Welcome Package / Committee
What better way to communicate with owners but when you first receive notification of the change in ownership. Creating a simple FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions) sheet along with a document checklist to ensure they have all the required condo documents (and where to get it if they don’t) is invaluable. Having a welcoming committee to say hello once someone moves in so they can put a name to a face helps with the transition as well.
You no longer have to be really tech savvy to utilize any number of the website template services available specifically for condominiums. CCI NAB Members include GeniePad and Togondo and there are also plenty of other options available for you to check out. Determine what features each provider offers before you commit to anything and don’t hesitate to start with the basics until you feel comfortable adding more website tools.. The key factor is to ensure someone is designated to keep the information posted as current as possible.
Community Bulletin Board
Best suited for apartment style condominiums, having a central area to post notices where residents constantly walk by on their way to and from their unit can help spread the word. Whether it is by the entrance doors, inside the elevator, or next to the mailboxes having a designated area that residents see on a daily basis will be useful. Try to limit the text and add some colour or images to make things stand out.
The advantage of having a newsletter, whether it is digital or physical, is the ability to add a little colour into your message. Not only do condo owners get a more visual representation of what you’re talking about, but you can get the owners personally more involved by allowing them to submit messages or photos about the condominium. Avoid the trap of becoming the “wagging finger” where everything starts with “Don’ do this…” and balance each issue with praise when warranted, project updates and of course a little bit of humour.
Online storage services such as Google Drive, Dropbox, iCloud and OneDrive have a free starter package to host condominium documents if you don’t want to go the website route but have somewhere where owners can get their condominium documents from anywhere at any time. There are different options for access to consider (for example separating Board and Owner documents) and there may be additional minimal monthly costs if you exceed the basic storage limits which vary with each provider.
Use Board Meetings as an opportunity for owners and residents to make inquiries or bring forward any concerns prior to the start of each meeting. If the Board needs to consider the request it can be added to the New Business portion of the Agenda and discussed in private at that time. Make sure to follow up with the individual owners in a timely manner following the matter so they know what decisions were made or what steps need to be taken to review the matter further before finalizing a plan of action.
AGM (Annual General Meetings)
Typically the AGM is the one time each year that Owners get together to get caught up on the business affairs of the Corporation. Make the most of this opportunity by ensuring the owners have all of the pertinent information in advance so they can review in advance of the meeting. Make a point of having an Owner Q & A as part of the New Business portion of the Agenda and encourage owners to submit relevant agenda items in advance so that the Board and Manager can prepare some information to share with those in attendance rather than being blind-sided at the meeting. Watch for changes in the upcoming Condo Regulations that will likely address this issue in more detail.
Sometimes a situation can’t wait to be discussed at the next AGM and either due to the scope or urgency of the matter it is best discussed in person. Examples would include unexpected large capital expenses that may require either a loan or special assessment to take care of or perhaps a review of your current bylaws to deal with recent legislation changes. Providing an opportunity for owners to hear from professionals when required and to provide some direct feedback prior to decisions being finalized helps reduce the “Board vs. Owners” perception.
Life is too short to focus just on the business side of things all the time. Whether it’s a pancake breakfast and spring cleanup, potluck picnic, charity food or clothing drive, any idea to create more community within your complex is beneficial. Getting to talk to your residents on a more casual basis also tends to keep things relaxed and you may find some additional skill sets or other opportunities to help share the work -load in the future.
Face to Face
Some Board members have a tendency to keep their visibility to a minimum for fear of being inundated with complaints or worse yet harassment. On the other side of the coin however, the more face to face interaction you engage in, the better idea you have of who lives in your community and this helps create a persona of the Board rather than a faceless entity. Who knows, you may find a prospective committee or Board member just by introducing yourself when the opportunity presents itself.
Thanks once again to all of you who sent in your suggestions to help us create this list!
Caveats to consider:
Any correspondence sent out to the Owners should be reviewed by someone on the Board prior to it being sent out. The assumption regardless of who sends the communication out is that it was done with Board approval so review accordingly.
- Never make it personal no matter how upset you may be over the matter you wish to communicate to the owners about.
- Don’t be afraid to ask your owners if you require some expertise to assist with things like creative design, notification deliveries, or organizational assistance for upcoming events.
- Remember to respect people’s privacy and ensure no personal information is shared on your communications without prior consent.