Living in a homeowners association comes with several perks, one of which is getting to attend HOA community events. Social events are a good way to increase owner participation and instill a sense of community among residents. Many associations, though, don’t know the first thing about planning them.
What Are HOA Community Events?
A community event is exactly what it sounds like. It is a function or get-together for residents of a particular HOA neighborhood. While HOA community events typically celebrate an occasion, they can also take place for no reason at all. In fact, many communities hold events just to get residents to socialize.
The Importance of HOA Events
Community events can be very beneficial for an association. For one thing, they help bring residents together and encourage them to mingle. This, in turn, fosters a sense of community and camaraderie among them. When residents get along, the neighborhood is a happier and more harmonious place to live in.
Another benefit of hosting community events is engagement. If you have trouble increasing community engagement in your HOA, an event is a great way to start. Many homeowners don’t want to attend board meetings, so they don’t get a chance to get to know the board or each other. At an event, homeowners can meet the board and their neighbors.
When you boost HOA community engagement in events, owners are more likely to participate in other association activities. It may encourage residents to attend annual and board meetings or even volunteer for HOA leadership.
Finally, HOA events can make the community a more attractive place to call home. Potential homeowners might be more drawn to a tight-knit community than one where neighbors don’t even know each other. Simply put, events add appeal to an association.
How to Plan for an HOA Event
Planning an event can be overwhelming if you’ve never done it before. Fortunately, there are some steps you can take to ensure a smoother experience for everyone involved.
1. Establish a Social Committee
Forming a social committee is the first step to HOA community event planning. While the HOA board can plan events on its own, delegating the task to a separate committee can encourage homeowners to volunteer. Plus, board members don’t always have enough time for event planning.
2. Choose an Event Type or Theme
What type of event do you want to plan? Is there going to be a theme? These are the questions the social committee must ask at the beginning of every project.
There are many event types to choose from. Clubhouse parties are a classic and don’t take much to organize. Special or large-scale events, such as carnivals and festivals, tend to need more time and resources. Choose an event that best fits your demographic, space, and budget.
3. Select a Venue
Speaking of space, every good event should have a venue. Parties and dinners can take place at the community clubhouse or a local restaurant. If you have a community pool, a pool party works great. Select a venue large enough to accommodate all activities and attendees.
4. Pinpoint a Date and Time
Next, choose a date and time for the event. Obviously, for holiday events or special occasions, the event should take place on or close to the actual date. Christmas parties, for instance, usually happen in December. Taking a resident survey before pinpointing a date and time is a good idea. This way, you have an idea of how many people will turn up.
5. Create a Budget
The HOA board usually prepares a budget for the year and sets aside an amount for social events. Social committees typically have to work within this amount, which comes from regular dues. The budget will also influence the number of events you can plan for the year. A larger budget means you can have a larger or several smaller events.
6. Contact Vendors
Some events will need vendors. For example, a fall festival will need local restaurants and shops to set up booths in your community. If your event requires the help of vendors, it is best to contact them early on. This way, you can secure enough high-quality vendors before their schedules fill up.
7. Market the Event
Proper and sufficient advertising is a prime component of a successful event. If you fail to market your event, no one will show up, and everything will be for naught. As such, make sure to promote the event ahead of time.
You can send a “save the date” email, include it in your newsletter, or post an announcement on social media like Facebook. Residents can mark their calendars, and your event can have a higher attendance rate.
It is equally important to do a post-event evaluation. The social committee should meet to discuss the recently concluded event and gauge its success. List down what went well and what went wrong. These learnings will help the committee identify its strengths and weaknesses, informing the planning process for future events.
Fun HOA Community Event Ideas
Holiday parties are the norm for homeowners associations. Sometimes, though, you want something new to get people excited.
Here are some fresh and fun HOA event ideas you can try:
- New resident welcome parties
- Garage sales
- BBQ cookouts
- Community gardens
- Seasonal festivals
- Community block parties
- Community pool parties
- Sports tournaments
- Game nights
- Bingo nights
- Trivia nights
- Karaoke nights
- Book clubs
- Outdoor movie nights
- Livestream parties
- Walking or jogging clubs
- Fitness classes (aerobics, yoga, pilates, etc.)
- Fundraisers (bake sales, car washes, etc.)
Keep in mind that not all of these events may suit your community. Homeowners associations come in different shapes and sizes. What may match one community may not necessarily match another. For example, a community that doesn’t have a pool obviously can’t have a pool party unless they rent one out.
Aside from the venue and type of community, an HOA should also consider the demographics of the association. A neighborhood that primarily consists of elderly residents would be better off with bingo nights and senior-friendly walking clubs than a car wash fundraiser.
The social committee should also seek input from residents. While an idea may seem great to committee members, other people may not agree. Gauging the interest of residents will help ensure participation.
Get to It
Many homeowners love attending HOA community events, so associations should try to organize them. If your association has not taken that plunge, now is the time.