Next to the Board of Directors, Condo Association Committees have a significant impact on an Association. They are extremely valuable for both the Board and Owners. For the Board, they serve as a mechanism to pursue important, but lower priority projects. For Owners, they are a way to directly contribute to the Association without the pressure and stress of being on the Board. Committees are typically identified in an Association’s governing documents, such as the Bylaws. Due to a variety of factors, such as apathy, often Associations do not have fully operational Committees. An involved Owner might wish to start a Condo Association Committee as a way to get involved and contribute.
Step 1: Talk to the Board and Build a Plan
The first step to start a Condo Association Committee is to talk to the Board of Directors to identify why the Committee is not operational and if the Board wants to reactivate it. A Board may not be interested in restarting a Committee for a variety of reasons. Chances are, however, that they’ll be delighted that someone wants to take the helm and help out.
Once you establish that the Board is interested, the next step is to discuss with them what you believe the Committee should do. For example, if you have a defunct Communications Committee, you might propose a quarterly Owner newsletter that the Committee will write and the Board will approve. Remember, a Condo Association Committee needs to focus on projects that benefit the community as a whole, and not individual Owners preferentially.
You should make sure you have a very clear understanding of the Board’s expectations of the Committee you’re trying to form and what the Committee is responsible for. For example, the Board may want to approve any outputs of the Committee, which is a reasonable request. It is better for everyone to understand the ground rules going in to avoid frustrations later.
Step 2: Recruit Members to Your Committee
The next step is probably the hardest. You need to recruit other Owners to join your Committee. Typically you’ll need at least three people total, but your Bylaws may vary. You should ask your Board for assistance in recruiting Owners, and use whatever communications mechanisms your community has to reach out. In reality, your best bet is going to be talking to Owners you already have a relationship with and convincing them to join. Having an established network of Owners can help in this process significantly.
Step 3: Get to Work!
The final step to start a Condo Association Committee is to get to work, which can be trickier than it sounds. Here are three ideas to get you started on the right track:
First, the most important thing for a new Committee is to start meeting consistently and keeping good meeting minutes. Just like your monthly Condo Board meeting should be a regular occurrence, so should your Committee meeting. Next, when you begin to pick projects, start with some that are modest and easy to accomplish. You want to establish an initial track record of productivity before you try to tackle grander projects. Finally, keep in good communication with the Board. Make sure they know what you’re doing and why, and that you’re both on the same page. You want them to trust you and see that you’re adding value to the Association and making their lives easier, not harder.
Helping start a Condo Association Committee is a great contribution to your community that can be highly rewarding. You also have the benefit of being able to focus on community projects that are frankly more fun than the grind of being a Board member. So take a step in leading a better condo life and start up a Committee in your Association today!