It’s happened again – someone has resigned from their position as director of your community association, and your Bylaws allow the Board to appoint someone to serve the remainder of the unserved term. It’s been difficult in the past to find volunteers, but you definitely need the help. The location of your condominium or homeowners association attracts a diverse age range of co-owners, many of whom are millennials (about 20-35 years old). So, how do you appeal to this often misunderstood group and encourage them to volunteer?
Provide an Equal Footing
Many business resources have been devoted to studying what drives millennials in the workplace, and you can put those observations to work for you when soliciting millennial volunteers in your community association. For example, a recent article in Crain’s Detroit Business details how important it is for millennials to feel a sense of equality and purpose with their co-workers. So, you should make clear that their voice on the Board will be important, and they will not just be expected to be a rubber stamp for the other directors. In practice, this means never belittling someone for their opinions or questions but instead thinking of yourself as a mentor who carefully guides them in their new position.
Could your association be doing more to explore how new technologies can benefit the operation of your association? If you are too “old school”, it may be a turnoff to millennials. Requiring too many in-person meetings may be onerous to a millennial who may prefer to make decisions by email, for example. To what extent do your Bylaws allow this, and do you have to contact your experienced community association attorney to help you amend your Bylaws to allow this? Give serious thought to what your millennials themselves may suggest in the way of harnessing technology. You might even offer them a leadership position on an advisory committee, perhaps exploring green energy options or energy efficiency upgrades for the development.
Clarify the Personal Benefits
While millennials constantly have to deal with being labeled as generally self-interested and demanding instant gratification, which may or may not be true for some of them, it never hurts to be specific about what’s in this for them. And millennials do in fact want to make a difference, just like other generations. Be sure to discuss everyone’s interest in the following as a means to protect everyone’s property values:
- Ensuring assessments are collected
- Ensuring the governing documents are enforced equitably and aggressively
- Reviewing financial records and budgeting
- Contracting for services
Help them understand that without proper oversight of these items in particular, it could have the potential to affect their bottom line and their quality of life.
Hopefully, you will now feel more comfortable reaching out to the millennials in your development. Even though it’s hard to make generalizations about an entire generation, it may be wise to be cognizant of the above ideas in particular when trying to enlist millennials’ assistance in your community association.