Annual General Meetings15th Jul 2021
AGMs loom large over every homeowner association’s calendar. Thanks to their innate capacity to connect home owners with their associations, the AGM is an essential vehicle for home owners to scrutinise the decision-making of boards and ensure good governance, and for boards to communicate a cohesive vision for the future.
As with conventional, in-room AGMs, much of the success of a virtual meeting relies on the necessary preparation; putting a plan in place to guide both home owners and board members provides both with the clarity needed to ensure the smooth running of your AGM. We’ve put together a list of tips and best practices to help your homeowners association navigate the transition to a virtual AGM.
What does the companies act state?
The Companies Act requires associations to first consult their memorandum of incorporation to ensure that the document does not explicitly prohibit a meeting being conducted entirely by electronic communication. If no such specifications are mentioned, then a virtual AGM is permissible.
- Does your HOA require home owners to register to attend the meeting?
- How much home owner engagement will you allow?
- How much rehearsal time will board members need?
Share your notice of meeting as soon as possible, outlining exactly what steps your members need to follow in order to attend the meeting, and how to participate in discussions and vote on resolutions. To prevent the friction of having home owners download an app, install new software or, worse, get to grips with an entirely unfamiliar technology, it’s important to select a technology partner whose platform is intuitive and easy to access, preventing the technology from becoming a barrier to your home owners.
Agreeing the parameters for home owner engagement is key, as it will influence the type of technology you select. Will your meeting be broadcast only? Will there be an opportunity for Q&A, and can home owners vote during the meeting? Security, too, is paramount. As with an in-room meeting, some HOAs require home owners to submit certain documentation in order to attend the meeting. This can range from their identity documents to a resolution if the property is held by a trust or company. In a virtual environment, this can be facilitated by incorporating a registration system/platform through which home owners can be screened before the meeting so that members in good standing, and who have submitted the correct documentation while registering, can receive access credentials to the virtual AGM platform.
During the meeting:
- Have the platform ready to go 30 minutes before the agreed start time.
- Provide supporting documentation, and any reminders about how to use the technology.
- Allow ample time for questions and answers.
Facilitating home owner engagement is crucial. Whether that entails providing a reminder of how to access the meeting, providing a waiting area ahead of the meeting, or factoring in ample time for Q&A, it’s important to provide your home owners with easy and ample opportunity to engage.
- Provide members with a recording of the meeting.
- Publish your results as soon as possible.
- Ensure that unanswered questions are answered, and communicated to members.
When wrapping up your meeting, providing members with a comprehensive report of the meeting’s activities and agreed actions, and a full, answered list of questions is essential for facilitating transparency between board members, and home owners.