Take some time to help new board members get up to speed as you transition out!
You’ve been volunteering for years on your community association board of directors (thank you!), but it’s time to move on and pass the torch to some new board members. You’re leaving the association in a better position than when you started. Based on your tremendous effort over time, you want to ensure your successful legacy carries forward to the new board.
If this describes you and your imminent departure, here are some steps you can take to ensure the new board member(s) will continue to be positioned for long-term success.
Create a Detailed Transition Plan
Ideally, the outgoing board member or members will meet with incoming members to discuss member responsibilities and the knowledge transfer process. Before you meet, consider building a transition document with critical financial, reserve, contact, contract, and communication information – links, files, spreadsheets, etc. Think about the information that helped you in your new role, and then build a list of items your successors will need in order to get acclimated in their new role.
Here are some items to include in your transition plan:
Budget and financial package. Since we’re CPAs, the numbers are always our top priority! Review the current budget with new board members, including significant variances and changes for next year. Share the most recent monthly financial report, with similar highlighting of major variances, like collections. If you have a CPA, get that person introduced and involved.
Reserves. Share a copy of the most recent reserve study with new board members. Confirm the reserve account balance matches the reserve study, or again describe the reason for any variances. If your reserve study is more than about two years old, with today’s inflation and supply chain issues it’s probably out of date.
Covenants and bylaws. New board members need to understand the rules so they can effectively govern the community. While they can read the full documents, include a list of the most important, or most utilized, covenants, conditions, and restrictions (CC&Rs), to help them more quickly get up to speed.
Insurance policies. While the details and location of liability, theft, and cyber policies are important, new board members should be most interested in reviewing the Directors & Officers (D&O) policy. In today’s litigious society, this of course covers board member liability in the event of a lawsuit. You can get your insurance agent involved here.
Key vendor contracts. Focus on the major contracts, such as property management, landscaping, and amenities management. These companies have the most impact the quality of life in your community. Note any that are out of date or require rebidding.
Recent board meeting minutes. What are the current priorities, projects, and issues? Hopefully, minutes are posted on the website or in an easily accessible location.
Login credentials. Make sure this information is well-documented for new board members to avoid a bunch of panicked phone calls. This includes property management technology, accounting system, website, email system, surveillance cameras, etc.
In addition to the list above, think about other circumstances that may impact new board members, like age (facilities, not you!), inflation and supply issues, and applicable legislation.
Sharing is Caring
As they say, change doesn’t happen overnight, especially with a board transitions. Spending a little extra time now preparing to pass the torch is the greatest gift you can give to new board members – a smooth and seamless transition. Start early, and take the time to prioritize transition tasks, implementing them gradually instead of trying to do everything at once.
Thank you for volunteering to serve your community. While there are challenges in any role, the legacy you leave ensures a safe and happy community going forward.