Fostering a sense of community is an important yet often overlooked responsibility of an HOA. Maintaining an updated and informative website and distributing a regular newsletter are two simple ways HOAs can promote this camaraderie.
HOA accounting software with website and print mailing capabilities supports these endeavors in addition to facilitating more obvious tasks like balancing the budget and completing maintenance requests.
Why an HOA Needs a Website and Newsletter
Managing a website for your HOA requires little work while reaping many benefits. Since it is most likely that everyone in the community uses the internet as their primary source of information and reference point, an updated website ensures your neighbors are receiving the right information about the HOA.
A physical copy of your HOA’s most pertinent information delivered to each neighbor’s mailbox provides much value to the community. An official newsletter sent monthly or quarterly elevates any news within and gives it gravity within the community.
HOA accounting software that facilitates physical mail means distributing a newsletter is no extra work for the organization. With PayHOA, once the newsletter is created and ready to send, simply submit it through the software to be printed, stuffed, and mailed. PayHOA handles the entire process.
An informative website and newsletter streamlines communication and information distribution to the neighborhood, saving the HOA time on repeat questions and homeowners frustration from lack of answers.
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Provide a Central Location for Homeowners
HOA accounting software offers an online portal where homeowners can pay their dues each month, submit and view maintenance requests, and view pertinent unit history. It is important for the HOA’s website to provide value to members when they log in each month to handle any of these tasks.
By maintaining a thorough website, the HOA can promote its role in the community and serve as an authority on clear information. Having all members of the community on the same page creates a more cohesive atmosphere. The HOA will know that homeowners have access to the correct information, and homeowners will be grateful they can reference it at any time.
The website can also be a source of virtual fun and pride. Displaying neighborhood milestones, competition winners, or holiday decorations celebrate different members of the community. For example, the Rivershire Homeowners Association showcases their neighborhood’s Yard of the Month on the front page of their website.
Host and Distribute Vital Information
It’s not realistic for homeowners to attend every board meeting, but they will most likely want to know about the decisions made during them. Because of this, pertinent details from each meeting should be shared freely with the community.
Posting meeting summaries, reports, and other findings on the HOA’s website creates transparency between HOA and homeowners. Homeowners will be grateful they can access this information, even if they can’t make the board meeting. This also fosters trust that the HOA cares enough to share their info. This is a small gesture that goes a long way.
In addition to minutes, important documents like the HOA’s bylaws, rules, and CC&Rs can also be hosted on the HOA’s website. These documents should already be stored in your HOA accounting software so they can easily be referenced by the board and HOA volunteers.
In some states, it is even legally required for this information to be accessible by all homeowners. Mandated or not, providing access to these important documents empowers the community to know their community’s regulations and bylaws.
You may also want to share some key findings from important board meetings in your HOA’s newsletter. Good news like budget surpluses, property value increases, or low violation statistics can boost the community’s confidence in the HOA. Newsletters can be posted online for archived digital access at any time.
Create a Hub for Frequently Asked Questions
HOAs often field the same questions repeatedly: when is trash pickup? How do I submit a service request? How is the HOA using my dues?
These questions can tie up the phone line or clog an email box very quickly. Plus, it can be frustrating for homeowners to not receive a quick answer when they want it.
While answering these types of questions is inevitable, you can drastically reduce the repeated questions by creating a detailed frequently asked question section on your website. It won’t take long to jot down the repeat inquiries and post them on the website.
Homeowners will be thankful they have a central location to reference any questions about the community. Whoever answers the HOA email or phone will be glad they have some time back.
Promote Neighborhood Events
While a website and newsletter help nourish the neighborhood with information, nothing creates the feeling of closeness like hosting some in-person community events. Brainstorming events to fill out the community calendar should be a fun annual activity for the HOA.
Yard sales, potlucks, and gaming tournaments throughout the year offer chances for homeowners to get outside of their bubble and have fun with their neighbors. Neighborhood clean-up days and community service combine fun and altruism.
You can also use your HOA’s calendar for practical matters, like reserving certain aspects of the HOA. The Wrenhaven HOA uses their website’s calendar to reserve the tennis court, so its availability is known to all who reference it.
More serious events like board meetings, financial reviews, or community concern days are also important to host and encourage homeowner attendance. All neighbors should feel as if their participation is welcome and wanted.
Everything should be added to the HOA’s website calendar, with more noteworthy events highlighted in the newsletter. Events scheduled and promoted far in advance will give neighbors plenty of time to block off their schedules and plan to attend. Well-attended events are usually more lively and create the feeling of an active and engaged community.
An easy to maintain website and newsletter can complement the efforts of your HOA and support its mission to better the community. With just a little time, your website and newsletter provide value to both the HOA and the neighborhood. HOA accounting software that provides access to these makes it even easier for your HOA to accomplish.