Friday, October 30, 2009

Recruiting HOA Board Members: How to Succeed

One of the most difficult parts about community association operations is how to groom leadership for the future. While my friends at and and some of their followers may believe that directors all need to be thrown out and that most boards are "Condo Commandos" the vast majority of directyors I jhave dealt with in almist 30 years(!) of this practice would gladly step aside if someone half as dedciated and hard working as they are would volunteer.

From a Political Science perspective, I cna see how Communism failed, partly because the party could never afford to groom leadeers, as the leaders would then be powerful enopugh to replace one set of tyrants with another, commmunity associations are more like local governments in New hamoshire, where citizen initiatives and citizen inout are apramount.

Of course there is the element of complexity that has been introduced by our friends in the Legislature over the past 10+ years, as well as the DBPR, and the notion of th e"carefree lifestyle" that has always sold people on Florida, when it comes right down to it, it seems that the more dedicated job the directors do and the more well run the community is, the less likely it is that others will take their turn at the helm. Read on for how one community did it....

This from our friends at

For a new article we asked board members from around the country to share their tips on recruiting good HOA board members. This week's tip is from Karla Jo Helms, a board member at Sunset Point Town Homes in Clearwater, Fla.

She told us, "I get people to volunteer by picking the happiest, most productive people I know--because in my observation, happier, busier people get things done and complain the least-- and elicit their help by pushing their "responsibility buttons."
In other words, most people want to help, so asking them to help is pretty easy.

"But I also tell them that one thing to think about is that if they don't help, someone else will step up to do the job in a
way that could make their lives hell. It's happened. You know the people who have nothing better to do than to sit on their porch or by their window and document every tiny infraction, making the neighborhood a living hell. That usually does the trick.

"Another key factor is the property manager. We hire a real stickler for the law and any rules that could get us in trouble with state or federal agencies if not followed. I like that. It's his job to make sure rules are followed, handle most everything for the board, keep us in line, and let us know the law. That's a big factor in getting volunteers.

"If you don't have a property manager, the board's workload is much greater, and your likelihood of getting and keeping
volunteers will be much lower. We pay $500 per month for ours, but he saves us soooo much money every year with insurance negotiations, hiring workers, handling all our potential liability issues, and so on. And I don't get homeowners coming to my door to tell me anything. It all goes to the property manager."

Karla Jo concluded, "It didn't used to be this easy for us. The recipe for us has been having great volunteers who get things done, reserves in the bank, and making sure the laws and rules are followed. It's a pretty happy neighborhood now."

Find out what four more board members and association experts had to say about their experience. Read our new article:

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