Making the Most of Volunteer Governance

April 2020

Finding condo residents willing to serve their community as directors is a challenge.  Work or personal obligations often take precedence.  Others lack the skills or experience to be effective.  Some are put off by “education” requirements imposed by the Condo Act.  Many feel the time commitment or workload is too great .  They may not be prepared to accept abuse hurled at them by some residents.

Some communities add to these hurdles by imposing term limits or prohibiting non-owners from serving as a director.

Having a competent, capable, willing and committed board is essential to community management.  Having a say over how your home is managed and how money is spent is worth some inconvenience.

Boards can make it easier to attract capable and willing directors by improving how they operate:

  • Limit meetings to no more than two hours once per month.
  • Run each meeting like the business your condo corporation is. Start and end on time, follow an agenda, and take the emotion out of discussions.  Make intelligent decisions without introducing stress.
  • Between meetings deal with urgent matters by voting via e-mail.
  • Seek new board members when things are going well rather than during problem periods so new directors can more slowly get up to speed.
  • Remind residents that a lack of volunteer directors means having to pay a court-appointed administrator.
  • Provide an orientation for new directors. Show them how to be successful in the role.
  • Prior to voting for a director, provide each director-candidate with an information form asking why they want to serve as a director, what their qualifications are and what they hope to achieve. Distribute this to residents in advance of elections.
  • Use committees to your advantage. Get residents involved with a committee involving something they are passionate about.  Work done by committees should mean less work for the board.

The best directors are those with an open mind and no private agenda.  They have a set of skills – accounting, finance, marketing, administration, or engineering – that complement what others have to offer.

Happy board members are willing to remain in the role for longer, and will encourage others to do the same.