Building Community Among Your Residents

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Building Community Among Your Residents

Throughout my career, I have been committed to ensuring our communities are maintained at a high standard in an ongoing effort to meet and exceed the expectations of the residents. To be successful in this, it is critically important to build a sense of community among all residents. From observing others, and through my own experience, I have seen many positive outcomes when residents feel they are an integral part of their community and share the following for your consideration:

  1. Although our industry is commonly defined as Property Management we should consider it  “Community Management” given our close relationships, wide range of duties, and size of most properties that share many characteristics similar to a village or small town. From this understanding, it is worth observing and learning how governments and other organizations at various levels succeed or fail to bring residents and community’s closer together.

  2. Passion for a community and its residents can be contagious and initiated by anyone. The manager will usually have more avenues and resources to help achieve this goal and should play a key role to move these efforts along.

  3. Understand your communities and determine common interests shared by the residents and work towards a common goal that will help to unify and strengthen the community.

  4. Foster an atmosphere that reminds residents they all share a vested interest, are equals, and are “in this together”.

  5. Whenever possible, invert the traditional administrative hierarchy and place residents at the forefront followed by the board of directors and manager. Resident committees working at arm’s reach from the board to bring forward recommendations and oversight for gardening, special events, excursions and projects can also be a successful approach.

  6. Since communities have a diverse and unlimited talent pool, give residents a chance to participate in community forums and surveys. This can yield results that may not have been considered before, and for continued engagement, share the outcomes with all residents in community newsletters.

  7. Arrange community-minded events and try to appeal to all ages. In the Spring 2013 Condominium Manager Magazine I wrote about the first BBQ planned for the Kennedy Green community (that later became known as Summerfest), and due to its overwhelming success has since been held annually, attracting large numbers of volunteers, participants and positive feedback.

Although I have achieved many of these objectives, my understanding and appreciation of the community element continues to grow and evolve. In closing, I encourage all community managers to challenge themselves to plan and participate in at least one new community event this year. This exercise will give you the greatest opportunity to engage residents and directly witness often long term and lasting benefits when residents can get to know and better understand their neighbours and their manager in a casual and fun environment.

Thomas Kortko, RCM is Client Relations Manager at Maple Ridge Community Management Ltd.