We're all familiar with the New Year's tradition of coming up with resolutions. While we typically associate making New Year's resolutions at the individual level, these can also be made on a community level!
If you're a leader within your community, we recommend sitting down with your peers and brainstorming some New Year's resolutions you can implement for your community. This will not only inspire the change you'd like to see but will also be a checkpoint you can review throughout the year to make sure you're taking intentional action towards bettering your community.
In the case you're unsure of the types of resolutions you'd like to create for your community, we've provided seven suggestions below to help you get started!
1. Upgrade organization
Is your community currently functioning where one member has last month's meeting minutes saved on their computer, another has the governing documents, the treasurer has the budgets on theirs, but none of it is all in one place? If so, it's time to rethink how you can organize this information, so it’s easily accessible to everyone who needs it.
Instead of having this information spread across various members and devices, we recommend uploading those documents to your community website where they'll be centrally located, readily available, and thoughtfully organized. When your documents are easy to find, your community will be more knowledgeable and in sync by having that information at hand.
For ideas on how you can organize the documents on your website, be sure to check out our "Creating an effective community documents archive" blog post later!
2. Establish efficiency
If you've noticed productivity isn't currently a strong point within the community, finding ways to streamline some of your processes will be key in improving this.
For instance, if you're currently collecting member dues via mailed checks, this likely isn't the most efficient process since you’ll need to wait to receive the check, manually record the payment, track the payments, etc. A way you could streamline this process is to implement online payments, where all of that would be taken care of for you!
Another easy way you can increase efficiency in your community is through how members submit forms. Instead of having them pick up a paper version of the form, you can create online forms they can submit digitally.
Recreate your forms with the "Custom Form" page, so members can fill out and submit them directly from your website. The member will need to go through less hassle of picking up the form, filling it out, and sending it in, and the recipients will receive the form more quickly—a win for everyone involved!
You can also increase your community's productivity by delegating certain tasks. Administrators can do this on the website by adding some trusted individuals as page editors. With this editing privilege, they’ll have access to keeping specific pages up-to-date and relevant. This is especially useful if you have pages for certain committees or clubs, as the chairs of those groups can be in charge of updating that information without needing to go through an administrator.
3. Commit to transparency
An important aspect of managing a community is building trust with the members, and this will require keeping them in the loop about what's going on. If you're currently experiencing low member engagement in the community, check in to see if you're doing a thorough job of keeping your members in the know. If not, an easy way you can start to be more transparent with them is by sending out emails or newsletters about updates and changes in the community.
In the case you currently only have closed meetings, consider hosting more open meetings where all members are welcome to attend. After the meeting, hold a Q&A session for your members to clarify points of confusion, or to request additional information on specific topics.
Another way to implement transparency is by allowing members to share feedback with community leadership. Whether they’re concerned about a project the board is undertaking, or want to let you know what a great job you’re doing, they need to have a place where they can communicate their thoughts.
To do this, we recommend adding a "Contact Form" page to your website, where members can submit their feedback and questions directly to the board.
4. Stop procrastinating
Year-to-year there always seems to be a list of projects that never seem to happen. Whether it’s giving the clubhouse a fresh coat of paint, replacing a broken fence, hiring a new vendor, the list goes on. However, this year, resolve to take those projects off the back burner and finish them!
If a project seems too daunting, break it down into bite-sized tasks, and create a plan for when you'll complete them. This will help create the momentum to help you finish them, and will bring you one step closer to crossing them off your list!
5. Create an emergency plan
If your community doesn’t already have a plan in place for how to handle the possibility of an emergency, don’t wait any longer to establish one. Natural disasters can strike at any time, so you want to make sure your community is as prepared as possible! You can find more tips on establishing an emergency plan here.
6. Boost volunteerism
A common New Year’s resolution is to volunteer more. So give your members the push they need to implement this by informing them of the various ways they can volunteer within your community! Creating new committees and clubs, revitalizing existing ones with new members and ideas, and asking for additional help with upcoming events are all great ways to involve your members.
Also, be sure to communicate the value they’d be adding by volunteering, and what you’ll need from them ahead of time. This way, members can select the volunteer opportunity that works best for them, and they’ll feel more motivated to continue with it when they know their contributions are appreciated.
7. Implement new traditions
You likely have traditions within your family that you look forward to each year, and you can create these for your community as well! Hosting seasonal or holiday events is a great starting point for creating new traditions within the community. Have the social committee brainstorm events that can be hosted to celebrate each season, like an annual 4th of July barbeque, fall festival, or holiday bake-off.
After each event, gather feedback from your members to learn what worked and how they can be improved the following year. Remember, traditions are built over time. So be creative, and experiment to find out which events your members enjoyed most and would like to attend year-after-year.
With the above ideas in mind, gather a few members and brainstorm at least three New Year’s resolutions you'd like to implement in the coming year. Afterward, you should feel inspired and motivated to walk into the New Year and create the positive changes you'd like to see in your community!