One irony of modern life is that being in close proximity to your neighbors doesn’t necessarily make you closer to your neighbors. Often people live near each other and don’t know each other well. At best, people might know just a handful of neighbors in their community. Many of us lead hectic lives, and justify our lack of community involvement by saying we just have too little time.Lack of time is an issue, no doubt about it, but residents can be persuaded to get involved, says Michael R. Pierson, an award-winning property manager and author of “Taking Control, Time Management and Communication Tools for Community Association Management.”
“People want to be a part of something larger than themselves. We all like that. We’re driven to it,” says Pierson. “The community association is a great vehicle for that to happen. And once we become part of something larger than ourselves its easier to find that gift of time.”
Putting It Into Practice
So how do community associations get residents to become involved? It all starts, says Pierson, with a board that is interested in “flattening the hierarchy,” and “reducing the distance” between board members and the community.
The easiest way to reduce that gap is for a board to demonstrate that “they don’t lord over other people, they actually want the best interests of the entire community, and don’t have any specific personal agendas they’re trying to achieve,” he says.
And the best way for a board to show residents that they care, Pierson says, is “through every communicationtool at their disposal.”