Unfortunately, most of the time when a homeowners association gets into the news, that news is not going to be positive. It’s just part of the nature of HOA work—much of the good work done for the community goes unrecognized, but the negative issues will blow up quickly.
Therefore, it’s important for HOA boards to operate in a way that prevents these PR disasters from occurring at all so you don’t find your volunteer board suddenly having to answer difficult questions in the media.
Here are some steps you can take to develop a stronger reputation as an HOA board that will help you avoid embarrassing headlines in the news:
- Understand your responsibility: It may sound rather elementary, but you should have an understanding as a board of what your responsibility is and what role you play in your community. This isn’t even talking about the regulations that govern how your board operates, though those are important to consider as well. It all boils down to this—your HOA exists to serve your community and residents. Your guiding vision and mission statement should reflect this, and your actions should always place the needs of the community over any board member’s personal needs.
- Build strong relationships: One of the best ways you can avoid big PR disasters or public misunderstandings is to place an emphasis on building strong relationships with your community. Hold social events in the community so people can get to know board members and have personal, one-on-one conversations. A feeling of familiarity among board members and the community at large can help create more trust, and encourage more people to get involved in their community.
- Emphasize outstanding communication: Lack of communication is one of the biggest reasons behind PR disasters, so it’s important to do everything you can to build processes that make for excellent communication between the board and the community. There should be multiple channels through which homeowners can reach out and get in touch with the board. Make sure board members are checking these channels regularly for new messages so they can quickly address issues and concerns that arise. The board should be proactive in putting out communications as well, including regular emails and newsletters that constantly keep members up to date about what’s happening in the community.
- Give the community a say: Increasing the transparency of your board and allowing community members to voice their opinions goes a long way toward avoiding big public blow-ups. Be transparent about budgeting issues, and always disclose how community money is being spent, with detailed breakdowns. Allow people to come in and ask questions or discuss their feelings about financial issues, or other issues related to the management of the HOA.
These are just a few of the steps you can take to improve your HOA’s reputation and avoid PR disasters. If you do face a potential PR nightmare, be sure to reach out to Goodman Law Group to speak with an experienced HOA attorney in Arizona.