Tara Reardon

Good technical assistance goes far beyond meetings

By Tara Reardon

When it comes to technical assistance, being available can be more helpful than being in attendance.

Not surprisingly, many boards of directors in resident-owned communities love to have their technical assistance provider at their side during meetings. But experience has taught us that it can be more important for us to not be present.

A co-op’s independence and success really shine, and its leaders emerge, when its board effectively runs meetings and makes decisions and plans.

roc_co-op-meeting.jpgNot attending a meeting, though, doesn’t mean not being available. We are a phone call away.  We recommend calling your TA provider before your meeting to share the agenda and talk through your goals. A post-meeting conversation can help firm up next steps and strategies for whatever issues emerge. 

Because every cooperative faces different challenges at every stage of its existence, the ROC-NH™ team has to deliver assistance as flexibly and efficiently as possible. Sometimes that means a face-to-face meeting, other times a phone call or even an email conversation.

Helping prepare for and, sometimes, attending meetings is only a small piece of the technical assistance we provide to co-ops. In addition, we:

  • track and retain your meeting minutes and monthly financials (so send them in!);
  • analyze the co-op’s cash flow to be sure it is financially healthy, or at least moving in that direction;
  • monitor whether your co-op is complying with its lending agreements;
  • monitor whether your co-op has paid its insurance, taxes, and fees;
  • offer refresher training when new members join your board;
  • update members on best management practices;
  • consult on financial issues, including the co-op’s budget and debt service, refinancing, and infrastructure projects;
  • track state and federal public policy and represent co-ops’ best interests when decision-makers consider issues that may affect your communities;
  • create opportunities to connect and share ideas and solutions with members of other ROCs, both in person and online;
  • research professional services, with the goal of competition that results in budget savings and best practices.

All of the above is about giving your co-op the information and guidance it needs to be a thriving, independent, self-governing and financially healthy corporation.

The true measure of success is your confidence that you can manage your community, and that you know when and where to reach out for support when questions or issues arise.

Tara Reardon is Director of the New Hampshire Community Loan Fund's ROC-NH program.

ROC-NH™ is a program of the New Hampshire Community Loan Fund, Inc. and a ROC USA® Certified Technical Assistance Provider.
ROC-NH is a registered service mark of ROC USA, LLC.