Where should you focus your time and talents if you want to make a difference in the world? I’ll give you a hint — try getting involved in your HOA elections.

How ‘Bout National Politics?

Nah, probably not.

Statistics tell us that “on average, a voter in America has a 1 in 60 million chance of being decisive in the presidential election.” To me, this is daunting, particularly considering that you are about 5,000 times more likely to get struck by lightning!

Of course there are other reasons to vote (expressions of gratitude and civic duty come to mind) but if you’re doing it to make a difference in the world, you’re pretty much guaranteed to be disappointed.

Sorry to rain on your parade.

Think Small… Like About Your Community

Don’t let that get you down. The odds of making an impact look a lot better if you focus your efforts on small groups — like your community. This is particularly the case if you live in an HOA.

Here’s an example: let’s say that you live in a moderately sized HOA with 100 doors, and that about 50 people vote in the HOA election (great turnout!). Let’s also say that you got informed on the issues and influenced 10 others in your community to vote a particular way. That means that you have about a 1 in 5 chance of affecting the final outcome. I like those odds!

You can make an even greater impact if you decide to run for a board position, or volunteer for a committee.

Don’t Get Me Wrong

I’m not trying to discourage anyone from voting at a national election. (It truly is a privilege to live in a country where our voices are heard, however quiet they may be.)

It is ironic however, that we spend so much time and emotional energy on national issues (where we are unlikely to make an impact) and yet struggle to find the time to get involved in our communities (where we certainly can make an impact).

One person can help make a community a friendlier, safer, more beautiful place to live. This kind of change attracts other great people to the community, increases property values, spreads to neighboring communities, and so on, and on…

Whether it’s running for a committee or board position or just getting involved in the HOA elections. Perhaps the way to make a difference in the world is by getting involved in your community.

Sterling Jenkins

Founder and CTO at GoGladly
Sterling has lived in HOAs and has managed them for a living. A self-described nerd, Sterling finds books about HTML5 and games like Settlers of Catan unreasonably exciting. His nerdiness extends to his love of camping, fishing, and hiking in Utah's breathtaking Rocky Mountains. He especially likes enjoying the outdoors with his beautiful and supportive wife and 4 awesome kids.

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