When annual meetings are well-attended, it is often the result of creative strategies implemented before and during the meeting to maximize interest.
Your HOA annual meeting is the most important meeting of the year for homeowners to attend. Not only is it an informational meeting, but it is the primary forum through which homeowners can exercise their voting rights on a variety of proposals. It is also the occasion for electing a Board of Directors to represent their varied interests.
Given its importance, an outside observer who is unfamiliar with the process might expect high attendance levels, possibly upwards of 75 percent. Unfortunately, this expectation proves overly optimistic more often than not. Realistically speaking, part of the low interest stems from some of the dry subject matter that is typically covered, from reporting on the annual budget, completed projects, HOA dues collected, and votes by the board.
When annual meetings are well-attended, it is often the result of creative strategies implemented before and during the meeting to maximize interest. A legal notice alone will not produce a high turnout. CMA recommends the following ideas to help you maximize homeowner attendance and raise participation levels during the proceedings:
Market and advertise the event heavily.
- Consider promoting the event on social media.
- Send several rounds of emails, starting with a “Mark Your Calendar” and finishing with the meeting agenda.
- Post flyers in clubhouses and in common areas.
- Tease a “big news” announcement or a big surprise to be revealed at the meeting, and be sure the revelation rewards homeowners’ curiosity.
- Promote a dynamic video that will be shown at the event, showing the before and after photos of the various projects that were completed, and responses from homeowners and residents about their enjoyment of the new facilities.
Make it a more interesting event.
- Host the event at a desirable venue, like a reception hall, country club or restaurant with a private room.
- A ‘taste of the neighborhood’ event with hors d’oeuvres and cheese and charcuterie boards.
- Catered dinner for attendees.
Make the occasion more festive and fun.
- Host a “meet your neighbors” social event after the meeting.
- Offer some form of live entertainment, like a smooth jazz band or a comedian, following the meeting.
- Present awards to homeowners for best landscaping, best exterior renovations, or even a neighbor of the year award.
- Host an art show, featuring the talents of community and local residents on display.
- Host a home and garden show with local exhibitors offering special deals for community residents.
Add engaging elements.
- Raffle a service to homeowners like a Spring yard clean-up or lawnmowing for a full season.
- Invite a prominent speaker who is a subject matter expert in home security, enhancing property values, or some other subject with broad community appeal and allow time for an audience Q&A session.
- Display boards to show completed projects in the community and/or projects in surrounding areas that are being proposed for the community.
- Volunteer tables staffed by committee members to sign up homeowners.
- Offer discounts on high demand items including pool cards.
- Hold a fundraiser for a local family in need of help, or a local charity.
Just by implementing a few of these strategies, you could see a substantial increase in attendance and participation, especially if turnout in previous years has been low. For help managing your annual meeting, contact CMA today and discover how we can add value to your community and everything you do for your homeowners.
Executive Vice President of Portfolio Operations, AMS®, CMCA®