Email is an ideal way to transact many kinds of HOA business. Once used by a few, now it is a generally accepted way to communicate. When tied to an HOA website, it provides a conduit to transmit requests and information quickly and cheaply. So, it is not only the most efficient way of moving information, it can significantly reduce the cost of copies, office supplies, postage and the labor to assemble those snail mailings. Email can be used for:
- Information Requests
- Maintenance Requests
- Polling the Members
- New Policy & Rule Review
- Sale Closing Requests
- Meeting Minutes Distribution
- Meeting Notices
- Invitations to Social Events
In addition to all the forms of communication it can handle, it provides a record of who, what and when. Requests can be screened, sorted and forwarded to the right person for execution. Clearly, there are many compelling reasons to make email the standard for HOA communications.
As with any form of communication, there is protocol that should be followed for it to be “all that it can be”. Here are some email basics to put zing in the thing:
@ Proofread and correct spelling and grammar before sending. This demonstrates attention to detail and caring.
@ DON'T TYPE IN ALL CAPS. It is perceived as shouting or anger.
@ Refrain from underlining words since this is internet protocol for hyperlinks. Instead, use bold and italics, but use them sparingly and for emphasis only.
@ Don't cut or copy and paste documents from your word processing program into emails. Certain fonts, characters and formatting are lost or corrupted in transit. Instead, send the original document as an attachment.
@ Avoid attaching files over 100 kilobytes in size since many email services have Inbox capacity restrictions or the recipient may have a slow modem and have difficulty opening the file. Or, post the information on the HOA’s website (You do have one don’t you?) and provide the link in the email, like www.nottacare.org/minutes.htm.
@ Archive “keeper” emails in logically named folders on your computer instead massing them in your Inbox or Sent Items folder.
@ Consider carefully what you write and to who you send it. Emails have a nasty habit of finding their way to people you did not intend. Be clear to the recipient if an email is for “Your Eyes Only”. As a rule, don’t write something about someone that you wouldn’t say to their face. The rumor mill delights in using such for grist and it will come back to haunt you.
@ Write descriptive Subject: lines that will be familiar to the recipient. Increasing levels of junk email (spam) cause many people to delete emails that have no Subject: or a Subject: that looks undesirable.
@ If you forward a message, preface it with personal comments and ask for feedback. That way, it looks personalized rather than mass emailed.
@ When forwarding or sending to multiple recipients, list only one of them in the To: line and the rest in the Bcc: (Blind carbon copy) line. That way, each recipient will get a personalized email without disclosing the entire list to every recipient. This makes it look personalized and protects recipient privacy as well.
@ Save commonly used email addresses in your Address Book. Use your Address Book to compile Distribution Lists named HOA Board, HOA Members and so on. That way, selecting the list and placing it in the Bcc: line has the same effect as selecting addresses one by one. It’s a great time saver.
@ Delete all dated, no longer needed, duplicate or reply emails to free up harddrive storage space.
@ When replying, carefully select either Reply or Reply to All depending on your intent. If your message is intended for one, don’t bother every one.
Lack of communication is one of the bugaboos many HOA members complain of. To cure that, email is a godsend to HOAs. It not only significantly reduces cost and labor, it improves efficiency and frequency of communication. Isn’t it well nigh time you availed your HOA of email?
For more on improving communications,