Fighting Apathy: New Members on Condo Association Boards


The goal of every Association is to provide a safe, secure, and financially solvent community for its Owners.  The vast majority of Associations succeed in this endeavor.  This makes it all the more disappointing when Boards break bad and you end up with horror stories in the news.  There are many drivers of what makes Boards break bad, and today we’ll touch on one of the greatest remedies: new members on Condo Association Boards.

Fatigue is Inevitable

Leading a community well is a big burden to carry.
Leading a community well is a big burden to carry.

Being a Condo Board member is a grueling job.  The hours can be rough, and you get more hate mail than fan mail by a factor of 10-to-1.  You will see the worst of humanity time and time again – everything from people who cheat rules their neighbors follow to abusive behavior towards Association employees.  The worst part is that it can seem like a petty, tyrannical Groundhog Day – the same stupid stuff, over and over.  

The result is that even the nicest, kindest person starts to get fatigued and burned out on a Board.  While they still will usually do the right thing, they may start to view Owners more suspiciously than when they started.  They might not be as eager to grant the benefit of the doubt.  When it affects just one or two Board members, this isn’t a big deal.  But when a majority, or even super-majority, begin to fall into this category, your risk factors go up a little.  You need new members on Condo Association Boards to keep the old guard from being burnt out and gloomy.

New Blood Revitalizes a Board

What helps fight this dynamic are new Board members.  Not because the old Board members are bad, but because new Board members who joined for the right reasons come with enthusiasm and energy.  If you’re running for the Board for the right reasons, you’re going to come in enthusiastic and excited.  That energy is infectious and drives others on the Board to work harder and be more motivated.  Good Board members don’t want to be seen as “no” people – they want to be the reminder to get to yes.  The synergy between the experienced veterans and the new members makes the whole greater than the parts.  

Boards that have been together for a long time can be like a married couple – even with good chemistry, they know each other well.  New members on Condo Association Boards helps mix up that dynamic and keeps things exciting and fresh.  

Actively Seek New Members

You must help cultivate and seek out new members.
You must help cultivate and seek out new members.

The amount of turnover varies wildly in communities.  There are many factors, including the average age of an Association’s members.  Somewhat dated information shows that Condo Owners tend to move twice as often as homeowners.  This likely indicates higher turnover in Condo Associations.  Turnover is an excellent opportunity for an Association to seek out new involved Owners to recruit.  The best way is to leverage networks – just because you’re on the Board doesn’t mean you shouldn’t have an Owner network!  Seek out and encourage the right people to join.  

Fighting Apathy is Everyone’s Job

A Board that has the same long-serving members isn’t automatically headed for trouble.  But it does mean that you’ve got a group of people who likely aren’t as enthusiastic about the job as they were when they started.  Owners need to be involved and seek the Board seat.  Board members need to use their positions to help foster an open environment which encourages participation.  Ultimately, new members on Condo Association Boards helps keep an Association energized, excited, and doing the best it can for its Owners.  

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