As a member of the HOA your job isn’t just enforcing rules and regulations, it’s also to be a community leader. Your attitude and outlook will shape how others within the community feel and act. As Winston Churchill once said, “Attitude is a little thing that makes a big difference.” Part of your role as part of the Association is to encourage those within your community to contribute to and be part of a culture, and that can be accomplished through intentional planning.
We’ve put together a list of simple things you can do to cultivate a sense of belonging among the other members of your community.
Cultivate common spaces. If you have a building or open space dedicated to use by the HOA, look for ways to make it both practical and welcoming to encourage community use. Comfortable seating can easily create a defined, casual meeting space. Whether indoors or outdoors — sofas and easy chairs for inside, and picnic tables or garden-style seating for outside — the space could be a place for residents to spend some leisure time outside of their homes without having to venture too far.
Find a spot within your community boundaries to house a bulletin board or information station. This can serve as the go-to spot for collective announcements for events within your own neighborhoods or in the community at large. Encourage residents to post information others may find useful, such as job ads or items for sale. Monitor the shared information to be sure it is current and applicable to residents, and consider decorating the board/station with a monthly or seasonal theme.
Hold social events. Monthly or quarterly events planned ahead on a schedule are a great way to nurture community. Gatherings allow community members to welcome new neighbors and create memories. There are endless social event options, many of which are budget-friendly or free!
Consider encouraging game nights, potlucks, movie nights, book clubs or even a scavenger hunt within the community. Residents can take turns hosting and planning events. You may want to form special committees and ask residents to join, like party committees or welcoming committees that rotate hosting and planning events. It’s a great way to get everyone involved!
Create a community garden. Consider transforming unused spaces into a community garden! It could be a flower garden, a vegetable garden or both. The sky’s the limit! This is a great way to get neighbors involved in a shared project. It’s also an affordable activity that people of all ages can partake in.
If you do not have any available space, seek out neighbors that may have large yards. They may want to designate part of their land for the project.
Seek feedback. A successful HOA stems from open dialogues between leaders and community members. Look for such opportunities to have those conversations, and be open and willing to listen when sought out. Take the time to introduce yourself to residents you’ve yet to meet. Be friendly and warm. Make sure your interactions aren’t limited to those that may be perceived as negative (like sending letters of HOA violations, for instance). Your neighbors should see the HOA as a leadership group that betters their community and adds to a sense of belonging.
Community meetings are another way to encourage participation in the HOA and establish and nurture a sense of belonging. Consider holding regular meetings, even if agenda items are sparse, to create consistency and show residents that open forums in meetings— not just when there’s controversy—are important to leadership. Encourage suggestions to better the community, as well. You might be surprised about the ideas individuals have! This can also double as another great social event.
Try incorporating one or several of these tips into your HOA. Even small acts can bring neighbors together and foster a stronger sense of community to enhance well-being and happiness.
At PMI Silicon Hills, we pride ourselves on customizing our services to meet your community’s unique needs. We serve the Austin area, including West Lake Hills, Lakeway, Sunset Valley, Rollingwood, Bee Cave, The Hills, Barton Creek and Cedar Valley.
If we can help answer any questions related to association management services, or otherwise, please give us a call at (737) 270-7700 or request a bid through our website.