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A Community Masterpiece: Working Together To Create Beautiful Music
Is your community association a beautiful sonata or more like a car-horn symphony? Through dedicated communication and commitment to a shared vision your community can be a true work of art.
The board of directors of the master association should work like the conductor and each sub-association is a contributing and equally important musician. The sheet music for the master development was written with an idea of all the musicians working together to create a harmonious symphony but one out-of-tune French horn can take your community from melodic to chaotic.
How to Maintain Harmony
Here are some ways to keep your community pitch perfect:
For realtors it may be Location, location, location but for associations it is definitely Communication, communication, communication! Building a productive partnership between your master association and your sub-associations starts with building an internal management community—a network of management liaisons for each of the separate entities. Direct and open communication with each of the managing agents will go a long way in building the harmony you seek within the community. An annual leadership summit will help facilitate this objective. Invite the leaders from each association to a meeting, formal or informal, where shared visions can be discussed. For best results, focus on the issues that are germane to all of entities. For example, if your community was developed on an environmental sustainability platform, discuss how different recycling methods can be applied in each group. It may be green recycling of common area debris for the master association and homeowner composting in a condo, but remember that the goal is the same—better community through environmental responsibility. Focusing on the issues that are shared within each group will help foster a cooperative spirit for problem solving and community growth.
Transparency of decisions made by the master association is another item of the utmost importance. Invite members of the sub-associations to informational meetings where these decisions can be discussed openly and focus on how they may affect each neighborhood. Also, be sure to work with each sub-association to provide a quick link on their website pointing owners to the master association website for important notices and updates.
Become a Presence
Encourage your sub-association leaders and management to become a presence at the master association meetings. The master association boards are often times tasked with creating policies that will affect the community as whole but, unfortunately, not all associations or unit types may be represented on the board. Becoming a presence at those meetings will help remind the board that their decisions may impact more than just the players at the table.
This goes for the master association, too. It will be easier to gain community support and buy-in if master association board members and mangers have taken the time to reach out to the sub-associations to ensure that they are aware of issues facing the greater community.
Nothing gets a community fired up faster than a little healthy competition! Encourage interaction between different subassociations through events that require homeowner involvement. A holiday lighting contest between neighborhoods or a food drive during the holidays will get owners out of their living rooms and onto their porches. After all, the objective is to bring the community together, to get to know one another, and live in harmony. It’s amazing what can be accomplished when people have common interests and goals that can be shared through this type of interaction. Be sure to post the standings at the community clubhouse or somewhere visible within the community and consider a trophy that celebrates the subassociation victory for the year that is prominently displayed for all to see. Recognition goes a long way.
Divide and Conquer
One of the most important objectives in any association, whether it is a master community or a small condominium, is concern for protecting their assets and prudent management of their budgets. To help facilitate this, the master association may encourage the subassociations to synchronize projects to take advantage of economies of scale. For example small projects such as gutter or window cleaning or even larger projects like exterior painting could be contracted at the same time and with the same vendor to secure discounts. The master association could assist this effort by managing a community message board where different neighborhoods could share their maintenance schedules and vendor information. This may also help your community from turning into a construction zone all year round.
Community volunteers are needed for a variety of tasks throughout the year, whether it is manning the ticket booth at one of the community social events or serving on one of the association boards. To ensure your community is diversely represented, recruit volunteers from the sub-associations to work with volunteers from the greater community. Volunteers are the backbone of the community and the more representation the better.
Implementing these methods will ensure that your community is signing on high and it will be sweet music to your ears.