Being involved with a condominium or community association can sometimes make you feel like a Jack-of-all-trades.
Homeowners often expect professional managers and community volunteers – officers and board and committee members – to know something about, well, just about everything.
We are expected to be attorneys and landscapers, accountants and engineers, roofers and plumbers, pool cleaners and construction workers.
According to the idiom, being a Jack-of-all-trades means you are a master of none. While not entirely true, when it comes to community management, knowing a little about a lot is actually a good thing.
The bottom line is – the more trained and informed the condominium and community managers, volunteers and homeowners on a variety of issues, the more well-managed communities will be, which makes for happier residents.
But since you never know what you might need to know, it’s good to have help on hand. The number-one resource I have found as a professional community manager – and that I have seen for community volunteers over the last 28 years - is the Community Association Institute (CAI).
CAI is the only national organization to represent and educate condominium and community association industry volunteers, managers, board members and homeowners. Its mission is to assist condominium and community associations in promoting harmony, community and responsible leadership.
CAI is a volunteer-driven organization whose memberships is made up of community managers, board members, homeowners and business partners. The North Carolina Chapter of CAI (CAI-NC) has more than 850 members, and is one of the largest of 60 Community Associations Institute chapters in the United States.
CAI provides many benefits, such as education, training and networking for both members and non-members. CAI-NC also has educational tracks and designations for its members. Many professional condominium and community managers have earned their Certified Manager of Community Association (CMCA), Association Management Specialist (AMS), Large Scale Manager (LSM) and/or the Professional Community Association Manager (PCAM) designations(s) through CAI. Each designation has specific requirements for education and industry experience, and are only given after passing a test.
CAI-NC also provides education, training and networking opportunities, and is a great resource for finding attorneys, CPAs, insurance agents, service providers and other professionals who understand and serve the condominium and community association industry.
For communities considering hiring a professional management company, CAI-NC offers the Board Leader Development Workshop online. Membership through CAI-NC also makes you a member of CAI National, which offers broader access to tools, publications, resources and information.
And CAI-NC hosts lots of educational events throughout the year, including and annual conference and expo, Law Day and more informal socials on the local and regional levels.
As a professional condominium or community manager, volunteer or homeowner, there is no reason to reinvent the wheel or try to master the wide of range of topics and issues when there are so many resources at your fingertips through CAI.
There is no way I could have learned the condominium and community management business without these educational opportunities and resources.
Like every good handyman or painter, horticulturist or architect, professional managers, volunteers and responsible homeowners, need a combination of the right tools and knowledge to do the best job of serving our communities.