With so many people leading busy, sometimes hectic lives that revolve around work, kids, social functions, and other obligations, it's often very difficult for co-op, condo, and HOA administrators to find residents willing and able to serve their community as a board members (or 'directors' or 'trustees,' depending on what part of the country you're in).
Board members are unpaid volunteers, and the job can sometimes seem like a thankless task—but having a complete, competent, committed board is crucial to running a solvent, functional building or association. Let’s look at what buildings are doing to attract new board members—and retain them once they're appointed or voted onto the board.
Assessment: What Makes a
Good Board Member
“It’s difficult to find the right people to serve on boards,” says Ellen Kornfeld, vice president of The Lovett Group in College Point, “and it’s also hard to get certain board members off the board.”
There are the wrong people who serve on a board for the wrong reasons; the wrong people who serve for the right reasons; the right people who serve for the wrong reasons; and the right people who serve for the right reasons. While you might hope to assemble a crack team of number fours, if you have a board comprised of number threes, you’re still ahead of the game.
According to the pros, what makes a good board member is, first and foremost, the ability to put aside personal interests to act for the greater good. “A selfless person,” Kornfeld says. “One who’s more interested in being a fiduciary of a building than in acting in his or her own interest.” In 2015 New York—and probably in every city in every era—such individuals are in short supply. “It’s hard to find selflessness today. I’m finding that it’s more and more difficult for people to be a little bit objective and to think in terms of the betterment of the majority as opposed to the individual.”