When it comes to managing an HOA successfully, good communication is essential. An open line of ongoing communication ensures that owners and stakeholders all remain in the loop and prevents confusion and misinformation. Thankfully, there are a wide variety of different HOA communication tools and tactics to choose from. Here are a few of the options we recommend.
A password-protected online portal can be a powerful tool for sharing information quickly, easily and securely. There, members can access the documents and information they need with a few key strokes as well as add maintenance requests, peruse their community directory and more. Keep in mind, of course, that not every HOA member will have access to a computer, nor will everyone feel comfortable communicating online. For this reason, you should consider using a few different channels.
Emails are a great way to send out information to your HOA members while also enabling them to reply accordingly. The only downside to this is when recipients accidentally select “reply to all” when responding. This can be annoying to other residents and potentially embarrassing if the message is meant to be confidential. To avoid this, we suggest using an email marketing tool that will enable you to customize and optimize your communications while eliminating the risk of “reply all” responses.
Texting is a particularly effective tool when the information you want to send out is urgent or time-sensitive. Posting these things in a portal or sending them in an email could cause delays, as people don’t always check these tools regularly. Similar to email, utilizing an SMS tool can help make the process of disseminating information this way faster and easier. Just keep in mind that, again, not everyone will prefer this method of communication.
Another great method for sharing important information with your HOA members is a monthly newsletter. In it, you can include announcements, details about upcoming events, reminders about scheduled maintenance work and anything else that residents might need to stay abreast of. Some HOA managers also use newsletters as a way to answer common member questions or address timely events. Newsletters can be emailed, stored on your website, mailed out, or all three.
Popular social platforms, like Facebook, allow users to set up private, members-only groups. Many HOA managers have leveraged this tool to provide residents with a central place to connect and communicate with one another as well as with members of the board. This can also be a great tool for community building purposes, as it’s more interactive than the other methods listed.
Scheduling a time for members to gather, discuss their concerns, ask questions and just interact with one another can also be a great way to keep lines of communication open and flowing. If this option is challenging, whether due to space limitations or social distancing rules, consider doing a hybrid or virtual meeting instead. Today’s technology makes this super easy and, as an added bonus, you can record online meetings for future reference.
Last, but not least, there’s the telephone. This may be old school, and it may not be the most efficient method of communication, but for certain residents, particularly those who are elderly, it may be their preferred and possibly only option other than in-person visits. To streamline this process, consider using software to automatically deliver your phone messages, either by robo-call or recording. It’s less personal, but it’s a good option if you need to send the same message out to a group of people.
Whatever HOA communication tool(s) you choose, make sure that you offer members the option to select their preferred method. Providing multiple options will ensure that everyone receives the important information they need via the channel they feel most comfortable with, so everyone wins.