Fighting Apathy: Identifying Great Condo Board Member Candidates

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Condo Association Boards have an extremely challenging job when it comes to running their Associations.  They have substantial control over finances and the direction a community goes.  The fear of breaking bad – and resulting horror stories – is very real.  Good Board members hold things in check and grow a community.  In most Condo Associations, a Board has five, seven, or maybe even (God help you) more members.  Most business in a Condo is conducted with a majority vote. What this means is that while you might have five Board members, it only takes three to screw things up badly, which means that every single vote counts – you’re only one bad Board member from disaster.  To combat this, you need to make sure you are keeping a strong pipeline of great Condo Board member candidates.  

Identify Sources of Great Condo Board Member Candidates

Press gangs are NOT the way to get great condo board member candidates.
Press gangs are NOT the way to get great condo board member candidates.

Great Board members don’t grow on trees, unfortunately.  Given the high level of apathy or disinterest in many communities, it is critical that Boards foster engagement and involvement among Owners.  You have several groups of possible recruits: involved Owners, Committee members and Committee chairs.  All of these individuals are potential recruits for the future of your Association.  

What Makes Great Condo Board Member Candidates

There are several factors that separate a bad Board member from a great one.  The first is enthusiasm.  You need someone who is willing to embrace volunteer work and understands what it entails.  Many people conceptually are interested in volunteering, but once the real work starts, they burn out or lose interest.  Committee members and involved Owners will prove their track record.  You’ll see them show up to events, participate, and generally contribute to the community.  That’s an important factor.

The second is quality of work.  When someone is on a Committee, you’ll be able to see if they can actually produce.  It’s one thing to show up to an event; it’s another to be the person who built a plan, presented it to the Board, got it approved, and then executed it.  As veteran Board members know, it’s not just about having ideas – it’s about execution.  

The final factor is the ability of a Board member to play well with others.  Condo Associations are small worlds.  Who is nice and who is a jerk gets around.  If you are vaguely paying attention to your community, you’ll have a good idea of who would be good to serve with.  

Ways to Screen Condo Board Member Candidates

This is one way to screen candidates. Also not the best way.
This is one way to screen candidates. Also not the best way.

Having a strong pipeline of candidates is the best way to be proactive with prospective Board members.  You are going to need to screen prospective Board members.  Board members can join a Board two primary ways – They can apply and run during an election cycle, or they can be nominated to serve if there is an out-of-cycle Board vacancy.  In both cases, the principles are similar.  

For elections, most Condo Associations will ask for some sort of written materials from a candidate, like an application or a statement of their positions.  You also might host a meet-and-greet event.  

Take both of these opportunities seriously.  Even if the Board member candidate is running unopposed, it’s important to review what they’ve submitted.  If you have questions, show up to the meet-and-greet and ask them questions.  Get an understanding of why they want to join the Board.  If they’re running unopposed, you may not have much latitude, but at least you’ll know what you’re working with.  

Every Condo Board Member Counts

You need to ensure that you’ve got good people who want to be involved in the Condo Association.  Without great Condo Board member candidates, no matter how great your leadership is today, it can all be ruined by a bad Board making bad decisions.  It may seem like yet another burden for an already busy Board, but recruiting great talent of like-minded positive people is one of the best things you can do to fight apathy.  


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