Annual meetings are arguably the most important event for a community association. This meeting is a chance for the board of directors and management to tout their accomplishments and communicate updates and information about the association.
Boards and management often spend months preparing for these essential meetings only to find out they don’t have a quorum at the meeting. This can be frustrating for those planning the meeting and often speaks to apathy amongst the members.
Let’s talk about some solutions to get a quorum at your next annual meeting.
What is a Quorum?
A quorum is the minimum number of members required to be represented at the meeting to conduct the association's business legally. Typically, those members can be represented in person or by proxy.
The specific quorum requirements for your community’s annual meeting can be found in your bylaws.
Without quorum at the meeting, the association can't host the official required meeting. But with how busy and fragmented many residents are, attaining a quorum is never easy.
Here are tips for reaching quorum.
Over Communicate the Meeting Date
Set the date far in advance. Consider hosting on the same day every year, such as the first Monday in February. This will make it easier to plan.
If you can’t have a recurring date, be sure and set the date four to six months ahead of time to allow for proper planning.
Make sure everyone knows well in advance when your meeting is taking place using all possible means of communication.
The community’s bylaws will typically require meeting notice to be mailed within a certain number of days, such as not less than ten days or more than 60 days. Still, these timeframes vary widely based on state law and your community’s specific documents, so always confirm.
Those requirements are the minimum notice required. There is nothing wrong with doing more!
Emailing your members is always a good idea. You can also send members messages and post your agenda on an online forum for everyone to see.
Consider other notification methods such as yard signs at the entrances and social media posts.
Make it Fun
Fun is essential when trying to get people together. Annual meetings should not just involve reading through agendas. They should also be entertaining and allow people to mingle and chat.
Consider a potluck, a BBQ party, games for kids, or a lunch & learn where everyone can sit down and enjoy as they talk about things you want to be discussed during the meeting. Your annual meeting should feel like the association’s birthday party!
Provide the Info They Really Want
Community associations are typically made up of homeowners who want to ensure their properties are well-maintained and safe. So, during an annual meeting, associations should be sure to include things that are important to members.
The association has business to discuss, and during the formal meeting, only association business should be discussed, but many associations discuss non-association business before or after the adjournment of the formal meeting.
Consider these topics that can likely be part of your formal meeting because they are association business:
- Association vendors giving an update. For example, Many are interested but do not know much about how the association’s landscaper has considered what types of weed control to apply. They probably assume there has not been much consideration given; prove them wrong.
- The local sheriff or police can speak on any crime prevention techniques they have applied in the area. They can also share ways to protect yourself and your home.
- Committee updates. If you have committees such as the Architectural Control Committee (ACC) or a Pool committee, the residents would love to hear from them. They can give a brief update on their work for the past year and their goals for next year.
- Event updates. Similar to committees but deserving of their line here. Ask the community volunteers that led the spring egg hunt or organized the holiday fair to speak briefly. They can share photos or updates from the event and ask for more volunteers to help them.
- Thank yous. Be sure and recognize all the volunteers. If you are a large community with many volunteers, then the Board can do this. If you don’t have many volunteers, then consider having the community manager thank the Board Members and recognize their time volunteering. This creates a culture of gratitude in the community and can warm the hearts of even the most negative resident as they hear how much work and volunteer time it takes to run the community.
Have Raffles for Proxies and Door Prizes
Raffles and door prizes are great incentives for attendees who may not normally want to go through all the rigmarole of an annual meeting.
Raffles are always a big hit with members, especially when they offer something of value that would be impossible or costly for them otherwise. If your budget is too low for gift cards, consider something like VIP parking at the pool for June or reserved seating at the spring picnic.
Remember, the goal is not just to get people at the meeting but also represented by proxy. Consider having a raffle for everyone who turns in a proxy five days before the meeting.
Remind them that they can still choose to attend in person and if they do, their proxy is returned to them. This gives your Board five days to determine how many extra votes you need to be sure you have a quorum and how to get it.
Block walking with extra copies of the proxy can be very effective.
Form a Quorum Committee
If your community has struggled to get a quorum year after year, it is time to put a committee with volunteers willing to mobilize a quorum for your next meeting. They will move from house to house to get proxies completed for the upcoming meeting.
They can also help to send reminders and distribute special information about critical topics to be discussed.
Consider a Virtual Meeting
Electronic voting has been around for over a decade, but before the pandemic, it was less common. Since the pandemic, virtual meetings have become extremely common.
We are all pros at Zoom meetings. Now that most of the pandemic restrictions have been lifted, virtual meetings are still very popular, allowing members that may be ill, out of town, or even busy moms with no babysitter to participate.
Moreover, a virtual setting allows you more flexibility in choosing a date and time convenient for all members and removes any meeting room costs.
Electronic voting presents unique requirements and challenges, so ensure you use an e-voting company that meets the legal requirements.
Learn How RealManage Can Help with Professional Management
Making your annual meeting engaging for all members is fundamental to getting a quorum. But it's not just about putting on a great show. It's also about confirming that everyone can get what they need from the meeting.
With appropriate planning and these potential solutions, you'll be well on your way to achieving a quorum at your next annual meeting.
RealManage can help walk you through every transition step and provide solutions to ensure a smooth process. We have a wealth of experience assisting associations and are excited about partnering with you.
Contact us today to learn more about our exceptional Condo and HOA management services.