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Creating an Electronic Communication Policy for Your HOA

Learn why a strong electronic communication policy is important for successful governance of electronic methods like emails and social media posts
Staff Writer | Apr 10, 2024 | 3 min read
Creating an Electronic Communication Policy for Your HOA
  

Your HOA communicates through several different methods, both when you're communicating with your members and when you're communicating with homeowners within the association. In order to successfully govern electronic communication methods like emails and social media posts, it's important that your HOA develop a strong policy for those methods of communication. 

Liability Issues

When your HOA communicates with homeowners or posts information on social media, the members could be liable for what they're posting. In some cases, there is immunity for volunteer board members; however, it's important that you understand exactly how this immunity works and how to qualify within your state. In general, the best practice is to consult with an HOA attorney while you're drafting your electronic communication policy so that you can be sure each member of the HOA fully understands the responsibilities they're taking on each time they send an electronic communication. 

By the Numbers

In general, people receive an average of 88 emails per day--and they may send an average of 34 or more, especially if they're engaged in professional communications for any reason. For many people, this isn't just about a surplus of electronic communication arriving in their inbox that they have to sift through. It also means that the average person may begin to treat emails very casually--especially the millennial generation, who grew up sending emails to friends. When you're a member of an HOA board, however, it's critical that you take each email seriously. Your electronic communication policy needs to include the care members should take when creating electronic communications, including reminders that emails and social media posts are just as serious as physical notices.

Drafting Your Policy

When you sit down to draft your communication policy, make sure it includes all the key details! Your electronic communication policy should include:

  • What types of messages are allowed? Can reminders about upcoming meetings be sent to members via email? What about information about violations?
  • Who is able to send messages representing the HOA? This should include both who is able to send email messages and who is permitted to post to social media channels as an HOA representative. 
  • What oversight is in place in order to ensure that messages are being sent responsibly? 
  • Information about state laws involving electronic communication, including how those laws are integrated into the communication policy of your HOA. 
  • What to keep offline. Board matters, for example, should not be discussed online, particularly not in social media forums. 

Training Your Members

Each time you add a member to your HOA board or committees, it's critical that they be fully briefed on and trained in your electronic communication policy. Once something is online, it's out there forever! That means that it can show up in later dealings with the public or with specific homeowners--and inappropriate, rude, or unprofessional emails and social media posts can go a long way toward decreasing your ability to successfully interact with homeowners in your association. 

Using Social Media the Right Way

Social media plays a key role in today's communities. Your social media, whether you admin a group for your community or simply keep a page for announcements and discussions, is a great way to communicate public information, post events, build community, and encourage discussion from homeowners. Creating an active social media page for HOA communication is a great way to reach homeowners and connect members--but it must be monitored carefully in order to ensure that you're branding your community the way it should be. 

Crafting your electronic communication policy is an important part of building interactions within your HOA. You want your emails and social media posts to be as professional and responsible as your other communications with your homeowners, setting an attitude of community and building rapport with the homeowners within the community. By creating a robust policy, each member of the board will know where to turn when they have concerns about communications within the community. 

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