So you’re thinking about running for a HOA board

Dr. HOA,
I recently received a nomination form for the board of directors’ election at my association. I am thinking about running for a board position because I think I have great ideas on how to improve our community, but I have never served on a board of directors before and do not have a clear understanding of the laws and financial processes. Can I and should I still consider running?
— Jenifer S.

Jenifer,
First, let me congratulate you for considering running for a position on your association’s board of directors. Volunteering is one of the most admirable things a person can do for their community and your willingness to consider dedicating a portion of your valuable time to positively impact your community is inspirational.

Many homeowners who consider running for their association’s board of directors are discouraged because they fear they lack the experience necessary to be effective. I hear this all the time when I encourage homeowners to run.

I always advise homeowners who are inquiring about becoming a board member that the association needs active, intelligent volunteers with good ideas regarding improving his or her community. That’s the only qualification.

Hopefully, your community has a management-company partner who will assist and advise your association’s board regarding legal and financial matters. Additionally, your management company should offer regular board-member training classes and seminars to educate new and seasoned board members alike.

I know that at our company, we’re dedicated to ensuring new board members receive adequate training prior to their first meeting. We understand that members join the board to positively impact their community and we are committed to helping board members meet and exceed their goals and expectations.

Understanding your duties and role as a board member is a critical first step in meeting this goal.

That is why we also offer board members additional training sessions throughout the year on topics ranging from board member duties and responsibilities to understanding your financial statements and new legislation impacting the association.

If your association’s management company does not automatically offer similar board-member training, request it. If they do not offer or are not willing to provide new board member training and continuing education for more seasoned board members, your association may want to consider looking for a new management company.

Ultimately, it is the board members’ responsibility to understand their duties in order to intelligently discuss and vote on proposed actions. Take comfort in the fact that your management company is there to assist you as a professional adviser by successfully facilitating the process.

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