As a community manager, one of your responsibilities is to make sure your residents are as happy and comfortable as they can be. One way to do this is to facilitate communication with your residents.
It’s not easy to create a sense of community. People lead busy lives, so few people know their neighbors, and even more so, in Arizona, many residents are only in the state part of the year or seasonally. This can cause an increased sense of isolation. So instead, bridge these gaps. Finding community is an essential component of human nature, and invested residents are happier and more long-term residents.
One easy and inexpensive way to increase communication is to add a bulletin board in a centralized location in the community. This may seem simple, but this small change can make a big difference. Try adding a bulletin board in a place that residents frequently walk past, like entrances and exits to buildings or neighborhoods!
Residential bulletin boards are often used in college dormitories, so it may seem a bit silly to you or your adult residents at first, but there’s a reason they are so commonly used, and it’s because they are an excellent tool for community building!
Introduce yourself to your community.
A community thrives when residents feel like they can trust their community manager, and the best way to get them to trust you is to let them get to know you! This can be especially important in Arizona, where so many residents may only live in the community seasonally.
But, let’s face it, they don’t want the information forced upon them. A “get to know me” text or email is so often ignored because a resident might feel like they don’t need to know.
This is why bulletin boards work. A small, eye-catching note is a non-intrusive way to introduce yourself. Try decorating one corner of the board with your name, information and a few fun facts. Maybe how long you’ve been in the community or some of your favorite things to do in the area. You can keep the notice up all year long or change seasonally, too, so your temporary residents see the information.
Residents will see it and start to think of you as a person they know rather than a scary authority figure and, therefore will feel more comfortable reaching out for essential communication!
Get to know your community.
Just as it’s helpful to your community to know you, it’s helpful for you to know your community. Who are the types of people who live in the communities? What do they like to do for fun? Where are they originally from?
You can learn all this and more by inviting residents to create their own small “get to know me” areas on the board. It’s just a fact of life that some people love to talk about themselves and would jump at the opportunity to put themselves out there in their community. Ask residents to share a photo of themself and a few facts. This will allow residents to see similarities and introduce themselves to you even better.
From there, you can understand more what kind of people live in your community, and from that, you can plan events based on your community’s real interests. Plan get together and events based on their interests. Then, you can use the board to post these events and other announcements. The people who don’t want to participate still can read the board and get to know others in the community.
Create connections among residents.
This is the most critical and valuable community-building aspect of a bulletin board. A bulletin board is a low-maintenance no-pressure way that you can bring your community together without even requiring a meeting or conversation.
Add colorful sticky notes and pens to (or near) the board to encourage posting. Then, encourage the members of your community to put up notes or fliers. Encourage them to ask questions on the board and receive anonymous answers! They might share art, poetry, jokes and inspirational quotes, anything that can be written on a scrap of paper and pinned to a board! You can start the conversation by modeling these practices, too!
In short, the best way to bring your community together is to give them optional access to each other. A bulletin board brings a community together!