10 Tools a Community Association Can Use to Communicate to Their Owners

by admin on March 4, 2010

in Board of Directors, Management, Meetings, Residents


A common problem associated with community association living is poor or inconsistent communications with their members and residents.  Lack of communication leads to misunderstandings as any official business is filtered, is left for interpretation and is usually wrong as it is spread throughout the community.  The following are some ideas for effective communications from the Board of Directors and management to the owners and residents: 

  1. All correspondence should be acknowledged within a reasonable period of time.  A reply to the letter should be provided to the sender, even if the problem, inquiry or situation cannot be resolved.  The fact that the letter is being acknowledged and that someone is concerned enough about this situation to respond, is the proper thing to do.  
  2. If the association has an email address, this should be advertised in all official correspondence and used as another tool for the residents to be able to communicate with the association.  Have an automatic response reply set up that acknowledges receipt of the email.  The email should be checked every business day and due to the immediacy of the tool, requires a quicker response time to be performed.
  3. The association should have an official area or additional areas on the site, for all notices and announcements to be posted.  This should be an area that most people go to on a daily basis, such as the pool area or the mailboxes.  Whenever, the association is posting or mailing a meeting notice, it is suggested that the agenda be posted with it as this will show all important matters to be addressed at the meeting.
  4. Minutes of meetings are vitally important to the membership, as it is an official record of the proceedings that have taken place, which will ultimately affect the membership.  Minutes should be posted as soon as possible, and if at all possible placed in the association’s newsletter and mailed to the membership.  Post immediately on the association website.  Where I live I receive an email “Draft” of the minutes, usually within a few days of the meeting and I really appreciate it. 
  5. Newsletters are a tremendous way for the association to communicate with their owners and tenant residents.  A newsletter helps to inform the readers of events, problems, and accomplishments of the association.   In addition, newsletters help to reinforce and keep the membership acquainted with the documents, rules and regulations.  To save paper, time and money, send as many out by email and also post on the association’s website.
  6. The association should always announce any new resolutions and any new rules that are promulgated by the Board of Directors.  The announcement should be posted at the appropriate area on site, mailed to the membership, emailed when possible, posted on the association’s website and printed in the newsletter as back-up to the event.  If the resolution or the rules will affect any resident tenants, they should also be mailed this as well.  It should never be assumed that a landlord will pass this information on to their tenants.
  7. The association’s telephone should have a messaging feature, whereby the message can be easily changed to provide callers with vital information concerning the association.  This could be of the nature of pool closings, meeting times and dates or major repairs/improvements that will affect the membership.  In many instances, the message may be just the information that the caller is inquiring about.  There should someone in charge of changing the message as the events warrant it.  New telephone systems are being developed that automatically dials and provides messaging on a mass basis.  This is ideal for emergency situations, meeting reminders and community events. 
  8. An association website is the ultimate community association communication tool.  A website can provide owners, residents and prospective buyers in a community association, with an active (and interactive) way to communicate 24 hours a day.  The website can have the documents and rules on it, forms for architectural approvals, work orders, pay assessments online, meeting notices, minutes, announcements and reminders.  The site should be easy to read and navigate.  Prospective buyers can gain a great deal of knowledge about that community by reading the community association’s website.  Also, this is an excellent tool to promote and market your community association in a slow real estate market.  Over the years, we’ve seen many websites started, but they are not maintained and kept up-to-date. Yes, it takes time and a volunteer committed keeping the site fresh and informative. 
  9. Though it is limited in size and scope, compared to a website, associations should also consider having a separate community channel, through their cable TV that will help to provide association news, announcements and meeting information 24 hours a day for the residents only. 
  10. In the future, we will see communications to owners and residents through community forums, twitter, facebook, mass email, texts, podcasts, wikis and board/member meetings on a video feed.  These tools are now all available to us and they are being used more and more by other associations throughout the country.  Owners will demand the variety of messaging and communicating and Board of Directors will be wise to avail themselves of this technology in order to keep their residents up-to-date, engaged in the affairs of the community, and informed to the point whereby there is factual information disseminated to the owners, rather than rumors and misinformation. 

Overall, effective communications helps community associations to operate more cohesively, harmoniously, and helps to foster a sense of openness within the community from the Board of Directors to the membership.

{ 1 trackback }

Tweets that mention Keeping Community Association Owners Happy With Good Communication -- Topsy.com
March 27, 2010 at 2:23 am

Comments on this entry are closed.