Community Association of the Year

Communicator of the Year: Dominion Valley Owners Association

Dominion Valley Owners Association was named Communicator of the Year in the Community Association of the Year Contest. The yare managed by Community Management Corporation, AAMC. This is the essay submitted with the community’s application.

By Gary Clukey, Board President, Dominion Valley Owners Association

The Dominion Valley Owners Association (DVOA) is well positioned to serve as the standard-bearer of WMCCAI’s Best Practices in Communications. The DVOA utilizes multiple methods to communicate with owners and residents, in concert with our Strategic Plan. Every opportunity is taken to keep the community informed and to seek feedback. A full-time onsite Communications & Activities Coordinator assists the volunteer Communications Committee and administers the Association’s website, Facebook page, Valley Voice (quarterly magazine delivered to every home), and Community News email blasts.

We also utilize town hall meetings, community-wide online surveys, and resident forums at each Board, Committee, and Annual Membership Meeting to seek feedback on specific issues as well as general satisfaction levels. In addition, physical mailings and notices update the community on important matters like the Annual Meeting; the annual budget update; changes to governing documents; and notifications of scheduled exterior maintenance for covered homes. Up-to-date information is available 24/7 on the HOA’s website, including online forms and requests; community news summaries; calendar; directory; resident services; HOA documents; classified ads; and contact information.

Our Board developed these multiple communications channels to reach Dominion Valley’s many diverse residents and homeowners (2500 homes, approximately 10,000 residents) because our demographics include young families, singles, and retirees.

People of different generations prefer different means of communication. In general, baby boomers primarily use email, while younger generations prefer social media. The Board wants to be able to quickly disseminate important HOA-related information (social events, scheduled common area maintenance, etc.), and to instill a sense of community spirit through effective communication. In 2017, in response to a community-wide survey, Facebook was added to supplement the use of blast email. Since then, improvements to our Facebook Page and website have made it easier for homeowners to navigate and access useful information. Links were established between the website and Facebook, with icons to enhance usability. For example, there are icons for residents to report maintenance concerns, covenants violations, streetlight outages, snow removal concerns, access to the Association’s Governing Documents, and more.

The Board measures the effectiveness of membership communications by direct feedback from residents, and through periodic reviews compiled by the Communications & Activities Coordinator. Those reviews summarize indicators like blast email open rates, and HOA Facebook Page visits by type of item posted. Monthly resident forums are another indicator. For example, this year a task force reviewed the feasibility of adding a dog park in our community after several residents came to the Board resident forum and presented their recommendations and ideas. Resident surveys also have been effective in obtaining feedback; for instance, this year two online surveys were conducted – one regarding the potential use of speed tables to deter speeding on our private streets, and a possible change to our Design Guidelines that would allow the installation of roof- mounted solar systems on homes here.

In summary, the Board strives to stay in contact with our residents through multiple communications methods. This varied communications menu is critical to the continued success of our beautiful community.