How to get—and keep—your homeowners association members talking
Good communication with your homeowners association members, as well as among your members, is essential to a maintaining an organization that functions smoothly. When you make the right choice for your homeowners association website and software, you can foster fluent communication that advances your organization, and keeps your members in tune with each other and your goals. In addition to fostering communication among your existing residents, you also need to communicate what all the unique advantages of living in your community to prospective residents who want to know more about you.
Think about all the ways you want to keep your members communicating, and all the ways in which that form of fluent communication is essential to maintaining a harmonious neighborhood, a place where people really want to live. Choose the software option that provides the best options for interaction and keeps your members talking.
When you set up a homeowners association website, you expect to be able to create, manage, and set up events for the committees your members join so they can contribute to the processes of your organization. Beyond that, you want to be able to use the facts of committee membership to shape the ways in which you communicate with members and the portions of their site that are or are not accessible to them. Look for homeowners association software that enables you to set up tags you can use to identify who belongs to and leads which committees, and who has signed up to be involved in specialized affinity groups that meet to support shared interests.
In the old days, sharing news with members of your community meant putting up a bulletin board in the clubhouse, and tacking up notices about lost pets, items for sale, and all the important but little things that homeowners association members interact about on a daily basis. The problem with the bulletin board approach, of course, is that you have to go into the clubhouse to see the notices. The modern solution to the need to communicate about these kinds of matters is an online equivalent, modeled after the social media sites and other communication venues to which your members very likely subscribe. For privacy sake, you want to be able to restrict the visibility of the newsfeed, perhaps excluding it from the public eye, and maybe even making it invisible to members who fall behind on regular dues payments. Beyond that, you want to be able to pin specific posts at the top so they don’t scroll down as newer posts appear.
Newsfeeds offer a great way to trade information and interact in a quasi-public manner. For messages that require greater privacy, your homeowners association website should offer your members a private messaging feature. In this context, two or more members can interact, share files to show pictures or other details of a matter of they are discussing, use emojis, and engage in threaded communication. Of course, you could use a third-party social media site for this type of communication, but the problem with that approach is that it immediately requires your members to leave your homeowners association website for messaging purposes. When you offer this type of private messaging as an integrated component of your homeowners association website itself, you keep members on your site longer and provide them with features that showcase how much you care about what matters to them.
Neighborhoods thrive on the happy little details of new babies, new pets, and other developments that form a part of life itself. Of course, your members can share their private e-mail addresses with each other to send out baby pictures, puppy training photos, and their latest selfies with their new little kitten, but some members may prefer to keep those e-mail addresses private. A full featured homeowners association website should offer the ability to build and post to photo galleries. These galleries also should offer privacy features that enable you to shield them from the public view.
Polls and Surveys
How do you make decisions about new community features for your homeowners association, or what to do about matters of community concern? You ask your members what they think and implement their input into your decision-making process. Creating a survey by mail or even by e-mail can be a cumbersome process, because you must track responses, tally votes, and then publicize the results to your homeowners association membership, which can require another e-mail message. The amount of effort required can dim your enthusiasm for the process, even when you are collating votes on important matters and urgently want to know what your members think. Once you obtain results from a question on which you ask your members to vote, now you have to find a way to visualize the results so you can share them in a way that is more intuitive than simple numbers. By the time you finish entering your data into a spreadsheet and graphing them, you’re probably wishing for an easier way to accomplish the process.
At HOAStart, we know that homeowners associations find value in all these communication alternatives, and that HOAs want a broad set of options when they build their community websites. That’s why we incorporate every single one of these features right into the software we offer HOAs. When you create your homeowners association website with HOAStart, you can integrate all these features and many more directly into the online presence you set up for your community.
We also fully understand your need to balance the ability to make some information publicly accessible—for example, to provide community information to prospective homeowners—at the same time that you want to protect your members’ privacy when it comes to personal messaging. You shouldn’t have to resort to setting up community groups on third-party social media websites to accomplish these goals. When you build your homeowners association website with HOAStart, you don’t need to use external websites to provide the kinds of communication functionality you want for your community.
Check out all the advantages of an HOAStart website, and see why we should be the first choice for your homeowners association.