Raise a Glass to the Community Association Board

Posted by Andrea Drennen, CMCA on April 9, 2014


President Obama has declared it to be National Volunteer Week, a time when we acknowledge and recognize the efforts of those who give their time to help others.

One group of volunteers certainly worthy of recognition that Community Association Management Professionals work particularly closely with are Association Board Members.

"Through countless acts of kindness, generosity, and service, Americans recognize that we are all bound together -- that we move this country forward by giving of ourselves to others and caring for those around us. Every day, Americans carry forward the tradition of service embedded in our character as a people."
 - President Barack Obama

It's a hard knock life

For an unpaid voluntary position, Association Board Members have an awful lot of expectations on their shoulders right out of the gate. They are expected to:

  1. Represent the best interests of the community
  2. Protect the assets and value of the community
  3. Preserve the quality of life in the community
  4. Encourage social connections between residents (to build a community, not just a collection of houses)
  5. Improve social and civic well-being for community members

Those are some very lofty expectations, which are not always clearly defined (my idea of preserving quality of life and yours might be VERY different!) To make matters worse, hoa and condo board members are frequently vilified by the very people they represent for attempting to fulfill the very expectations under which they were elected.

Despite these challenges, over 2 million homeowners have stepped up and have been elected to serve as volunteer board members. That is a lot of very brave, noble people!

Raise a glass

Now is a great time for every community management professional, whether a property manager, accountant, vendor, or something else, to take a few minutes to think about the hard work and dedication that every volunteer board member puts into their job, and raise a toast.

Here’s to you Mr. and Mrs. Volunteer Association Board Member.
Thank you for your dedicated hard work to serve your community. Thank you from the silent and the not so silent homeowners that you serve, and thank you from the community managers, accountants, attorneys, and vendors you work with to make your community beautiful, healthy, and financially stable. We salute you!

And now a message to management companies

If you are looking for ways to recognize the volunteers in your community associations, there are a number of great ideas around the Internet.

Here is a small sampling of some everyday things you can do to recognize community volunteers:

  • Give positive verbal encouragement, and thank them frequently.
  • Publicly recognize the accomplishments of the board in community newsletters or on your community website.
  • Write an article that highlights board members in community newsletters and on your management company newsletter/website. Giving them an opportunity to share their stories will serve the dual purpose of reaffirming their commitment, as well as inspiring others.
  • Provide free educational resources to help them better understand their positions and make it easier for them to carry out their job.
  • Celebrate anniversaries of their time volunteering.
  • Bring refreshments when you know a meeting is going to run long.
  • Create an award to recognize outstanding service.
  • Feature board members in a testimonial video (this is also a great marketing resource!)

CAI has dubbed the entire month of April “Community Association Leader Appreciation Month”, so you are not too late if you missed it this week! You have the rest of the month to let board members and other community volunteers know you care!

How do you say thank you?

If you've got a way you've recognized or encouraged volunteers that's not on the list above, please share it below in the comments!


 Practical Advice from CAM Professionals