messages from management, pay bills, view upcoming events, and update their own profiles.
- Community-based websites are also a great way to keep your residents informed, as well as serve as an external marketing tool and public relations tool for prospective residents. Some website services will provide options to create both public and private pages. Private pages can include content such as financials and association by-laws that are restricted to residents or board members only.
- Social media is an increasingly popular, yet controversial way to keep your residents in the loop in real time and strengthen relations. However, it’s important to create a strategy for how social media will be utilized and what platforms you will use. Additionally, there are concerns with using social media. Anyone can post content, and managing online reputation as well as responses can be challenging.
Positive Experiences Matter
Creating a positive resident experience is one of the most important goals that community associations strive for. Positive resident experiences lead to higher retention – happy communities won’t leave the management company that is contributing to their happiness. Similarly, happier residents are more likely to reside in the community for a long period of time. Residents that are happy and take an active role in their community, combined with caring and attentive management and board members, make for a more appealing community to prospective residents.
Important Note for Florida Condominium Associations
Chapter 718: By July 1, 2018, associations that manage more than 150 units will be required by law to implement a website or web portal. The website or web portal must be secured behind a login and provide login credentials to residents. Managers must post association bylaws and alterations to the bylaws, the association’s articles of incorporation, contracts, annual budgets including alterations, financial reports, and all board meeting documents. Learn more about how Pilera can help.
Updated 5/8/2018: The Florida condominium law has been postponed from July 1, 2018, to January 1, 2019.
Download Free Ebook: Enhancing Resident Experience
Pilera Software is a portfolio management software for HOA’s, condominium associations, co-ops, and multi-family rentals. Our resident portal can help management streamline operations and increase resident satisfaction with communications, online payment, maintenance requests, and events. Contact us for more information or if you’d like to schedule a demo to see these features live in action.