Having lived in a high-rise condo for over 9 years now and being active as a committee and board member over the years, I can relate to the importance of communication within a community.
For a couple of years our board would conduct quarterly forums. The forums were basically open meetings where the board of directors would update the community on various issues and answer questions presented by homeowners. They were usually well attended and folks seemed to find the information informative and appreciated the openness of our board of directors.
Another communication tool the board implemented was a professionally published newsletter. The newsletter was designed, written and produced by the board. Published articles were relative to community issues and provided another method to keep a homeowner informed. The newsletter was published on a consistent annual schedule and was a well received by the homeowners.
Board members were easily accessible via our community website. A simple click on one “Email the Board” button and a homeowner’s message would automatically be delivered to each board member’s inbox. In order to ensure a proper response was provided the board appointed one member to act as the communications director. This ensured that the homeowner would not receive multiple responses to a question and provided the board a method of ensuring the response was agreeable to all members and the proper message/answer was provided to the homeowner.
As board members change and priorities refocus, a board should never forget to provide open communication avenues to the homeowners.
Community Associations Institute publishes a best practice guide which includes ideas for keeping a community “in the know”. A few suggestions include:
Maintain a community website
Post board meeting agendas several days prior to the meeting
Post board and committee meeting minutes in a timely manner
Implement a board response system for homeowner questions
Publish a newsletter and distribute it on a regular schedule
Publish a community or resident handbook
Survey the community for feedback on important issues
Adopt a Mission Statement for the community
Email community updates to the homeowners
Conduct quarterly or semi-annual forums
Where I live, board participants have changed and priorities have refocused. In my opinion, our board communicates less to the community than in previous years. However, I do not hear many complaints about less communication so maybe our homeowners have become more apathetic or disengaged from issues affecting my community. It is also possible that a majority perceive the current level of communication as acceptable. They may not have lived in the building when quarterly forums were scheduled and a newsletter was published. To those, the current methods of community communications are the baseline. It is all in one’s perception and level of expectation.
If you live in a high-rise condo building, I would be curious to hear of how your board communicates to you.
Do you have a community website? If so, what kind of data is available there?
Does your community publish a newsletter?
What methods of community communications have you experienced that you would recommend to others?