How to Get Volunteers Involved

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How to Get Volunteers Involved

You’ve got a great community, where most homeowners are happy with management, amenities, and their standard of living.  To make it an even better place to live, you would like to recruit a steady stream of volunteers who are willing to invest their ideas and skills in serving the community.

Your board is already giving their volunteer hours and you need homeowners to provide additional support. However, recruiting volunteers is difficult; you are not only asking for residents’ free time and talents, but you’re also competing with other local non-profits.

What is a volunteer? What do they do?

A volunteer is someone who assists your board or community without pay. Diversity is a hallmark of HOA volunteer groups; they represent all of the ages and backgrounds of your residents, and collectively offer a broad range of talents. Volunteers bring initiative and determination, kindness and concern for fellow residents, and excellent communication skills. As members of your HOA organization, they are accountable to the same policies that apply to the board and other homeowners.

Board members, get the volunteer ball rolling!

Board involvement is the key to encouraging volunteerism in your community, yet many HOAs never quite capture an optimal level of engagement. Success in recruiting is all about following proven, time-tested methods. Here are five simple steps to help you start the momentum and get more homeowners involved in creating a rich sense of community spirit:

  1. Committees: Establish committees for various purposes and develop an official charter for each committee, with a mission statement.
  2. Liaison: Appoint a board liaison to interface with each committee as it forms.
  3. Volunteer Requests: Send requests by email and/or snail mail from the board to recruit volunteers for specific committee functions. Be specific in your requests, detailing the purpose of the committees and the skills and tasks required for each volunteer position. Attach the charter for each committee.
  4. Annual Meetings: Each year at your most important meeting, when the most involved and concerned homeowners are in attendance, introduce the committees and the volunteering opportunities that are available, as well as the general importance of volunteering in maintaining high living standards for everyone.
  5. New Owner Welcome Packet: Include literature detailing your committees and opportunities with a volunteer form in your welcome packet.

Be enthusiastic and opportunistic

When passionate homeowners step forward in HOA meetings with ideas about the governance of the association, ask them to volunteer. Have board members share their passionate beliefs in the missions of your committees. Reach out to residents who have the talents you need to achieve each committee’s mission and invite them all to a casual coffee meeting.

When you meet, try to find out what could motivate each individual guest to volunteer. Some may have an interest in sports, while others may enjoy the arts. Some may appreciate public speaking opportunities or need to develop their leadership capabilities for work. Is there an event coming up that could further each individual’s personal objectives? Is a holiday approaching for which some of your guests would enjoy organizing a community celebration?

By aligning opportunities with the interests of your homeowners, you can ensure a positive initial experience that will encourage volunteers to bring others along. Once the ball starts to roll, the spirit of volunteering catches on!

Teri Kerkman

AMS®, CMCA®
Vice President of Operations, Plano Region

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CMA Management
35 Years of Community. Well Served. (www.cmamanagement.com) Headquartered in Plano, Texas, CMA has three regional offices and numerous onsite locations providing contract management services for more than 240 residential and commercial communities ranging from 100 to more than 9,000 homes. Residential Communities •Town Home Communities •Master Planned Communities •Active Adult Communities •Commercial Associations