Getting volunteers in an HOA can be difficult. Even more so when seeking members for the Board of Directors. One of the most highly asked questions regarding Board elections is procedure on finding and electing new Board members. Below are some tips that will help ease the process and ensure that your community members will be well informed when making a decision on the candidates.
How far in advance should an HOA send notice of upcoming open Board positions?
If a Director’s term is expiring it is a good idea to start seeking candidates at the beginning of the last quarter of their term. Three months may seem like a long time, but in many cases it will require multiple notices to the community to get volunteers for the open position.
What should be included in the HOA notice?
Include as much information as possible, but also be sure to follow your governing documents. It is also highly recommended that a Board Member Application form be included in the notice. This form would be completed by all interested parties and submitted to the Board, or management company, for review. Review in advance is necessary as in some cases a volunteer may not qualify to be elected (this is detailed in your HOA governing documents).
Your governing documents will specify the elections and Board of Director’s positions in a variety of ways. The most common two ways are: Specific positions and terms, positions determined by volunteering for the specific position and elected to that position by the community at the annual meeting; or members are volunteering for “Director” positions and official Board position (e.g. President, Vice President, etc) is determined by a vote of the Board after elections are completed.
In the first scenario, the notice would be more complicated and detailed. Below is an example:
Sample HOA – 6 Board of Directors Members to be elected.
President: 3 Year Term
Vice President: 2 Year Term
Secretary: 2 Year Term
Treasurer: 2 Year Term
Director: 1 Year Term
Sample HOA’s President, Treasurer, and two Directors have terms expiring at the upcoming annual meeting. The notice in this situation would follow something like this:
At the upcoming annual meeting Sample HOA will be seeking volunteers for the following Board member positions:
Board President – 3 year term. ((Details per governing documents of President’s responsibilities))
Treasurer – 2 year term. ((Details per governing documents of Treasurer’s responsibilities))
Director (two positions) – 1 year term. ((Details per governing documents of Director’s responsibilities))
In the second scenario, with Board determined positions of all members, the notice would just specify that a “Director” position is open, detail the terms of the position, and notify the community that their position on the Board will be determined internally after the elections.
How often should the HOA send notices out regarding the open positions?
There is no set amount. It is almost always true though that the more you send the better your chances are of finding volunteers, but keep in mind the costs that could be involved. If most of your membership has an email address on file, Great! It’s a simple matter of sending an email out. If you have a management company you can use them to send out email and/or text blasts (be sure to check your contract and/or contact your management team as costs could be involved). If most of your membership does NOT have an email address on file you’ll have to consider the costs of postage into the number of notifications.
How should the volunteers be presented to the HOA community prior to elections?
The best scenario is to call a community meeting at least one week before the HOA’s annual meeting so that members can come and meet the volunteers. At the meeting each volunteer should speak to the HOA community about why they want to be on the HOA board and provide information on their background, skills, etc. HOA members should then be allowed to ask the volunteers questions. We recommend putting a limit on either the time or number of questions that each HOA member has with each volunteer.
What if we don’t get enough volunteers?
This is probably one of the biggest, and most difficult, questions HOA’s have. There is no quick and easy way to ensure you get volunteers, but the most common reason for not getting sufficient volunteers is not being informative about what being on the Board of Directors entails. Be detailed and open about each position, what is expected of the Board, etc.
We highly recommend that current and/or prior HOA Board members be asked to speak about their experiences with potential volunteers.
We are self managed, do we need any extra vetting of our volunteers?
Yes! We highly recommend that self-managed communities invest in background/credit checks, as well as more in-depth interviewing of potential candidates, especially for those seeking the Treasurer position on a Board.