Volunteer of the Year Award

By Dawn Bales, CAI-BAYCEN Chapter Legislative Committee Co-Chair

If you are involved in the HOA industry as a Business Partner, Community Manager, Board Member, or Owner, I highly recommend attending CAI-CLAC Advocacy Week. CAI-CLAC Advocacy Week provides an opportunity to actively engage with legislators. By attending, you can help shape the legislative agenda and advocate for policies that support the success and well-being of community associations in California.

During legislative meetings, several bills are discussed.  The bills that are selected for discussion have been carefully reviewed for content and directly affect the overall success of California HOAs. By participating it shows our legislators and staff the power of our numbers and the importance of our stance on each issue.

There are also opportunities for networking, sharing experiences, and collaborating with peers, experts, and industry leaders. Building relationships and connections during this event can lead to valuable partnerships that can benefit your community associations or profession.  I also particularly enjoyed the breakout rooms and the opportunity to speak more intimately with peers and homeowners.

As the Co-Chair for the CAI Bay Are & CA Central Valley LSC Committee, I offered to moderate, despite having no idea what that would entail! Listening to how other chapters ran their legislative sessions was helpful in preparing for ours. My main goal was to keep it upbeat, informative, concise, and interactive. Our chapter speakers were able to personalize their topics and share real-world stories to drive home the reason for our support or opposition. After each speaker finished, we allowed legislators and staff to ask questions.  As the moderator, I would ask clarifying questions if needed and our team could quickly provide additional information. This made our sessions more conversational, keeping them interesting for our guests.

Here’s what worked for us:

  • Choose the right speaker for the topic: They should know their stuff, not read from a script, and be in a stationary spot free from distractions. They should bring in a personal story of how the topic directly affects HOA owners.
  • The moderator sets the tone: Smile, thank the guest, ask about their experience with HOAs, give a warm introduction for the speaker. Pay attention to what’s being said, and ask about important points that may have been left out. Use personal experiences and surprise to engage guests and thank them for clarifying.
  • Stay within the allotted time, convey the message clearly, and work well as a team.

Overall, our team conveyed our message well and worked together effectively.

In summary, attending CAI-CLAC Advocacy Week is crucial for anyone involved in the community association industry as it enables you to influence legislation, gain valuable education and awareness, build relationships, amplify the industry’s voice, and protect and enhance the policies affecting community associations in California.

The next step in our advocacy efforts is to make sure that we follow up with our local legislators and staffers. Here are some suggestions to stay involved throughout the remainder of the 2023 legislative session:

  1. If you haven’t already, send a thank-you note to those you met with during Advocacy Week
  2. Request a future meeting: If there are additional issues you’d like to discuss with the legislator or if you’d like to continue the conversation about the bills you discussed, be sure to request a future meeting.
  3. Stay in touch: Don’t let your relationship with the legislator go cold. Keep them informed about your work and progress on the issue. Consider inviting them to events and updates on the Bills CLAC are tracking. Regular communication and engagement will help maintain a positive relationship and increase the chances of future collaboration.
  4. Offer to be a resource and help educate your elected officials and your community about HOAs and CAI-CLAC.

You can find your legislators’ contact information here. We also encourage you to connect with them on Facebook at www.facebook.com/townhall and on Twitter.