Monthly Archives: September 2023


Vendor Management, Technology and You

Recently, we’ve seen innovative software tools and platforms designed specifically for community associations emerge, offering transformative solutions for streamlining vendor management. 

These technological advancements can revolutionize how community associations select vendors, manage contracts and evaluate performance, resulting in improved efficiency, transparency, and accountability. 

Embracing these technologies lets community associations create seamless, modernized experiences for both associations and vendors. Let’s go further into these solutions and explore their impact on vendor management practices.

1. Streamlining Vendor Selection

Software tools and platforms for associations offer centralized, user-friendly systems to make selecting vendors and evaluating bids easier. 

These solutions often offer vendor directories, allowing you to access potential partners’ comprehensive profiles, reviews and ratings. That means associations can evaluate vendors based on expertise, track record and compatibility with their specific needs.

2. Contract Management

Contract management is usually a complex, time-consuming task, but software solutions have vastly simplified the process. These tools let you create, store and manage contracts digitally, eliminating the need for paper-based documentation and reducing administrative burdens. 

Associations can set up automated alerts and reminders for contract renewal dates, ensuring contracts are reviewed and updated in a timely manner. Some platforms even offer features for electronic signatures, making the contract signing process efficient and secure.

3. Performance Evaluation

Software tools and platforms that facilitate streamlined performance evaluation let associations define key performance indicators (KPIs) to objectively track and measure vendor performance. 

Associations can input data, provide critical vendor feedback and ratings into the software, generating performance reports and analytics. These insights help associations evaluate vendor performance over time and make informed decisions regarding contract renewals or adjustments. 

4. Efficiency, Transparency and Accountability: The Key to Vendor Management

With software tools and platforms, associations can significantly boost vendor management practices’ efficiency, transparency and accountability. These technologies centralize information, ensuring all relevant stakeholders can easily access vendor profiles, contracts and performance data. 

This accessibility enhances transparency and facilitates effective communication between associations and vendors. Associations can also track and document all interactions, ensuring accountability and providing a historical record of vendor performance. These streamlined processes eliminate manual errors, reduce paperwork, and enhance overall operational efficiency.

5. Sustainability Initiatives for Your Asociation

Sustainability is significant across many industries, and vendor management is no exception. Community associations increasingly focus on partnering with vendors who share their commitment to sustainability. 

This involves considering vendors’ environmental practices — waste reduction, energy efficiency, use of eco-friendly materials and adherence to green certifications. 

You might look for landscapers with organic or low-impact practices, for example, or cleaning services that only use eco-friendly products and methods. By aligning with vendors who prioritize sustainability, community associations participate in environmental stewardship and enhance the overall sustainability of their community.

6. Automation and Technology Integration

Tech integrations are revolutionizing vendor management with their increased efficiency and productivity. As we’ve seen, community associations can leverage automated tools and platforms that streamline vendor selection, contract management and performance evaluation. 

These solutions use data-driven algorithms, digital workflows and real-time analytics to support informed decision-making and optimize vendor management practices. 

7. Data-Driven Decision-Making

Community associations can make more informed decisions about the vendors they partner with by collecting and analyzing relevant data. Associations can leverage data to assess vendor performance, identify trends and benchmark them against industry standards. 

Data analytics can provide insights into vendor response times, service quality metrics, resident satisfaction rates, and cost-effectiveness. What this means is help optimizing your vendor strategies for continuous improvement.

8. The Future of Vendor Relationships

The future is, of course, building strong and collaborative relationships. 

Associations already know the value of long-term partnerships based on trust, open communication and shared goals. Fostering a culture of collaboration, encouraging vendor feedback and innovation, and engaging in regular performance reviews and mutual goal-setting are all essential tasks. 

Associations could establish vendor scorecards for quick grading or collaborate on joint improvement plans to enhance performance, quality and customer satisfaction. Ultimately, nurturing these relationships means fostering a vendor community invested in the success of your community providing exceptional services.

Goodwin Knows Vendor Relationships, Now and Forever

The future holds exciting possibilities for the art of vendor management, and it is crucial for community associations to embrace these opportunities to thrive. Nobody knows that as well as Goodwin and Company, your homeowners association experts. Contact us today for a consultation and see how we can help you build your business — now and far into the future.


Elevate Your Vendor Relationships: The Art of Accountability and Constructive Feedback

In today’s competitive landscape, the quality of services vendors provide can make or break an organization. The relationship between an association and its vendors is not just transactional; it’s a partnership that requires nurturing. This partnership can only thrive in a culture of accountability and continuous improvement.

The Cornerstone of Accountability: Objective Evaluation Criteria

Before diving into performance assessments, it’s crucial to establish a solid foundation. This begins with setting clear and objective evaluation criteria that align with both the vendor’s responsibilities and the community’s expectations. 

Criteria such as responsiveness, timeliness, quality of work, adherence to contractual obligations, customer satisfaction, and communication effectiveness serve as the yardsticks by which we measure performance.

By defining these specific performance indicators, associations can eliminate subjectivity and bias, ensuring that evaluations are based on measurable outcomes. This objectivity is the cornerstone of accountability, allowing for fair and meaningful evaluations that contribute to a culture of excellence.

The Anatomy of a Comprehensive Performance Assessment

Once the evaluation criteria are in place, the next step is to conduct regular performance assessments. The frequency of these assessments depends on the scope and duration of the vendor’s services. Communicating the evaluation schedule to vendors well in advance is crucial, setting the stage for a transparent and collaborative process.

During the assessment, your association management team will gather data and feedback from a variety of sources, including community members, residents, and internal stakeholders. This multi-faceted approach ensures a comprehensive evaluation, capturing the full spectrum of the vendor’s performance. 

Associations should document specific positive and negative instances to support the evaluation process. Accurate records of any issues or concerns raised during the evaluation period serve as a basis for objective feedback and facilitate productive discussions with vendors.

The Power of Constructive Feedback

Feedback is the lifeblood of improvement. However, it’s not just about pointing out flaws; it’s about providing constructive criticism that vendors can act upon. Timely and specific feedback that highlights strengths and development areas is essential. This feedback should be presented respectfully and supportive, emphasizing the importance of open dialogue.

Associations should encourage vendors to share their perspectives on the feedback received. This two-way conversation fosters better understanding and ensures vendors feel heard and valued. 

Moreover, associations should offer actionable steps or recommendations for improvement, serving as a guiding light for vendors striving for excellence.

Navigating Performance Hurdles: The Role of Improvement Plans

When vendors are falling short of expectations, vendor management improvement plans come into play. These plans outline specific objectives, performance targets, and timelines for vendors to address identified areas of improvement. Schedule regular follow-up meetings to track progress and provide ongoing support. These plans serve as a roadmap, maintaining a collaborative approach between the association and the vendor.

Celebrating Excellence: Recognition and Incentives

While addressing areas for improvement is essential, recognizing and rewarding exceptional performance is equally important. Acknowledging vendors who consistently deliver outstanding services can take various forms, such as certificates of appreciation, testimonials, or public recognition at association events. Incentives like extended contract opportunities or performance-based bonuses can also motivate vendors to strive for excellence.

Goodwin and Company: Where Accountability Meets Excellence

Vendor accountability and performance evaluations are not mere checkboxes to tick off; they are strategic tools for building a culture of excellence and continuous improvement. By implementing objective evaluation criteria, conducting comprehensive assessments, providing constructive feedback, and recognizing exceptional performance, associations can elevate their vendor relationships to new heights.

Are you ready to take your vendor relationships to the next level? Goodwin and Company offers expert consultancy services to help you implement effective vendor performance evaluations and foster a culture of accountability and excellence. Contact us today to learn how we can help you achieve your organizational goals.


Social Engineering Coverage: An Essential Addition to HOA Insurance Policies

Homeowners Associations (HOAs) are established to uphold community standards and ensure the smooth functioning of condominiums, subdivisions, and other planned communities. One of their primary responsibilities includes managing a comprehensive insurance program that covers potential risks and threats.  

However, the digital age has brought with it a unique, somewhat elusive class of risk—social engineering. This type of threat goes beyond traditional property damage or physical injuries and infiltrates into the realm of information security and cyber fraud. HOA boards should seriously consider incorporating social engineering policies into their association’s insurance policies to counteract these modern risks. 

Understanding Social Engineering  

Social engineering refers to manipulative tactics that fraudsters employ to trick individuals into divulging sensitive information, such as bank details or access to secure systems. They usually exploit human psychology and trust, rather than using technical hacking methods. Examples of social engineering attacks include phishing, baiting, pretexting, and quid pro quo, among others. 

The Relevance of Social Engineering Policies to HOAs  

Even though social engineering might seem more applicable to corporations and large businesses, HOAs are not immune to these attacks.  

For instance, scammers might impersonate an HOA board member and request payment from homeowners, thereby defrauding them of their money. Another example could be a fraudster tricking a board member into revealing the association’s bank details. 

The cost of such scams can be substantial, leading to significant financial losses and tarnishing the HOA’s reputation. Social engineering insurance can provide coverage against these losses, making it an essential part of an HOA’s risk management strategy. 

Benefits of Incorporating Social Engineering Policies 

  1. Financial Protection: Social engineering attacks can result in significant financial loss. A robust social engineering policy offers coverage against these losses, ensuring the financial health of the HOA. 
  1. Reputation Management: A successful social engineering attack could harm an HOA’s reputation. Ensuring you have measures in place to protect against these threats can preserve trust and confidence within the community. 
  1. Legal Protection: Depending on the jurisdiction, HOA board members may have a fiduciary duty to protect the association’s assets. A social engineering policy could help meet this obligation and potentially provide legal protection in the event of a lawsuit. 
  1. Encouraging Best Practices: When applying for a social engineering policy, insurance providers will typically expect the association to have preventative measures in place. This may encourage the HOA to adopt best practices such as regular training and awareness programs, therefore reducing the likelihood of successful attacks. 

Costs of Social Engineering Policies 

The cost of social engineering insurance varies depending on what kind of policy it includes. Social Engineering is not a separate policy. For HOAs it is typically located on their crime/fidelity coverage. It could also be attached to standalone cyber policy if that is how the HOA obtains cyber protection. Typically, cyber protection for an HOA is a part of the director & officers’ coverage and/or the crime/fidelity coverage.  

For an accurate estimate, HOAs should contact an insurance agent who specializes in such coverage. If social engineering is attached to the crime/fidelity coverage, then the cost will be rolled into that policy’s premium. For example, one carrier will write crime/fidelity coverage for $100,000 at $296 annually. The amount of crime coverage that a community should carry will vary and be based on the financial strength of the community. The best rule of thumb to figure out the amount of coverage needed is to use the following formula: 3 months of assessments + the amount in all reserve accounts.  

It’s also important to note that the costs of not having such a policy could be much higher, given the potential financial losses from social engineering fraud.  

For instance, according to the FBI’s Internet Crime Complaint Center, business email compromise (a common type of social engineering attack) led to over $1.8 billion in losses for victims in 2020.  

Therefore, considering the magnitude of potential losses, investing in social engineering insurance could be a wise choice for HOAs. 

Remember, these numbers are estimates and can significantly differ based on the circumstances. Always consult with a knowledgeable insurance professional to obtain an accurate quote. Not all carriers will write or include social engineering. Ask your agent if it is included or can be added. Management company’s crime coverage does not include individual HOAs. Each community should carry its own crime/fidelity coverage.  

In an era where fraudsters are becoming increasingly clever, it is crucial for HOAs to stay a step ahead. Incorporating social engineering policies into the HOA’s insurance framework not only offers financial protection but also fosters a culture of cyber-awareness within the association. 

When considering the costs of such a policy, keep in mind that this is an investment that provides a safety net against potential significant financial losses. Furthermore, these policies incentivize HOAs to implement preventative measures, such as regular training and awareness programs, effectively reducing the chances of a successful attack. 

With cyber threats becoming increasingly commonplace, social engineering insurance has emerged from being an optional extra to an essential component of risk management strategies. This integration reflects an understanding that safeguarding an association’s financial health and reputation extends beyond physical boundaries into the digital realm. It demonstrates a proactive approach in the face of evolving risks and signals to members that the HOA board is committed to ensuring the safety and security of the community in this digital age. 

Always consult with a knowledgeable insurance professional to understand the options available, tailor a policy that fits your HOA’s needs, and ensure the ongoing protection of your community.  

For more information or to request a quote, contact the experts at Community Policyholders at