By Bob Gourley
I am often asked about the difference between a fact and a benefit as it pertains to preparing a community association newsletter to tell the story of a community enhancement, such as a new roof. Community association members buy benefits but before they do, they want to know the facts. In construction and maintenance issues, the facts often describe the tangible details of the project such as the cost, the materials used, the contractor chosen to perform the work, how long the project will take and things of that nature. While those items are newsworthy, they won’t help you win over critics or skeptics. For that task, you will need to discuss benefits.
Benefits, quite simply, will help you tell your maintenance and construction story in such a way as to show your residents what is in it for them. Benefits are far less tangible but far more effective in explaining the need for a project and the reason to spend the association’s money. If you think about the last major purchase you made, you will most likely remember that why you bought the item is more important than what you paid for it or what you actually purchased. The same mentality applies to maintenance and construction projects like new roofs.
A roof replacement has many benefits to homeowners. However, many benefits will go unnoticed unless you point them out. Let’s take a look at a few facts and benefits to see if we can find the best way for you to tell the story of roof replacement in your community.
News Item: New roof installed.
Fact: Shingles carry a 30 year warranty.
Benefit: The community won’t have to do this again for quite some time. The new roof looks great and enhances curb appeal!
News Item: Old roof was failing.
Fact: The association is charged with protecting homes from the damage of the failed roof.
Benefit: Interior of homes stay dry; association meets its obligation to homeowners.
News Item: Old roof reached the end of its useful life.
Fact: Old roofs will fail. It’s not a question of if but rather when.
Benefit: By taking proactive measures, the association will save additional money by not having to pay for repairs from a roof that will fail.
In most instances, money spent on today’s new roofing project benefits all members of an association with lower costs in the future. Any time you maintain, protect or enhance common elements of your association, you do so for the benefit of your members. People want to “know” the facts but they “buy” the benefits. Use the power of benefits to keep your residents happy and informed about all of your construction and maintenance projects. You won’t just build a better property. You’ll build a better community!
Bob Gourley is founder of MyEZCondo, a communications firm that produces newsletter and website content material for condominiums and homeowner associations throughout the USA. He has also served as board president of his local HOA.