Managing an association is just like running a small business. Your association will soon begin the annual budget planning process. This year in addition to the budget we will also be adding strategic planning. What does that mean, and what will be happening? Simply stated, strategic planning is a process we use to determine where we’re going and how we’re going to get there. Every successful business has a plan and vision for the long and short future. Creating a plan includes these steps:
- Assessing our current position. We will identify our strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats. Knowing where we are now will help get us where we want to be in the future.
- Identifying our purpose. This will become our “mission statement.” For example, “Our association exists to ensure the highest possible quality of life for all residents.”
- Setting goals that identify what we need to achieve the mission. Our goals will be specific and measurable, and will provide an indication of how we’re doing as we progress. We will try to adopt three goals for 2019.
- Deciding how to meet our goals. We may have to allocate resources, create committees, or undertake other tasks to achieve our goals.
- Developing an action plan. Each step will require a specific action plan. For example, if a committee is needed, who will serve, exactly what tasks will be assigned, and when will the results be needed?
- Monitoring and updating our plan. We’ll review the strategic plan regularly. If we learn that our earlier ideas and goals were shortsighted or uninformed, we’ll update accordingly.
- Sharing the outcome of our goals. At the annual meeting we will communicate the process of the planning session, the goals that were set and the progress and/or outcome for each goal.
Completing this goal setting process will aid us in the creation of the budget as well. With a clear road map, we can more accurately assign association funds to meet our goals. Since this process with take some extra time, please plan for the fall board budgeting meeting to be extended by an additional 30 minutes. Thank you for being an involved and engaged board member. We look forward to creating a vision for the future with you.
When homeowners are delinquent, their neighbors must make up the difference or services and amenities must be curtailed. The former is an issue of fairness; the latter can lessen the appeal of the community and erode property values. So what do we do next?
Liens and Foreclosures
Sometimes the collection agency doesn't work and we need to consider stronger alternatives and employ the collection efforts of the association attorney. Nobody wants to foreclose on a home—not a mortgage banker and certainly not our association. However, the threat of foreclosure is often the only tangible leverage an association has to ensure fairness and shared responsibility. Without this option, many residents would simply choose to default on their obligation to their association and neighbors. How many Americans would pay their taxes if government had no means of enforcement?
Placing a lien on property, with the ability to foreclose, is typically enough to get delinquent residents to meet their financial obligations to the community—without removing the owner from his or her home. When that fails, associations turn to the final—and unfortunate—option of foreclosure.
We want you to know that we understand the magnitude of this decision and why it may occasionally be necessary. Above all else, association leaders are responsible for sustaining the financial viability and stability of the association. As noted earlier, our budgetary obligations do not change when assessments aren’t paid. Services residents expect must be provided; the community must be maintained; bills must be paid; and our investments and property values must be protected.