Homeowners’ association (HOA) events are a great way to get the community together and build camaraderie with one another. If done properly, HOA community events can encourage more interaction and even decrease conflict between homeowners. Planning a community event can be difficult since you need a lot of planning and preparation. Here are some helpful tips on how to plan a HOA community event successfully:
How to Plan a HOA Community Event: Brainstorming Ideas
HOA event planning is crucial if you want a successful community get-together. Before sending out the invitations though, you first need to brainstorm ideas for your upcoming community HOA party. Consider this the first phase in the HOA party planning process.
1. Form a Committee
Some HOAs already have a specific committee assigned to handle event planning. If your community does not have one, now will be a good time to create your own committee. A designated committee ensures that you have enough manpower to accomplish all the tasks before, during, and after the HOA community events. Having a group of people together also makes the brainstorming phase more manageable.
Throughout the entire party-planning process, it’s also good to have monthly and/or weekly meetings. Regular updates from committee members will allow you to track your progress, as well as identify aspects that need further attention.
2. Choose a Theme
An overall theme will dictate all the other aspects of your HOA community event. That’s why it’s important to settle on the theme right at the start. You want to pick one that generates a lot of interest from the community. Otherwise, the HOA may struggle with attendance at your event.
If you are having a hard time choosing a theme, here are some ideas to consider:
Use the time of the year as a motivator for ideas. For example, in the summertime, you could have live music, cookouts, or a swimming party that gets everyone in a vacation mood. Plus, these types of activities help everyone relax and enjoy each other’s company.
Don’t forget the holidays in December. This is the best time to really take it up a notch. You can have a band play holiday-themed music, a decorate-your-own-cookie table for the kids, and even invite Santa to take pictures and hear Christmas wishes.
- Celebrate a Good Cause
You can plan a fun event for community members while also adding a good cause. This will give the homeowners the opportunity to bring donations for charity or organization in need. Examples include a charity auction, a fundraiser for a little league sports team in the area, or a raffle where ticket sales are donated. It should be a cause that the entire community feels passionate about helping.
When choosing a theme, you also want to consider the lifestyles of your homeowners. If you have a family-oriented community, you might want to host a community event with a lot of family-friendly activities. For a community with seniors, you might want to host bingo night, painting lessons, or health classes.
It’s natural to have varied interests among your residents. Try offering different types of events that cater to these interests, such as yoga classes for athletic residents, a social hour for professionals, or carnivals for families with children.
- Ask the Homeowners
If you have a hard time narrowing down your choices, you can always ask input from the homeowners. Since the event is catered for them specifically, it’s best to listen to what they have to say. You take a survey or a poll to determine which theme is most popular. Accommodate their suggestions as well. You might hear something that you haven’t considered previously.
When choosing a theme, just make sure to create a warm and inviting atmosphere so that everyone — regardless of their preferences of interests — will be encouraged to come and have a good time.
3. Location, Location, Location
To host a community HOA event successfully, you need to choose the right location. It should be appropriate for your chosen theme. The event space should also be able to accommodate the number of guests you are expecting. Other considerations include your electrical needs, availability of restrooms, parking capacity, and security personnel.
If you are hosting the event outside the HOA, check the rules and regulations of your chosen location. Make sure that the space can accommodate all your party needs. Check your insurance policy if it will cover outside events or if you need supplemental coverage. This will protect you in case of accidents or injuries.
4. Date and Time
Just like location, the date and time of your upcoming HOA community event should be in line with the overall theme. You should also check the weather forecasts to ensure that your chosen date and time will not be affected by possible storms or other extreme weather conditions.
5. Plan the Budget
Budget is one of the most important considerations when planning a community event. Most HOAs allocate a part of their annual budget for social events. Planning the budget well in advance helps ensure that you have enough money in your accounts for community events.
If funds are tight, you can consider charging a small fee to each attendee. This will help cover additional costs. Just make sure to stick to your budget and keep detailed accounts of where the funds have gone.
To offset costs, you may also want to tap resources within the community. If you have homeowners who have connections to businesses or vendors, they can reach out on your behalf and ask for discounted rates. There may also be residents who are willing to sponsor the event, provide donations, or even just volunteer their time. All of these will help ease the financial burden involved in hosting an HOA party.
How to Plan a HOA Community Event: Advertise Properly
Lack of attendance at your previous HOA community events could be due to a lack of promotion. Advertising properly, and well in advance, is one of the best ways to guarantee attendance at your upcoming community HOA party. You should send out promotional materials to drum up interest and convince homeowners to attend.
Here’s how to advertise your HOA community event:
- Create Promotional Material
Create posters, flyers, or invitations for the HOA community event that you are planning. It doesn’t have to be extravagant. Promotional materials can be simple. Just make sure that these invites convey the theme of your event and have consistent messaging across the board.
- Provide Information
Invites for your HOA community even should provide all pertinent information such as the Who, What, Where, and When. Include additional information that might be useful for the homeowners. For example, provide the appropriate attire, list any items that they need to bring, if there are fees to be collected, etc. If homeowners know everything they need to know, they will have an easier time enjoying the event.
- Distribute Promotional Material
You want everyone in the community to know that you are planning an event. Put up posters on the community board in your shared spaces. Distribute flyers to residents. You can even hand-deliver the invitations to the homeowners for a personal approach.
An alternative would be to send out your invitations or postcards through email. You can also promote the event on your community’s social media accounts. You can try other methods of communication too. What’s important is that you make everyone aware of the upcoming event.
- Promote Well in Advance
The committee shouldn’t be the only ones who know of the community events in advance. You want the homeowners to know about them too. They’ll be able to put the event in their calendars early on and avoid having conflicting schedules.
Staple events like the holiday party are expected, but for newer events, you want to promote them even months ahead of time. Gauging the community’s interest will even help you narrow or broaden the scope of the event you’re planning.
Then, weeks and days ahead of the event, you want to ramp up promotions. Issue reminders for those who may have forgotten about the event.
How to Plan a HOA Community Event: Figure Out the Logistics
After all that planning and preparation, it’s finally the day of your community event. This is when you’ll be able to see the fruits of your labor. Before you celebrate though, you need to make sure that everything is set in place.
For any event, it’s good to have a person-in-charge who will oversee the operations. Each committee member should have an assignment as well. This ensures that all aspects of the event will be taken care of.
Days before the event, contact all your vendors. Provide them with the place, date, and time of the event. Ask them to come in early so that they have adequate time to set up. You should also allocate enough time after the event for the breakdown of equipment, clean up, and settling of bills.
Keep in mind, as a board or committee member, you are part of the community too! So, don’t forget to have a good time at the event as well.
How to Plan a HOA Community Event: Consider Best Practices
There are also best practices that you might want to consider when hosting a community event in your HOA. These guidelines will allow you to take appropriate action and prevent things from getting out of control.
- Confirm Source of Funding
You need to confirm the source of funding when putting on a community event. It might seem obvious that the funds will be coming from the HOA directly, but you might get push-back from residents who think that’s poor use of HOA funds.
It’s also important to check state laws about HOA-funded parties. They might be prohibited. But even if they aren’t, check with members first by holding a vote about who will fund the party. Another option could be having those planning to attend the community party contribute a special assessment to help cover the costs.
- Consider Alcohol Use
Although alcohol is often an enjoyable part of parties, it can be abused and cause problems. That’s why it’s always good to impose a drink limit. Before you decide whether it’s reasonable to prohibit or control the use of alcohol at community events, check with your HOA’s insurance to make sure that you’ll be protected from any damage done by an intoxicated person on your property.
- Find Out What Works and What Doesn’t
Your board should maintain a continual analysis of past events. This will help determine which ones should be attempted again, and which should be scrapped. Go over events afterward and look at the numbers. How many residents attended? How much money per person did the event cost? Did everyone have fun? Answering these questions can help you figure out which events are successful, and which are not.
- Consider Input From HOA Management
Planning a HOA community event can be very taxing and time-consuming — especially if you’re not really sure about what you’re doing. If you have any questions on how to plan a HOA community event, you may want to consider input from your HOA management company. They have expertise in planning and running successful community events. Having a HOA manager take charge can also relieve a lot of the burden on the board and committee members.
The Benefits of Successful HOA Community Events
Well-planed events that cater to your community can bring everyone together. It can create positive relationships — both between the HOA and its residents, as well as between residents themselves. Creating an active and fun community also helps attract new HOA members who want to be part of the camaraderie you’ve created. With these useful tips and best practices, you now know how to plan a HOA community event successfully. You’re finally on the right track to making your next big event a great one!