The need for community volunteerism has never been greater than it is today. The economy has strangled the budgets of many Home Owner Associations and elevated the need for community home owners to be more involved in caring for the public areas in their associations. Though volunteering may seem to be an encumbrance on home owners, it can actually turn into a benefit.
Those who volunteer to assist the community testify to the payback they receive from doing so. And, just what are those benefits? First, volunteerism gives one a sense of self-worth. There is a personal satisfaction in one’s spirit when he or she has done something meaningful without being remunerated for it. Secondly, there is a special connection with others in the community who joined in the volunteer effort. Getting to know your neighbors while being involved in a project within the community builds friendships and unite the community in ways that serves everyone’s interests. Thirdly, there is a blessing involved in feeling that you are improving the area in which you live. We all know that special mood that is produced when we plant trees or flowers in our own yard, or when we put out bird feeders or bird baths for our special feathered friends. That unique emotion is multiplied when special projects are accomplished in the community public areas by the residents who live there.
All of us are finding ways to cut costs in this tight economy. When we volunteer to help our community, we can hold down the increase in assessments that may arise by having the HOA officers employee or contract with someone to accomplish the task. The result is a savings to everyone in the community, including your own family budget. Every time we complete a job by volunteering we reduce the need for paying others to do it. Labor costs can be extensive, but volunteers can reduce or eliminate many of those expenses through their unpaid assistant. Saving money is important and volunteering is one way to do that.
When we volunteer to help our community we learn more about the entire process that is necessary to care for the public areas. This increased knowledge helps us participate more effectively in all the ongoing home owner issues. We get to know the officers better and we become aware of how difficult their work is as they serve on the various committees of the association. Volunteers have information to pass on to other residents, and informed residents are more likely to be positive and supportive in the future. One volunteer may be able to recruit two or three additional volunteers for future projects by sharing the joys, savings, and benefits obtained through the process.
Community leaders, especially those serving on committees of the HOA, should consider having a Volunteer Day for the community. This should be promoted widely and held on a Saturday. At that event, those who attend could be given a list of things that could be done by volunteers. The benefits of such service should be explained. Those present should be urged to encourage other residents to participate in the projects. When neighbors get involved, they tend to reach other neighbors who will also participate. Residents should be given the opportunity to sign up for particular projects at that meeting. When the community has a single day once or twice a year for people to participate, they limit the number of people who can take part. When those leaders offer people the chance to volunteer to carry out certain tasks, along with their neighbors, at a time when they are most available, the number of people participating will increase dramatically. In other words, setting aside a single day for landscape projects does not get good results. But, when you let someone or a group of residents volunteer to do the landscape project on a day they choose, you more involvement and better results.
Community leaders and residents should seek to increase volunteerism in HOA projects. The results will unite the community, improve the living environment, save money, raise home values and build friendships. Volunteer Now!