The HOA Industry, like many other industries, is always changing because of the rapid evolution of technology. Imagine, before the widespread availability of the personal computer in the 1980’s, office employees had to carry out day-to-day business with a typewriter. Being a Millennial myself, I will never forget going to my mother’s office and hearing the woman who did CC&R enforcement clicking away on some oversized contraption. Growing up in the technological age, I could not even imagine trying to use a typewriter. One mistake and you have to hope you can white it out and type over it or you are forced to start over? In today’s fast-paced HOA management industry, it would be impossible to accomplish what we need to with older methods.
The same is true with the advancements in online technology. In a prior article, I mentioned the rise in HOAs utilizing online voting to conduct their annual elections. The great thing about online voting is that it is not limited to being used for elections only. It is very common for older associations to amend their governing documents to be in compliance with the everchanging laws that are in place. For many associations, an approval of two-thirds of the community is necessary to carry this out. If your board has ever tried to amend their documents, you are aware that this can be quite a daunting task to achieve with paper ballots. More than likely, you have a committee of volunteers dialing through the resident directory to get those votes in.
With the online voting feature, it is easier than ever to solicit member participation. With the AZCMS online voting service, an individual site is created just for your association. This makes it easier for homeowners to vote because they don’t have to navigate through a third-party site to find their association. We are also able to track the progress of each online voting campaign and compile reports in real-time. This allows the Board of Directors to have the latest information on how many votes have been cast, what the number of votes are for each proposed action and who has voted for each (unless it is a secret ballot). My favorite feature of our online voting service is that I can email all of the homeowners who have not voted yet. Whether it is a secret ballot or not, the system knows who has and has not voted and will only send out reminders to the ones who have not voted. This is a great tool because homeowners who already voted will not have to worry about getting duplicate reminders.
As if all of the aforementioned features are not amazing enough, online voting can also reduce the cost of the voting process for an HOA. For the most part, governing documents tend to be quite extensive, especially the Bylaws and CC&Rs, because there are a lot of topics to cover. Instead of using snail mail to send out large packets of the governing documents, a simple letter that explains where homeowners can vote and view the amended documents will suffice. What if a homeowner absolutely refuses to utilize an online voting service? That is completely fine. On the letter that goes out to the owners, we include instructions on how an owner can request for paper materials to be sent to them. This allows every homeowner to be able to vote however they choose.
I encourage you to find out more about the benefits and savings of using an online voting service. Contact me today at BBarnes@azcms.com or (480) 355-1190, ext. 114.
Bret Barnes, CMCA
Arizona Community Management Services, LLC