HOA Board Meetings

How to Improve Your HOA Board Meetings with Technology

As a board member or a community manager, you hold regular HOA board meetings on a monthly and annual basis to discuss important community issues, make decisions, and communicate those decisions to residents. Successful board meetings are critical to smooth community operations, reducing costs, and increasing resident satisfaction. However, many board meetings are plagued by low attendance, an unorganized agenda, and overrun meetings. This can cause frustration for residents, board members, and managers alike. In this post, you will learn how to improve your board meetings by offloading some key tasks onto technology platforms.

Preparing for your Board Meeting

1. Schedule your Board meetings well in advance, and notify your residents.

Low resident attendance is one of the biggest challenges that board members and managers face.  It’s important to schedule board meetings well in advance and communicate with residents.  Notifying residents in a timely manner can help alleviate attendance woes by giving them enough time to fit the meeting into their busy schedules.*

Community management platforms can help to keep residents informed and increase attendance.  Through such a platform, you can create one-time or recurring events and notify residents on-demand.  Through Pilera’s event calendar feature, managers can create a custom Board meeting calendar, set recurring events, and notify the community by user role. Residents can log into their community portal and view a calendar with all the upcoming events.

2. Create an agenda and make it accessible to residents

Most states require that an agenda be created for the board meeting. The purpose of an agenda is to keep track of all the issues that need to be discussed or resolved in the board meeting. It generally includes topics such as maintenance projects, manager updates, disputes, and homeowner concerns.  In some states such as California, residents must receive a copy of the agenda along with the meeting notice 4 days in advance of the meeting.

A document management system can make it easy to store agendas and share them with residents. Make sure that through your document management system, you can create folders and subfolders to organize your documents. Your residents will then be able to find what they’re looking for quickly.  

In preparation for your meeting, you can also take advantage of a task management solution to keep track of all agenda items.  Through Pilera’s task management system, you can create tasks and assign them to other board members or managers. You can create a special category called “Agenda” and use the dashboard to filter just those items during the meeting.   

3. Survey your residents

Getting your residents involved and curbing apathy starts with letting them know their opinion matters.  A survey is a good way to collect resident feedback prior to the meeting so that you can stay on track during the meeting.  You can decide which ones to respond to via email and which require more discussion during the meeting. 

Some community management platforms provide automated communications and form features to automate this process.  Through Pilera’s integration with Formsite, you can create simple or more comprehensive forms.  Through our automated communications feature, you can distribute the form link electronically and track who clicked on it. Charts, searchable tables, PDFs, and Excel spreadsheets help you to capture the data you need to make decisions.

4. Holding an election during your annual meeting

During annual meetings, communities will usually hold elections for members to vote for the next year’s board positions. Many communities are now turning to online voting as a way to increase owner participation. Residents can vote from anywhere, even in the comfort of their own homes. In an online election, it’s important to prepare the online ballots well ahead of time. Make sure that candidate information and how they plan to operate and improve the community are clear on the ballot.

As many residents may worry about security and privacy of their data, it’s important to make sure that your community management platform has security protocols in place. Pilera’s integration with Formsite for voting provides a secure platform for residents to vote and management to store election results. It also allows one vote per unit so your elections remain fair and compliant. The results are also instant, eliminating the need for managers to manually count the votes. Leaders can get insights into what the community finds important with analytics. Results and feedback can be collected in multiple ways – searchable tables, visual graphics, PDFs, or Excel spreadsheets*.

*These are best practices aimed at helping you improve your board meetings.  These tips are not legal advice.  We highly recommend that you review the community’s governing documents and state laws on what your board meetings must adhere to.  Different states and governing documents will have varying requirements on meeting notices, agendas, voting, and meeting conduct.  

During your virtual Board Meeting

In the past year and a half, most communities have turned to online meetings like Zoom or Skype to conduct association business. With virtual board meetings, members can meet from anywhere, making it more convenient and a good way to increase homeowner attendance. Since virtual board meetings tend to attract a larger number of homeowners, it’s important to have a structure, timeline, and set expectations to be respectful of everyone’s time.

1. Do a test before going live

Before you go live with your Board meeting, you’ll want to set 30 minutes to an hour of time to test the meeting software with the Board. As you run more meetings and become more familiar with the software, you can dedicate less time to a test run. Doing a test run helps you identify any issues beforehand so that there aren’t any delays in the meeting. In your practice meeting, you will want to test the following:

  • Audio settings – Make sure that each speaker’s microphones are functional.
  • Screen share – Test that each person is able to share presentation slides and web browsers.
  • Questions – Enter in a question and check if other presenters can see it.
  • Chat – Enter in a chat message, and then test responding to the chat individually or publicly to everyone on the meeting.
  • Muting and unmuting individuals – It’s essential to make sure that muting options work to limit distractions during the meeting.
  • Document sharing – Upload a document and test to see if others can download it. Do a similar test with links.

2. Assign roles

Assigning specific roles during the meeting will help to run the meeting a lot smoother, especially when everyone understands what they are responsible for. Depending on the size of your community, you can combine these roles or keep them separate. Here are some roles you’ll want to assign:

  1. Speaker – This person will be responsible for driving the meeting. They will go through the meeting rules and agenda items.
  2. Meeting Coordinator – This person will assist the speaker by managing the chat, muting or unmuting members, and providing technical support to residents during the meeting.
  3. Task Manager-  The task manager will be responsible for noting down action items that come up during the meeting.  They will benefit from a task management system that allows them to create tasks, assign them, set a priority, and a due date.  Pilera’s task management system makes it easy to create and manage tasks on the fly from any device or location.
  4. Meeting Minutes Coordinator – This person will be responsible for taking meeting minutes.  The coordinator should use some type of word processor to type the notes during the meeting. As an example, Gmail provides a free word processing software called Google Docs.  

3. Dedicated time to each item on the agenda

No one wants to stay in long board meetings on a workday evening, so it’s important to keep meetings focused. Dedicating a set amount of time to each item on the agenda keeps everyone on track. You can dedicate an equal amount of time to each item or based on the complexity of the issue.  

4. Allow a set amount of time for homeowners to speak

If your governing documents allow for it, dedicate a set amount of time for homeowners to speak and give their opinion. Before the meeting, it’s important to set expectations on the amount of time residents have to speak about their issues or concerns. During the meeting, have your residents use the “raise hand” feature on the meeting software when they want to speak. Table any issues that homeowners bring up that require a longer discussion for the next board meetings.

After the Board Meeting

Now that you’ve run a successful board meeting, what’s next?  

1. Send meeting minutes

Meeting Minutes are important to document what occurred while reviewing items from the agenda.  It should be a short and concise summary of who called the meeting, discussions about the agenda items, and any items that were resolved.  Check out the Meeting Minutes template created by Hillcrest Management.

Once the meeting notes have been approved and recorded, store them in a secure online document management system.  Keep each month’s meeting minutes organized by creating folders and subfolders. Additionally, the document management system should allow you to notify residents when you’ve posted the new meeting minutes.     

2. Review action items list

Revisit all the action items that your team took note of during the Board Meeting and transition it to a task management system if you haven’t already done so.  Your task management system should allow you to organize, prioritize, and track items efficiently.  Be sure to assign each task to another board member or manager, prioritize it, and set a due date for completion.  That way everyone knows who is responsible for what tasks and nothing slips through the cracks. Through Pilera’s task management system, you can keep everyone informed by posting an update, changing the status, and e-notifying boards or managers.

3. Collect post-meeting feedback from residents

Even if you’ve had a successful board meeting, there are always things that you can improve for future meetings.  Collecting feedback from residents on how the last board meeting went can give you insights on what was done well and what needs improvement.  Create a short survey, email the residents, or encourage them to log into their community portal to complete the survey.

Improve your Board Meetings with technology

With the advancements of technology, Board members and community managers can offload many key, cumbersome tasks onto software. It empowers you to handle every aspect of the Board meeting to ensure it’s productive for everyone:

  1. Prepare for a board meeting by scheduling meetings, sending event notices, conducting surveys, and sharing agenda documents via a community management solution.
  2. Run a smooth meeting with virtual meeting platforms like Zoom or Skype and keep track of action items in a task management solution.
  3. Keep your team on track with action items by prioritizing them and providing updates in a task management system.

Pilera’s community management solution enables board members and managers to streamline various aspects of a board meeting with automated communications, events, document sharing, surveys, and task management. To learn more about how Pilera can work for you, request a personalized demo.