Hosting an HOA annual meeting is important for two reasons:

  1. to approve next year’s budget
  2. to elect board members whose chairs will be vacant.

Although, getting the community involved can prove to be a difficult task, especially when you’re struggling to meet quorum. Here are three tips for hosting a successful HOA annual meeting. Get your attendance up and become a better association!

1. Start planning early

One key to planning any event is to start outlining the meeting in advance. Plan what you are going to talk about, announcements you want to touch on, and possibly locations you could hold it at. Start outlining your HOA annual meeting agenda (see #3 below). Many associations who perform well start to plan their annual meeting 6-8 months in advance. Once the nitty-gritty details are decided, you’ll want to be sure people will actually come. Debra Warren, who provides strategic planning sessions for associations members, says,

“You want to have the first mailing go out 60 days in advance, and then send another notice 30 days in advance.”

She also advises putting save the date notices in your association newsletter. The earlier the planning, the better the outcome.

2. Host a fun event or at a venue

The main reason why many residents don’t show up to HOA meetings is simply that they are boring. Who wants to spend their precious after-work time attending a meeting that only somewhat benefits them and consists largely of content they care little about? No one! Trying hosting a meeting at a local restaurant, or us a little budget to offer free pizza and drinks. You take care of the dinner task for them that way. Another idea is to invite a guest speaker who is sure to captivate your audience. Inviting local celebrities or important regional area people is a great way to educate your audience on local news and inform residents about association news.

As for content, keep the tone as positive as possible. Include a recap of all the board’s accomplishments for the year.

3. Set your agenda and be organized

You’ve planned this entire meeting, you finally got attendees to come, but now you actually have to put on the show. The worst thing you want to happen is a flop – the meeting gets derailed, the food you provided is bad, or maybe you forgot the election ballots. Of course, things can go wrong, but if you’re prepared then you might be able to prevent a disaster. First, focus on creating your HOA annual meeting agenda and try to stick to it. If you feel like things are starting to digress, refer to your schedule and get people back on track. Here’s the most basic HOA annual meeting agenda outline:

  1. Call meeting to order
  2. Approval of last annual meeting Minutes
  3. Counting of proxy & ballots
  4. Announcing newly elected Board Members
  5. Adjournment

Secondly, make sure people know their parts and responsibilities so no one forgets the election ballots or to order the food. It’s easy to think someone has their part covered, but double check they’ve taken care of things. Lastly, have a backup plan in case anything goes wrong. The best and most organized people are always ready for disasters!