What Community Association Management is and what CAM Managers Do
Is it surprising that community residents might wonder what a Community Association is and about the work that management teams do?
It’s not readily apparent to many residents, nor whether anything productive is arising from the monthly dues they pay. This confusion about community management is likely causing many associations from achieving expected results.
In fact, I even asked ChatGPT to provide a clear explanation of association management and it couldn’t. It wasn’t able to distinguish between HOA, condo, Co-Op, etc. This means the general information available on the web is full of confused interpretations and hearsay and that’s what ChatGPT used to form its response.
Let’s find a more powerful way to help you communicate value to stakeholders and manage your community (and do consider attending a community association conference/trade show to learn what the best CAM managers do).
What is a Community Association?
‘Community Association’ is a vague term that encompasses all types of communities. Terms such as association management, condo management, Co-ops, HOA management and property management are used interchangeably many times in the residential housing market, which leads to confusion.
Smart CAM managers and boards prefer a more precise definition. That’s wise, because CAM budgets and perceived value arise from differentiation and laser clear communication with boards and residents.
Expectations must be managed. If the general opinion is that this work is of low value, then a new description of association management is needed. And how you describe what your association will determine what residents will feel it’s worth.
A community association is a membership of community members/residents, whether they live in houses, townhouses, condos, or apartments. Normally, anyone can join, or must join, regardless of the type of property they own. Community association rules created by a management board dictate rules and monthly dues to fund management operations.
What Residents Need to Know
A community association is frequently defined by a geographic zone, perhaps a neighborhood or several housing developments, and that zone is managed by a community association. They may have a single association manager, or several staff members, or are outsourcing management to a community association management company.
So yes, it can easily get confusing to community members. Yet, they deserve a more precise definition, and CAM boards need to communicate clearly or suffer the wrath of members who are misinformed or don’t want to cooperate with a CAM board.
It’s important to separate association management services from the community board, who set rules and govern the community association. Management companies work directly with and for the board, but do not make the rules.
Emerald Coast Community Association of Florida
As the Emerald Coast Community Association of Florida says, communications is a key part of your work. In fact, if you visit their website, they’re using value as a promotional message to attract additions to their community.
Positively managing the expectations of the membership can be a great enhancement to the quality of life in a community. Our managers play a key role in building a sense of community and positively affecting members’ perceptions of their association through consistent communications and management of quality events — from Emerald Coast Community Association in Miramar Beach, Florida.
CAM Spotlight: Lake Lorelei Community Association
One of the best examples of creative and comprehensive association management is visible with Lake Lorelei Community Association.
This active, vibrant association provides professional level services for an interesting array of revenue-generating amenities including a marina, retail store, restaurant, clubhouse, beaches, and sports facilities. They need a comprehensive digital CAM management system to govern, convey the right messages and coordinate operations.
What Sort of Work does CAM Staff Do?
A CAM team typical work day may include many of these tasks and responsibilities listed below.
- answer phone inquiries and emails from board members, homeowners, and vendors using a community association management platform
- develop and implement policies and procedures to manage the community association efficiently.
- plan and organize community meetings, prepare meeting agendas and minutes, and coordinate voting procedures.
- keep track of bookings of community facilities and amenities
- taking board meeting minutes and publish a variety of information
- maintain accurate and up-to-date records of the association’s activities and operations.
Management & Maintenance
- enforce rules and regulations stated in the community’s governing documents
- follow up on infractions and complaints
- resolve conflicts between community members, board members, and vendors
- perform inspection of community facilities, roads, parks, fences, properties, etc.
- schedule maintenance or repair of facilities
- perform trash removal, conduct landscaping, and facility repairs
- control keys or access to shared spaces and facilities
- gather bids for upcoming community projects
- communicate regularly with homeowners and residents to provide updates on community events, policies, and issues.
- respond to inquiries and concerns from homeowners, residents, and board members in a timely and professional manner.
- manage communication platforms such as websites, email, and social media accounts.
- inspect and repair community assets
- manage and supervise maintenance and repair work on community common areas, amenities, and facilities
- develop and implement preventative maintenance programs to ensure the longevity of community assets
- conduct regular inspections to identify maintenance and repair needs.
Accounting and Finance:
- handle community funds, ensure financial records are accurate, safe and up-to-date
- manage expenses, revenues, process fee and fine payments, manage online payment portal, as well as make payment to vendors
- conduct proper accounting via a community association account software solution, manage the association’s bank accounts, and make financial information available to the board
- prepare monthly financial reports and annual budget
- file tax returns
Insurance and Financing:
- track and manage the association’s insurance policies, coverage, including property, and liability
- file claims and work with insurance providers to ensure that claims are processed and paid in a timely manner.
- enforce the community association’s rules and regulations to ensure compliance with all relevant laws, regulations, and ordinances.
- develop and implement policies and procedures to ensure that homeowners and residents are complying with the community’s rules and regulations.
- seek advice from the association’s legal counsel to address any legal disputes or challenges related to fines and fees.
Collect Fees and Fines:
- assessing and collecting member dues, fines and fees for violations (such as parking, property damage, and facility bookings).
The Value of Good Community Association Management
With all they do at work, you’d think community association managers would be highly respected and valued, and sometimes they are. Our surveys show community managers do receive appreciation from members.
Blue Arrow Property Management of Louisville Kentucky cited 5 qualities of a competent community association management company:
- Educated & experienced profile
- Efficient leadership
- Knowledgeable and resourceful management
- Responsive customer/client service
- Work enthusiasm
Great points, however we’d like to add technology-enabled as the 6th quality which greatly enhances the first 5.
Fighting Denigration Online
Again, raising perceived value via your website and community portal is very important. What gets in the media or social media is often negative chatter. Thus, a voice of positive support and value delivered nullifies negative voices.
Great managers today rely on great tools to keep workloads down, so they can attend to community tasks since in the end, it’s the members of the community who are most important.
An association can play a key role in keeping community spirit alive making it a desirable place to live. And that may be the driving force behind community association formation.
Larger community associations can’t manage without online community association software. The automation and communications features are essential to controlling costs and encouraging support from members.
ManageCasa Community Association Management Platform
ManageCasa offers these powerful association management features in its platform, and you can learn more about the success our CAM customers are enjoying. It’s a platform for efficiency and profit growth.
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