Communication with your members is so important and email is a valuable tool, but miscommunication can easily occur. These DOs and DON'Ts will help you successfully communicate with your board and members.
DO Create a Board Email Policy
Homeowners may think that sending you a three-page email outlining all of their grievances is a good way to make their voices heard. But just because you have received an email does not obligate you to answer. If a homeowner took the time to write a lengthy email, it is probably best to find time to talk with the homeowner. Many times emails get lost in translation. People do expect an immediate response to emails. So as a board practice, we recommend responding immediately to let the homeowner know that their email was received. Then let them know that the HOA Board will review their request or complaint at the next meeting.
DON’T Use Your Personal Email
It is a good idea to use an email that is used for your HOA business. All of your communications are in one location making it easier to find conversations related to the HOA.
If your HOA is involved in litigation and you have been using your personal email address for HOA communications, you may have to produce your personal emails along with the HOA emails as part of discovery.
DO Be Careful What You Say
Assume that anything you put in an email can be presented in a court of law. Keep your opinions out of emails and stick to business only.
DON’T Make Board Decisions through Email
Check your bylaws and your state’s specific regulations governing the use of email. Most likely, a meeting is required for most decisions.
Be careful that board discussions don’t turn into board decisions.
DO Create a Communication Plan
Your homeowners will want to stay informed of meetings, events, and other information. However, if too many communications are sent, they may feel inundated. Choose how often to send emails and try to stick to it.
DON’T Send Out an Email Angry
It is easy to write up and angry email in the moment but there could be consequences if you send it. Stick to the old rule and wait a little while to reread and send it after you’ve cooled down.
Used properly, email can be an excellent communication tool. Plan ahead and make a plan on how and when to use email for your HOA.