Committees are an untapped gold mine available to a homeowner association board. Besides benefitting the board by spreading the work around, committees are an excellent training ground for future board members. Members that are reluctant to step up to a board position often feel right at home on a committee with limited or focused responsibilities.
Committees come in all shapes, sizes and functions and may be temporary or long term, as the need dictates. They are only limited by the board’s imagination. A committee can assume a variety of roles, such as:
Research & Development. Complex tasks can be assigned to a special committee which can research the task and advise various courses of action to the board. This includes large renovation projects, proposed amendments to the governing documents and local zoning or crime issues.
Task Execution. Committees like Rules Enforcement and Architectural Restriction can hand out citations and review appeals.
Oversight. Committees like Landscape/Grounds and Pool oversee the contractor’s performance and help maintain a high quality of service.
Cost Control. The Maintenance Committee can prescreen requests to ensure they are indeed the HOA’s responsibility and, if so, prioritize and group them for better cost efficiency. The Budget Committee studies past costs to better anticipate future expenses.
Socialization. An often overlooked function is planning social events to help neighbors meet neighbors. The events don’t necessarily need to be party oriented. The Annual Meeting can become the Social Event of the Year with food and beverages. Spring Planting Parties don’t have to be all work. Reward the volunteers with catered food, beverages and T-shirts. The Social Committee can help build real community and lasting friendships.
Security. Turn that nosey member into the Neighborhood Watch Chair who can monitor suspicious activity or recommend better security techniques.
To facilitate committees, the board should provide the proper resources. Some need funding but most just need clear marching orders. The board should never abrogate its final authority over HOA matters to a committee. Committee power should usually be limited to an advisory role. If a committee is allowed greater authority, like rules enforcement, there should always be the right of appeal to the board.
Plan of Action. Part of a good plan of action includes reporting to the board at scheduled meetings. That report should include recommendations for board approval. These reports provide a good way for the board to assess the ongoing need or effectiveness of a committee. If little is being done, it might be time to retire a committee or find a new chair.
Committee Meetings. Some committees need to meet regularly and some as needed. It all has to do with the goals laid out by the board. The board should select the committee chair carefully as someone who has the time for the job and inclination for leadership.
Include Renters. Here’s a novel idea: Allow renters to join committees. Many want to be good neighbors and to serve. At least ask. You might be surprised at the response and it might encourage owners to step up.
Praise and Recognition. Recognizing effort and superior performance is #1 on every Job Satisfaction Survey. It works the same way in an HOA. It is the currency of care in HOAs which brings a huge return. Thank you notes, newsletter accolades, plaques and Certificates of Merit go a long way.
Mining your committee options will produce a wealth of riches for the community. Committees lead to better information, greater harmony, new friendships, enhanced trust, involved members and less work for the board. It’s all good. This is the Mother Lode. Grab your picks and shovels and start digging!
I hope you’re having a great day – let me know if you need anything.