Did you hear? Your association is probably going to raise your assessment fees next year! Yeah, Mark in Accounting told me they’re going to get a Community Capybara that will be your new HOA mascot. His name will be Potato.
Obviously, I’m kidding (god, I hope I’m kidding. For any associations out there about to get a new Capybara mascot named Potato, don’t!), but I’m sure this is at least a little similar to a rumor you hear right around this time of year, EVERY year. Someone overheard a board member, who then told their neighbor, who told their neighbor, who told you that the monthly dues were going to increase because of [insert ridiculous reason here]. Unless, of course, you show up and raise a bunch of hell at the Annual General Meeting. (Which reminds me, don't forget to go raise hell at the polls next week and vote! Red or blue, just represent!)
It's a tactic some politicians have used for decades, centuries, maybe: tricking your constituency into showing up to vote by making sure they’re riled up enough to make their opinions known. Sneaky, right?
There’s a better way. And the best part, using this better method will actually put you in compliance with the new laws hitting Florida Jan. 1, 2019.
Getting Engaged (No Need to Put a Ring On It)
Keeping your community engaged is the first step in ensuring high voter turnout--that's basic political know-how. But how do you do that?
When I was a Resident Assistant (aka the baby version of a CAM), a go-to engagement tool for getting college kids together in the same room for a mandatory meeting was free pizza. You can never go wrong with free food, regardless of age or walk of life. But that can become a big-time budget item if you've got a large enough community. So how do you entice your homeowners without resorting to scare tactics or irresponsible amounts of pizza?
Keep them informed and feeling in charge.
Plan It Out
Starting Jan. 1, 2019, Condo and HOA websites will be required to inform their communities of the Annual General Meeting time and date 14 days in advance either on the home page or under a section titled "Notices."
This is super specific, and requires a lot of forethought. That's both a blessing and a curse.
Think about the last time you got invited to a party that you didn't really want to go to, but knew you had to make an appearance at (great aunt Suzie's 64th birthday party, maybe). It was probably a lot harder to make excuses to skip out if the date was set two weeks in advance, right? That's plenty of time to find a sitter, plan your outfit, pick up a gift, and dinner is already handled probably.
It's the same for your homeowners. It's much easier to get them to engage with their community when they know when to show up to events. But a flyer in the community rec area often goes unnoticed, and how can you be sure anyone checks the website homepage? Getting the word out there is difficult, but certainly not impossible, especially if you have the right tools at your disposal.
Enter Owner Access. Homeowners are always looking for their basic information--this much we know. Giving them 24/7 access to this information with Owner Access TOPS [ONE] does more than just give them access, it gives you a direct channel to communicate with them, meaning you can post your AGM notification directly to their Owner Access and know that they'll see it. Meaning your chances of seeing them at the meeting are exponentially higher.
Now it's important to remember that posting an AGM notice to your homeowners' Owner Access portals will NOT be sufficient in keeping in accordance with the new laws in the state of Florida, but the more coverage you have (like a flyer in the rec center, and a notice on your website, and the Owner Access portal) the more likely homeowners are to remember the date and make an appearance.
Read about how TOPS [ONE]'s killer features (like Owner Access) helped streamline a real management company's day-to-day tasks in our latest case study about James Long's J&L Management by clicking the graphic below.