By Bob Gourley
You’ve been an active community member for a few years. You served on a Committee or two and shown you have the right stuff to be a community leader. A neighbor who already serves on the Board suggested that you should run for a vacant seat. You finally decided to raise your hand at the Annual Meeting and volunteer to serve on the Board of your condominium or HOA. Enough of your fellow unit owners voted for you and you are now on the Board. Congratulations! Now, what?
If you think it is simply enough to “do your best” while serving on the Board, you may be in for a rude awakening. The call to serve is a noble one. If you want to give yourself every opportunity to succeed, I strongly suggest you visit the national website of CAI at caionline.org. Ideally, you will join and encourage all of your other Board members to join as well. But, even if you don’t join, CAI provides some great tools to help you succeed. You will need the internet to access these tools.
Start with the Governance section on the CAI website – http://www.caionline.org/info/help/governance/Pages/. Here you will find quick links to everything you will want to learn about as you begin your career as a community association Board Member.
Download Community Association Governance Guidelines and familiarize yourself with the 12 principles that can help association leaders build better communities. These guidelines help community association volunteer leaders create and sustain an atmosphere of trust and mutual respect. This increases harmony, reduces conflict and builds stronger, more successful communities. There is no cost to download this 1-page document but the advice is priceless!
Download Rights and Responsibilities for Better Communities. This 2-page document details a series of principles and practices developed by CAI to promote harmony and minimize discontent. Countless associations have formally adopted the principles; many more use them for guidance. I regularly refer to this document when I need a refresher. It is fantastic!
Finally, don’t be afraid to ask for help. Check out your local chapter of CAI. Throughout the year, local chapters offer quality training and networking events where you can educate yourself and share your experience with others. Your Chapter’s local website is chock full of important information that can help you succeed. Everything from the latest information on state and federal laws to a directory to help you find the perfect business partner for your next big community project is at your fingertips. I have found these websites to be a useful and indispensable tool. Bookmark it and visit often.
Getting elected to the Board is the easy part. Making a difference for your community and deriving the full satisfaction of a job well done takes more than just “doing your best”. Make CAI part of your success story!