Case Study: Community Associations Institute
The problem faced by the Community Associations Institute (CAI) and its sister organization the Community Association Managers International Certification Board (CAMICB) was how to communicate to and engage an audience that is difficult to find. A key audience for CAI is the volunteer homeowner, active in their homeowner’s association, a diverse group of all ages and backgrounds. Further complicating things is the fact that they have a high turnover rate, often yearly. What started as a six month project for Smith & Harroff has become a three-year collaboration as we continue to work on creative solutions to expand awareness of CAI and grow their membership base.
We first conducted research and presented CAI and CAMICB with a communication strategy. The plan involves activities to enhance the visibility and reputation of CAI and communicate the importance of having community association managers who are credentialed (trained, educated and professional).
Our strategy does not treat all of these audiences equally. We believe that the HOA homeowner, especially those actively involved with the board or various committees, are an especially important audience because they are the consumer of the association manager or management company. Furthermore, their involvement indicates that they take the investment they have made in their home very seriously and want to make sure that investment is protected.
We have implemented public service announcements, built social media programs, distributed a tool kit to state chapters, targeted states working on legislation to require licensure, and used highly targeted paid advertising through a multitude of online channels.
Working closely with CAI and CAMICB staff, we have seen a steady increase in membership and engagement on the part of community managers and volunteer homeowners. Furthermore, policymakers and opinion leaders increasingly see the need for, and value of, state licensure for community association managers.