Attracting New Board Members Getting Residents to Run

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.”

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2 Comments

  • I appreciate the information provided. I would like to ask whether the issue of term limits for Board Members has ever been raised on any level. Thank you.
  • Lucila, I know our by laws inform us that a two year term is customary if elections take place every two years, providing we reach a quorum. If we do not reach a quorum then the team that was elected the previous year rolls over into the next year when we have an annual meeting. For example: I was elected at an annual meeting in person voting where we had a quorum. The following year was not an election year (we have elections every other year on the odd number year) so because it was not an election year we only had an information Annual meeting. The next year was an odd year and we did not reach a quorum therefore we did not vote. Lucila, if you read your offering plan & proprietary lease & confer with your mgmt. you will find the correct guidance for your co-op. Good Luck Joann