In this sixth episode of our communal property essentials series I am going to discuss why increased attendance at your AGM is important, and how to get more owners to turn up.
Episode 6 of our Communal Property Essentials Series.
In this sixth episode of our communal property essentials series I am going to discuss why increased attendance at your Annual General Meeting is important, and how to get more owners to turn up.
You don’t need good attendance at your Annual General Meeting. While under the law you are required to have quorum, which is 50% of the eligible owners in attendance in person or by proxy, there are measures within the law that allow you to proceed with lower than this 50% providing the quorum steps are taken.
But low owner participation in the AGM has its own problems.
Owners who are not aware of the challenges faced by their committee and the steps the committee are taking to overcome them are far less likely to be supportive of the committee.
Uninformed and unsupportive owners are reluctant to pay anything more than the absolute minimum and even are at risk themselves of not paying their fees on time or at all.
So lets go through 4 steps you can take to increase attendance at your AGM.
Make the AGM meeting interesting
No one wants to sit through a 3-hour PowerPoint presentation giving every minute fact and itemising every single expense. Of course, you have a legal requirement to present the accounts, so do this in two ways. 1st create a detailed annual financial report which can be inspected at the meeting and is sent out with the minutes of the meeting. 2nd create a summary presentation where you provide the Key Facts.
Limit the financial summary presentation to the Annual total figures. And make use of images, and easy to follow graphs to get that important information across.
At the meeting include some case stories detailing any major challenges the committee faced over the last 12 months and how you overcame those challenges.
You should emphasise the importance of their ongoing support and participation in their buildings and detail any challenges you predict you will face over the next 12 months, and how the committee plan to deal with them.
Set your AGM Location Convenient for the Majority
Unless you have an apartment building with 10 apartments or less, I strongly advise against holding your AGM in one of the committee members apartment, or in the carpark of your building.
This does not give a good professional impression of a meeting reviewing the committees operation of valuable property. Additionally, you will likely struggle if you want to use visual aids such as projectors, live streaming, videos and so on.
If you plan to hold your meeting near the property’s location talk to local hotels, restaurants, bars to see if they have meeting facilities or a events room which you can use. If you pick a time when they are normally empty you can usually negotiate a much lower rate or even a free room. Many venues will give these rooms away free knowing that the attendees will use the bar/restaurant or as a way of promoting their venue in the local arear.
If the majority of your unit owners do not live in the building or in the local area, consider setting the meeting location to a place that is convenient to the majority.
There is no rule under the regulations that state you must have the AGM in or near to the building. In fact, every year I attend allot of AGM’s in the UK, which makes sense for those buildings as most of the unit owners live in the UK
Live attendance at your AGM
One of the great advancements in the last few years is the ability to live stream your meeting to unit owners who are unable to attend them in person. There are many platforms that allow you to do this, and many of them offer a free or low-cost option.
Live attendees can watch a live stream video, ask questions and participate in voting.
The only warning on this is the regulations were drafted before the Internet really existed in the mainstream. So to make sure you don’t fall foul of Quorum or voting requirements I would suggest you make it a requirement that anyone who wishes to attend via the live stream also submits a written proxy for someone who will be physically at the meeting.
Make your AGM part of an Event
One of my favourite ways that a committee can increase attendance is hosting an owner event to coincide with the meeting, this is because it has a second benefit in that it creates a community spirit which is a key part of a healthy building.
So why not hold an annual BBQ, Pub Quiz, Race Night, Dinner & Dance or whatever takes your fancy. And, before this annual event hold the Annual General Meeting. This will get more people to attend, and get them talking with each other, building relationships and respect for the fellow owners and the Management Committee.
Now that you know how to increase attendance at your AGM, the next thing is how to organise the election of the management committee for the next year, and I will be covering that subject in the next episode of the Communal Property Essentials Video series.
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