Meetings with meaning

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Greetings from ROC USA’s new offices in Concord. After seven years of being hosted and housed by the NH Community Loan Fund, ROC USA has outgrown the space available and has moved out on our own. More on that later, though.

I wanted to tell you about a nearby ROC’s annual meeting last weekend. Mike Bullard, ROC USA’s communications and marketing manager, attended the meeting Saturday and spoke to the membership and board about ROC USA and some of the services available to them. Mike said the Centennial Estates Co-op meeting was well attended, with no worries about making quorum. Apparently several Members baked an array of goodies to share with all the members – after they had a lunch of pizza and more.

It sounds like Centennial Estates used a number of great strategies for meetings that helped bring ROC members out to the annual meeting on a beautiful Saturday afternoon. After years of working in ROCs, I know how difficult that can be. In Centennial’s case, their meetings are held off-site at a town community center. I often recommend having these meetings early in the day so people can have the rest of their day free to do weekend stuff. But, they pulled off a 1 p.m. start time!

In addition to lunch, Centennial had a 50/50 raffle with the proceeds going to the Social Committee, and a separate raffle for $50 off a month’s rent. They drew 10 winners, meaning a total of $500. That’s about equal to one month’s rent, and I thought it was a great way to spread the winnings around and give a bunch of folks the chance to win.

Another really smart thing Centennial Estates did was invite guests to the annual meeting. And I’m not just talking about ROC USA. There were guest speakers from:

  • The engineering firm that’s leading the ROC’s water infrastructure rehabilitation project;
  • A state housing agency that partners with Next Step to offer ROC members the chance to replace their aging homes with new, energy-efficient ones;
  • Ron from the Community Loan Fund, who spoke about the Welcome Home Loans program that offers mortgages for manufactured homes; and
  • Jeanee from ROC-NH, the ROC’s Certified Technical Assistance Provider.

Inviting outside guests is such a great idea. It not only helps members learn about services available to them, but also shows the greater town or city what a resident-owned community is all about. Consider inviting someone from the police department if you’re working on eliminating crime issues, or someone from the fire department to talk about fire safety and prevention, someone from the department of aging to talk about issues relevant to your seniors. There are plenty of other folks who are likely willing to speak on a host of topics like personal finance, legal issues, public transportation, retirement planning, healthy cooking and more. Sometimes, all you have to do is ask!

ROC on, and congratulations, Centennial, on a successful Annual Meeting!

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