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Cultivating a strong sense of community

Cultivating a strong sense of community

As a member of the HOA, your responsibilities go beyond enforcing rules and regulations. In fact, of arguably far more importance is your standing as a community leader. Your attitude and outlook has potential to shape the way others feel and act. You have the responsibility—and the power—to create the culture and bring people together, as well.

We’ve put together a list of simple things you can do to cultivate a sense of belonging among the other members of your community.

Create common spaces. Some HOAs have buildings dedicated to their use. If yours is one of them, look for ways you can make the space inviting. It can double as practical and stylish, with sofas and easy chairs to create a comfortable and casual meeting space open for resident use. Let community members know it’s available for use for formal meetings or for individual or group use. It could be a great place for residents to spend some leisure time outside of their home without having to travel too far. Likewise, an outdoor community area furnished with picnic tables or garden-style seating can serve the same purpose. Perhaps include a grill or an outdoor fire pit.

Find a spot within your community boundaries — either indoors or outdoors is fine — to house a bulletin board or information station. This can serve as the go-to spot for collective announcements for events within your own neighborhoods or in the community at large. Encourage residents to post information others may find useful, such as job ads or items for sale. Monitor the shared information to be sure it is current and applicable to residents, and consider decorating the board/station with a monthly or seasonal theme.

Plan social events. Gatherings allow community members to create and nurture relationships with one another. Foster this by providing frequent opportunities, maybe monthly or quarterly, for residents to get together. This is a great way to welcome new neighbors and create memories together. There are endless social event options, many of which are budget-friendly or free!

Consider encouraging game nights, potlucks, movie nights or book clubs. Don’t forget to include holiday or seasonally-themed parties like pumpkin carving in the fall, making heart-shaped cookies in February or decorating gingerbread houses during the month of December. Residents can take turns hosting and planning events. You may want to form special committees and ask residents to join, like party committees or welcoming committees that rotate hosting and planning events. It’s a great way to get everyone involved!

Plant a community garden. Gardening is an affordable activity that all ages can partake in, especially once the growth is visible! Are there unused areas in your neighborhood? Consider transforming such a space into a flower garden, a vegetable garden or both. The sky is the limit! This is a great way to get neighbors involved in a shared project.

If you do not have any available space, seek out neighbors that may have large or unused yards. They may want to designate part of their land for the project.

Seek and be receptive to feedback. Neighbors should see the HOA as a leadership group that betters the community and fosters a sense of belonging. Look for opportunities for dialogue between HOA leaders and residents. Interactions should be genuine, friendly and warm. Do your best to introduce yourself to and get to know the community members. What you don’t want is to be limited to interacting with others only in ways that may be perceived as negative (like sending letters of HOA violations, for instance).

Lastly, be sure to let residents know that their voices matter. Consider holding regular community meetings and remind residents that participation in the HOA organization can establish and nurture a sense of belonging. Allow neighbors an open forum to voice concerns. Encourage suggestions to better the community, as well. You might be surprised about the ideas individuals have! This can also double as another great social event.

Try incorporating one or several of these tips into your HOA. Even small acts can bring neighbors together and foster a stronger sense of community to enhance well-being and happiness.

At PMI Phoenix Valley, we proudly commit ourselves to customizing our services to meet the needs of each community we manage. We serve the Phoenix area, including Surprise, Glendale, Litchfield Park, Peoria, Avondale, Scottsdale, Fountain Hills, Tempe and Paradise Valley.

If we can help answer any questions related to association management services, or otherwise, please give us a call at (623) 246-4891 or schedule a consultation.