Create Community Forums with HOA Management Software

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The more connected a community is, the smoother HOA management can be. By finding and using different ways to get people together, you can strengthen the bonds of trust and friendship in your neighborhood.

Pool parties, holiday gatherings, and retirement celebrations offer homeowners the chance to get to know each other and talk about their common interests. Newsletters spread the word about HOA happenings and provide answers to residents’ questions.

Community forums are another way for people to share their questions and opinions about all manner of topics. From politics to BBQ sauce, if people are interested, there’s an online forum available where people can debate who should be president or what kind of sauce has the right tang. 

Thanks to HOA management software, associations around the country have created forums to deal with questions within their neighborhoods.

In addition, national forums are available, so people from different HOAs can tap into the experiences of other volunteers to apply to different situations that might crop up in their communities.

A commitment to open and honest communication can have many positive benefits:

  • increasing engagement
  • encouraging an atmosphere of trust
  • helping identify issues when they’re small
  • reducing conflicts and misunderstandings

A well-run forum with community buy-in offers a sense of belonging. Not every idea that comes up in a forum can be adopted, but it can be discussed and considered, and that helps people feel that their contributions matter.

Sometimes, a back-and-forth discussion can hone, shape, and polish an idea until it’s too bright and shiny to ignore, and the community as a whole can benefit.

If your association’s leadership team is looking for ways to bring residents together, creating a forum with HOA management software can give your residents a voice while also strengthening community connections.

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Tips for forum moderation

Just as conflicts can occur within your HOA, they can flare up during forum discussions. HOAs and forums work best when there are clearly established rules and expectations. Both also need leadership dedicated to keeping things civil.

It’s best to have a set of rules in place before you launch your forum:

  • Insults, threats, and inflammatory posts shouldn’t be allowed.
  • Discourage redundant posting.
  • No advertising, spamming, or solicitation should be allowed.
  • Prohibit discussing illegal activities.
  • Don’t post lewd comments, language, or photos.
  • Keep comments on topic.

There’s a chance no one in your neighborhood would consider breaking those rules even if they weren’t posted. But just as your HOA’s founding documents explain homeowners’ rights and responsibilities, your forum rules create a set of expectations that can encourage pleasant exchanges of ideas.

Even the best forums need moderators, people who are knowledgeable about community issues and have time to check in with the forum on a regular basis.

When looking for the perfect candidate to moderate your HOA forum, you want someone known for being dependable and even-tempered. They’re going to have important responsibilities:

  • Respect for all members and moderators.
  • Maintain confidentiality about moderator activities and member information.
  • Consider member feelings before hitting the submit button.
  • Ensure it’s a team decision to delete a member’s posts.

As a moderator, you should maintain a high level of professionalism with your posts, so you can set an example for others. Trolls and spammers can’t be tolerated, and members should not be able to abuse other members.

Intention matters. If a comment is meant to contribute to a discussion or elevate it, that’s exactly what you want. Comments also can tear down ideas as long as they’re not meant to tear down the people who share those ideas.

By following a few rules and guidelines, you help ensure your forum becomes a positive source of good in the community.

Forums and HOA management software

If you’re convinced that creating a forum for your community can help your HOA run more smoothly, then it’s time to start looking for a platform.

PayHOA’s software puts the power in your hands, so you can create a variety of boards to fit the unique needs of your HOA by

  • facilitating transparency between the HOA and homeowners
  • providing accessibility for the entire community
  • acting as a central location for discussion

PayHOA allows you to set up groups that are open to everyone, but you also can be more selective about who can post on different boards.

HOA management software allows you to create a forum for your board of directors, officers, and volunteers, so they can work together to solve the issues of the day. Message boards can be set up for individual committees, allowing them to plan holiday parties and hash out vendor problems in relative privacy.

You also can start and moderate a neighborhood-wide discussion board. It provides your friends and neighbors the chance to comment on events that affect everyone. 

When it comes to creating message boards, you can feel free to try potential topics and see if they resonate with residents. For instance, a gardening forum could flower and flourish and then beautify your neighborhood over time.

A sports forum has the potential to connect fans on Saturdays and Sundays. Of course, a moderator would have to be willing to accept a certain amount of trash-talking because, hey, that’s part of the game.

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Nationwide Forums

There are HOAs across the country and around the world. If your association is having a difficult time with a subject, there’s every possibility another association has been there and done that.

The Community Associations Institute is an international organization dedicated to helping HOAs accomplish their important work. It also has affiliate organizations in different states.

Membership fees are required, but CAI provides a wealth of resources for self-managed HOAs and expands your pool of problem-solving ideas exponentially. 

CAI will celebrate its 50th anniversary during its 2023 Annual Conference & Exposition: Community NOW. It will be May 17-20 at the Hilton Anatole in Dallas.

The event is for community association managers, homeowner board members, and business partners. Click here for details and to reserve your spot.

Communicate with PayHOA

HOA management software makes it easy to create message boards to engage your members. But PayHOA software is built with the entire community in mind, and some people will want nothing to do with a community forum.

To serve them, PayHOA has a variety of ways to reach out:

  • phone calls
  • text messages
  • emails
  • post mail
  • newsletters
  • website

Transparency is every HOA’s friend because, if people know what’s happening, it creates trust. People who trust each other can do great things together. 

By making it easier to communicate with residents, PayHOA’s software creates the conditions for a smooth-running community by

  • preventing or resolving problems 
  • providing clarity and direction
  • creating better relationships
  • increasing engagement
  • promoting team building

There’s still a place in your HOA for pool parties, holiday gatherings, and retirement celebrations. However, in the wake of the pandemic, it’s clear that online tools can serve vital roles in weaving a bunch of separate people into a community. 

By making forums available to your friends and neighbors, you provide another avenue for members of your association to connect and learn from each other. In doing so, you turn your neighborhood into a more welcoming place.

PayHOA offers an HOA management software solution for HOAs of any size or managerial priorities. To find out if PayHOA fits all your HOA management needs, try our software free for 30 days.

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