neighbors attending an HOA community event outside

How to Plan an HOA Community Event Post COVID-19

An HOA has several responsibilities for ensuring its HOA is in the best hands. One of which comes with the responsibility of planning an HOA community event. As HOA’s continue to break from Covid-19 protocols, you may find yourself asking what to expect next. Will your community allow open public events? Will there still be protocols to ensure the safety of your residents? To better answer these questions, an HOA has to take many things into account. From the size of the HOA, member involvement, safety prevention, financial budgets, and much more.

Although we can’t say Covid-19 is officially over, we must move forward with the awareness that Covid-19 will always be a factor in most events. In fact, not only will Covid-19 continue to be a factor, but the willingness to allow your community to open itself back up to the public will be a large part of the planning process. 

Necessary HOA precautions to consider post-COVID-19

The CDC has set the following recommendations in place for gatherings:

  1. First, social distancing is a best practice – choose a location with a larger space, which can accommodate more distance between attendees from different households. 
  2. Masks are recommended for staff and attendees – consider having masks on hand for those who do not bring their own. 
  3. Encourage hand hygiene – provide 60% alcohol hand sanitizer where soap and water are not readily available. 
  4. Modify space layout to prioritize outdoor activities – offer online options in addition to in-person attendance options. Use multiple entrances and exits to avoid crowded spaces. Eliminate lines like food service buffet lines as much as possible.

Six tips for planning an HOA community event 

1. Create an event or hosting committee.

  • The primary responsibility of an HOA event or host committee is to initiate and organize social functions such as holiday parties, family events, pool socials, and much more. They are also responsible for organizing and managing the day-to-day responsibilities that are necessary for planning an event. 
    • Promote interest in all social functions.
    • Helps streamline event practices within the community. 
    • Fulfills all event and social responsibilities that are assigned by their HOA board of directors.  

2. Choose a theme or occasion. 

  • Having a theme or occasion to guide your event is a helpful way to determine other aspects of the planning process. 
    • For example, if your HOA event is centered around a holiday, season, or charitable cause, utilizing a theme will help drive the planning process of collecting decor, managing a location, or budget. 
    • Having a theme also allows the opportunity for other residents and members to engage with the planning process.
      • Ask for feedback and suggestions from HOA members as a way to involve the community and create engagement.
      • Create polls as a way to find other alternative ideas for themes and future events. 

3. Select an easily accessible location. 

  • Having a standard centralized location for all parties is a great way to help reduce confusion on where to go, especially if you have residents who may not attend as many events. 
    • Examples include an HOA clubhouse, pool house, a centralized common area, or the HOA’s general meeting facility. 
    • Location tip – choose a location that offers an indoor and outdoor option for those who wish to stay away from larger groups of people. This will provide a broader opportunity for attendees to feel more comfortable post-pandemic. 
    • Insurance – no matter the location, be sure to check with your HOA insurance, health regulations, and CC&R’s (declaration of convents, conditions, and restrictions) policy for any criteria or guidelines with planning a location. Most importantly, ensure that your insurance and CC&R will allow your HOA to cover the event in the chosen area and if any supplemental insurance will be needed. 

4. Select an appropriate date and time.

  • When it comes to choosing a date and time, always consider the following: 
    • Choose a date and time that is amenable for the majority of invitees. 
    • Consider the weather and temperature. 
    • Be considerate of others who may be obligated with other HOA responsibilities and cannot attend events during a particular day or time. 
    • Consider significant school obligations for those with families (ex. the first day of school or school state testing days). 

5. Create a reliable budget.

  • When planning your HOA event, your HOA annual budget will be a large part of the planning process. 
    • Get to know your HOA financial advisory team – knowing your HOA financial team will help provide transparency and a stronger sense of communication among committee members. As the saying goes, you can’t make orange juice without an orange — the same goes for an HOA events committee. Likewise, you can’t plan an event without your financial advisory team. 
    • When planning your yearly agenda, allocate a set budget, be sure that your financial team allows events to be set within an allocated set budget by month or by season. For example, some parts of the yearly budget may be higher than others due to seasonal times such as Christmas or Easter. In the end, the overall goal is to ensure that the budget balances itself out so that your HOA does not exceed its yearly budget. 
    • As an alternative way to raise funds, consider pursuing sponsorships or donations from surrounding local businesses. 

6. Promote your event. 

  • A large part of making an event successful is by ensuring a high attendance rate.
    • Promote, promote, promote! – When it comes to getting the word out, always start early. This will allow all residents ample time to plan and adjust their schedules accordingly.
    • Promoting tools: Invites may be created by sending out physical mailers, a virtual email newsletter, a Facebook page, HOA software like TownSq, a website, or the HOA events calendar. 
    • Include all vital information to your invite –  provide a date, time, and location (with the address) of the event. 
      • If an attendee needs to bring something, be specific with the option to contact a committee member with any questions or concerns.
      • Note an appropriate expected attire (swimsuit for a pool party or costume theme if necessary). 
      • Allow for attendees to know what activities will occur during the event, along with details about food or drinks if available. 

What are some additional steps that an HOA should consider with planning an HOA community event? 

1. Select reliable vendors and additional support if needed.  

  • If offering food and drinks from a specific vendor, be sure to consider any additional cost that could occur before or after the event.
    • Consider the cost of bartenders, waitresses, or any security that may be required to attend.
    • Include additional costs to your budget that may come with vendors that offer rental services such as rental chairs, tables, bouncy houses, or tents. 

2. Determine who needs to be involved and if there is a need for volunteers.

  • Take advantage of the willingness to allow volunteers to help plan or work the event. If additional hands are needed, reach out to your fellow committee members or call for resident volunteers from the community. 
    • Scheduling shifts – be considerate of those that volunteer their time to help out. As a suggestion, schedule shorter shifts among each volunteer so that everyone may have the opportunity to enjoy the event.

3. Prepare and purchase supplies well in advance of the event. 

  • Purchase non-perishable items and décor as far advance as possible.
  • Order all necessary sanitizing supplies such as optional face masks, hand sanitizers, cleaning disinfectants, and plastic gloves for volunteering or handling food and drinks. 
  • Assign a committee member to manage operational duties such as ordering supplies so that nothing is overlooked.

4. Arrive early to set up – it never hurts to be too early, especially when planning more significant events.

  • Being early allows additional time for trial and error – not every event is picture perfect. So be prepared for any difficulties that could occur during the setup process of your event. 
  • Allow for all members and volunteers to attend extra early, along with the option to prepare any larger projects the day before. 

Recap 

Planning an HOA community events 

  • Consider change and new guidelines post-pandemic. 

Necessary HOA precautions to consider post-COVID-19

  • Social distancing is a best practice.
  • Masks are recommended for staff and attendees.
  • Encourage hand hygiene.
  • Modify space layout to prioritize outdoor activities. 

Six tips for planning an HOA community event 

  1. Create an event or hosting committee.
  2. Choose a theme or occasion. 
  3. Select an easily accessible location.
  4. Select an appropriate date and time.
  5. Create a reliable budget.
  6. Promote your event.

Additional steps that an HOA should consider with planning an HOA community event

  1. Select reliable vendors and additional support if needed. 
  2. Determine who needs to be involved and if there is a need for volunteers.
  3. Prepare as much as possible well in advance of the event. 
  4. Arrive early to set up.

TownSq can help you get the word out to all the residents in an HOA through the announcements feature, whether sending an announcement about something important in the community or reminding homeowners of an up-and-coming event like a community picnic. Want to learn more about How TownSq can help your community? Request a Demo today!

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