Condo Media - January 2018 - 28

Recruiting Volunteers
Requires a Different Approach
"People are just angrier today,"
Keegan says. They are also "less patient" and quicker to criticize, he said.
The internet, email, and smartphones
give owners instant access to information, he notes, and leads them to
expect instant responses to questions
and instant solutions to problems.
When those expectations aren't met,
owners often lash out-angrily and not
always respectfully-at managers and
board members.
"A PERFECT PETRI DISH"
The criticism of boards and managers
isn't new, but the harsher edge around
it is. Industry executives think it reflects the strident, hyper-partisanship
vividly on display in the political
sphere, and in society. "Condominium
communities are a perfect petri
dish," Julie Adamen, a condominium

Social media empowers people to
speak their minds, Adamen says. But
equally important, she believes, these
platforms convince people that their
views are not only important, but
more important, more valuable, and
more worth hearing than the views
of others. As a result, "people don't
listen," Adamen says, and that can
make for contentious, unpleasant, and
unproductive board meetings.
It is at board meetings that owners
are most likely to form an impression
of what serving on the board would be
like, Adamen notes. If the meetings
aren't run well, if they last too long,
if discussions degenerate frequently
into disputes, if owners see trustees at
odds with each other and lambasted
by owners, it's not hard to understand
why they would be more inclined to
laugh, or run, than to volunteer.

The pitch to millennials should also emphasize the
valuable contribution they can make, but it should
emphasize as much-and perhaps more-that the
experience of serving on the board will be valuable
and rewarding for them.
consultant who writes and lectures
extensively on association issues,
observes. "They are a microcosm for
what's happening in society."
Adamen thinks social media has
exacerbated the anger problem by
removing the filters that used to create boundaries between what people
thought and what they said. "People
hide behind email, and Twitter, and
Facebook. They can be as nasty as they
want in their pajamas," she says. That
nastiness is often on display in board
meetings and outside of them, in the
way trustees interact with each other
and in the way owners interact with
the board.

28

CONDOMEDIA

"People want to be involved in
something positive," Adamen says.
"And most owners don't view service
on the association board as a positive
experience." These negative perceptions aside-but not very far aside-
many owners expect others to handle
everything for them (that's why they
purchased condominiums); and most
lead busy, overscheduled lives. It is
easy for them to find reasons they
can't volunteer to serve on boards or
committees, and difficult to convince
them that they can or should.
FINDING THE RIGHT PITCH
The operative word is "convince."

If boards want to persuade owners
to serve (a good idea, unless current
board members want to serve forever),
they must sell owners on the desirability of volunteering, and they should
tailor their sales pitch differently for
different age groups.
Younger owners-millennials, primarily-who represent an increasing
percentage of condo owners, are building both families and careers, leaving
them with little free time, which they
guard jealously. To reach this group,
Keegan says, "you have to convince
them that serving on the board isn't so
all-encompassing that it will consume
their life. You have to show them that
it's not as much work as they fear."
Many owners envision endless
monthly meetings, stacks of reports to
read, phone calls to return and emails
to answer, requiring hours of attention
every week. But that's not necessarily
the case, Keegan says. "If the community is well-organized and well-run
and if the board is functional, serving
on the board really does not require a
lot of work. Board meetings don't have
to be endless," he says, "and all boards
don't have to meet every month."
That argument is more persuasive,
he says, in communities that have
professional managers than in selfmanaged communities, where the
work load for trustees can be oppressive. "Some self-managed communities approach us for help when board
members are stepping down and they
can't find anyone to replace them,"
Keegan notes. And sometimes those
departing trustees will decide to stay
on when he tells them, "We'll be able
to take over a lot of the heavy lifting."
The time commitment that can
discourage millennials is often less
of a concern for older owners. "In
55-and-over communities, we often
have people coming out of the woodwork wanting to help," Keegan notes.
But while older residents without the
responsibilities of young children and
jobs may have more free time, they
also have many options for using it. So,
they must be convinced that serving



Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Condo Media - January 2018

Table of Contents
Condo Media - January 2018 - Intro
Condo Media - January 2018 - Cover1
Condo Media - January 2018 - Cover2
Condo Media - January 2018 - Table of Contents
Condo Media - January 2018 - 2
Condo Media - January 2018 - 3
Condo Media - January 2018 - 4
Condo Media - January 2018 - 5
Condo Media - January 2018 - 6
Condo Media - January 2018 - 7
Condo Media - January 2018 - 8
Condo Media - January 2018 - 9
Condo Media - January 2018 - 10
Condo Media - January 2018 - 11
Condo Media - January 2018 - 12
Condo Media - January 2018 - 13
Condo Media - January 2018 - 14
Condo Media - January 2018 - 15
Condo Media - January 2018 - 16
Condo Media - January 2018 - 17
Condo Media - January 2018 - 18
Condo Media - January 2018 - 19
Condo Media - January 2018 - 20
Condo Media - January 2018 - 21
Condo Media - January 2018 - 22
Condo Media - January 2018 - 23
Condo Media - January 2018 - 24
Condo Media - January 2018 - 25
Condo Media - January 2018 - 26
Condo Media - January 2018 - 27
Condo Media - January 2018 - 28
Condo Media - January 2018 - 29
Condo Media - January 2018 - 30
Condo Media - January 2018 - 31
Condo Media - January 2018 - 32
Condo Media - January 2018 - 33
Condo Media - January 2018 - 34
Condo Media - January 2018 - 35
Condo Media - January 2018 - 36
Condo Media - January 2018 - 37
Condo Media - January 2018 - 38
Condo Media - January 2018 - 39
Condo Media - January 2018 - 40
Condo Media - January 2018 - 41
Condo Media - January 2018 - 42
Condo Media - January 2018 - 43
Condo Media - January 2018 - 44
Condo Media - January 2018 - 45
Condo Media - January 2018 - 46
Condo Media - January 2018 - 47
Condo Media - January 2018 - 48
Condo Media - January 2018 - 49
Condo Media - January 2018 - 50
Condo Media - January 2018 - 51
Condo Media - January 2018 - 52
Condo Media - January 2018 - 53
Condo Media - January 2018 - 54
Condo Media - January 2018 - 55
Condo Media - January 2018 - 56
Condo Media - January 2018 - 57
Condo Media - January 2018 - 58
Condo Media - January 2018 - 59
Condo Media - January 2018 - 60
Condo Media - January 2018 - 61
Condo Media - January 2018 - 62
Condo Media - January 2018 - 63
Condo Media - January 2018 - 64
Condo Media - January 2018 - Cover3
Condo Media - January 2018 - Cover4
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