These days, there’s no shortage of articles in magazines, newspapers, and online about how time-crunched most people feel. Between work, family obligations, long commutes, and a vast array of other factors vying for attention and precious minutes, getting anybody to devote still more time (without compensation, no less) to their building’s administration can be a very tough sell.
It’s hard to attract new board members, and can be hard to hold onto them once you’ve got them. The best board members are involved volunteers with a vested, active interest in the well-being of their building community—people who can make balanced, well-thought-out decisions that are in the best interest of the building community as a whole. That can be a tall order, however. So how can a building attract and keep the best board members? Turns out the answer is a little more nuanced than tacking a flyer up on a cork-board by the front door.
Finding people willing to serve on their community’s board is tough—doubly so if the building in question is small. Fewer residents obviously means a smaller pool of prospective board members, and less social padding between neighbors who have differing opinions on building administration, or who simply don’t get along with each other.
Bruce Anglin, president of the board at Canterbury Woods Condominiums in Old Bridge, New Jersey, says that getting people to serve on the board can be a real challenge. “We’re a small community; we only have 28 units,” he says. “We’re supposed to have five board members, but last year we were down to two—so we had to appoint one in order to comply with state regulations. We had an annual meeting, but only 12 people showed up, so it seems that people are content to ‘let the other guy do it,’ so to speak.”
Overcoming apathy among residents is perhaps the biggest challenge when it comes to populating a board. Considering that a willingness to engage in the day-to-day running of one’s building is one of the most (if not the most) important trait for a prospective board member to possess, apathy among residents can spell frustration when it comes time to draft a new round of community administrators.