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There’s a very common saying, “families that play together stay together.” While an HOA community may not be biologically related, there is a sense of community and closeness that can develop. This is especially true when homeowners seek out an HOA to help protect their shared values and objectives related to where and how they live.

Not only can community engagement create lasting friendships and minimize neighbor conflict, it can create a successful HOA with proactive members who willingly volunteer and plan social events to keep those bonds strong.

Defining Community Engagement

Behind the concept of community engagement is the belief that everyone that may be impacted by a particular issue should be able to get involved in how to address that issue. With such participation comes a sense of ownership and pride, helping to improve the decisions that are made and potentially helping to find a better solution.

As a result, everyone affected by that issue is better off. There are many ways to help the communities you serve do this.

A Strategy for Community Engagement

As warm weather approaches, it is an ideal time to look for those activities that can generate greater community engagement. So many HOAs have found ways to make this engagement happen through in-person events.

This includes everything from a golf outing to support a particular charity, to community fairs tied to a particular topic such as health and wellness – or even outdoor festivities like movie nights, summer carnivals, and patriotic block parties. One of Innovia’s community members, Southern States Management Group, Inc. (SSMG), has found a great recipe to increase engagement among board members in the communities they manage.

A Positive Community Spirit

Jeffrey Annon, Vice President of Southern States Management Group, noted, “Focusing on community engagement has been a successful initiative for us. Our aim has been to develop programs and events that not only bring a community together to understand and appreciate each other more, but we also want to deliver something that provides exceptional value for their investment.”

He added, “Beyond amenities and good fiscal management, it’s important to show community members that they’re getting a return on investment in other ways. One of the best ways we have done that is through education and outreach programs.”

For example, Southern States Management group hosts an all-day event that includes various presentations from subject matter experts who represent multiple industries. This event also includes a Board Member Certification class that is mandated by the State of Florida. This event is open to anyone and everyone, such as current and past clients as well as others that may never be clients. Each year, these events take place at local premier venues that include country clubs, museums, yacht clubs, and more. Attendees enjoy catered food and beverages.

Annon further noted, “Although we don’t do any active ‘marketing’ or ‘sales’ at these events, they have significantly boosted our profile.” The last event included approximately 40 vendors and 300 attendees.

Southern States Management Group sees it as a win-win-win for everyone involved:

  • In return for a nominal fee, vendors get face time with decision makers (Board members). Vendors have noted that participating in these events is the most effective marketing dollars that they spend.
  • Board members can directly ask service providers questions. Plus, they get exposure to new vendors and enjoy some swag.
  • The company differentiates itself and the income generated from the events more than covers their marketing budget for the year, including personnel costs.

Giving Back Feels Good

Other events hosted by Southern States Management Group focus on activities built around corporate social responsibility. By giving back to communities and charitable organizations through golf events, the company raises money for a wonderful cause while also elevating its brand and reputation in the local areas where they manage HOA communities.

Again, working with vendors who sponsor these charitable events helps with funding and attracts more community members to participate. Everyone benefits and walks away knowing they’ve done some good, and has had the opportunity to build and/or maintain strong relationships within the communities served – and beyond.

Innovia is Here to Help

As a member of Innovia, you can truly benefit from the shared knowledge and best practices implemented by members like Southern States Management Group. Their example provides a solid business case for why you should focus on community engagement as a strategic initiative. Ready to join our co-op? Contact us today!