I've got experience with the drama involved with a self-run HOA. People can take things personally, criticism is imminent, and everyone has got an opinion when it comes to be decision-time. Many times, it comes down to a board member not executing or keeping track of things that have already happened or have already been defined. I'll outline some ways that you and your HOA Board can open up communication to empower your neighbors to collaborate on a decision.
Communicate through a channel that's trackable
Any time your soliciting your neighbors for input, it all needs to be recorded to make sure you know who said what. If you're trying to make a decision on something, make sure that you can trace back everyone's input to best determine what people want. This could come in many ways:
- Poll your neighbors on when your next meeting should be: Doodle.com or Formspring are easy to use tools
- Post a story on your website (we can blast an email to all your neighbors, too) and enable comments by your neighbors
- Blast emails to your neighbors and store responses in a folder in Outlook somewhere
When it comes to decision time by the board, having direct access to your neighbor's feedback could have a material impact on correctly weighing the facts to make the best decision.
Be transparent with what's going on
Keep your neighbors informed, even if a decision doesn't have to be made. Let everyone know what the status of ongoing projects is. It may be a matter of updating the website, sending out an email to everyone, or just letting people know as you pass by what is going on.
Stay organized: Try keeping things in one place
Important documents, emails, meeting minutes, neighbor feedback... What a mess if you can't keep all that information in one place! That's why Neighborino gives you the option to keep all of your communication centralized. Lack of organization has caused more than one HOA to fall apart. Use the resources you have at your fingertips (like the Internet!).
Listen (and ask!) "Why?"
Too many times opinions are thrown out without justification and ideas aren't considered properly when in meetings. If you don't understand something, probe deeper into the issue to best understand how to fix it. And don't take things so personally!
I hope these tips help!