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Building & Keeping Members
Importance of Membership
Recruiting and keeping members is important to the life span of the association. This takes a real commitment knowing it takes hard work to get people to join and keep them involved. As with most organizations, many individuals are attracted by issues that concern the neighborhood, others through well publicized meetings. Once you get the problem solved, participation seems to dwindle away. There are creative ways to keep organizations alive and active.

Steps to Building Your Membership
  • Start a week long membership drive by going door-to-door letting neighbors know more about the association. It’s a great way to make a personal contact with your neighbors and answer questions one-on-one. Have a party for those that volunteered in this effort to show your thanks. Your members might enjoy sharing their experiences with one another. 
  • Encourage a neighbor to invite another neighbor to join. You normally hear of volunteers telling stories of how they got involved because another volunteer, friend or family member asked them to. Carry membership forms with you so you are ready to hand one out on the spot. This will show your commitment to the association and the importance to the organization.  
  • Hand out, mail or walk printed materials around the neighborhood to encourage neighbors to get involved. It could be the monthly newsletter, a letter from the president of the association or a brief list of simple goals of the association. Create a distribution list in your email address book to distribute information quickly and easily to association members. This has proven to be a very effective tool in disseminating information and it’s great for reminders. 
  • Designate block captains, this is a great way to divide the task of passing out flyers in the neighborhood, welcoming new neighbors with welcome baskets, organizing volunteers for that area and serving as a voice for those neighbors on specific problems. 
  • Staying active throughout the year really shows how committed the association can be. Holding frequent events such as block parties, being apart of Hometown Holiday, Creekfest, Annual Cleanup, the Neighborhood Grant Program and several other programs will help keep the association active and progressive throughout the year. These events and programs will create opportunities for you to talk to people in your area about membership and the importance of the association.
 
Steps for Keeping Members
  • To keep people interested and coming back for more, you must have fun. Even though association business is serious, if you take it too serious it will become a chore that you no longer want to take interest in. That is when you see a drastic decline in participation. Those who understand citizen involvement stress the importance of having fun and still getting the job done. This should feel like recreation work, not work, no matter how serious the issue. Keep things fun by encouraging friendly competition like “Property of the Month”, have pet parades or kids decorate their bikes, recognize volunteers with award ceremonies or through the newsletters for others to see that the hard work put into the association is appreciated. 
  • Keep a list of volunteer opportunities. Have it handy so when new members offer to help you can put their name on the list. Now you have found a way to make a new member a part of the association and made them active. 
  • Designate official “Greeters”. Have these individuals’ welcome new members and attempt to match them up with other members that live close to them. New or potentially new members should be introduced and always attempt to make them feel at ease. 
  • Avoid having the same people run every project. It’s good to have new people in leadership positions. If new people see the same people running all the projects, they may lose interest and quit attending. 
  • Encourage new ideas in the association. New people to the organization may have a different perspective of the problem. This new perspective can be good for the whole organization. 
  • It is difficult to get busy people to attend meetings or involve themselves in organizations they think are a waste of time. That is why having a well-planned meeting is so important. Have a written agenda for every meeting and stick to it. Plan a meeting to last no more than an hour and a half. 
  • Maintain current membership records. Keep a file with names, addresses, phone numbers, email addresses, family members’ names, occupations, special talents, areas of interest, etc. 
  • Remember a neighborhood association is not all work. Have fun as well. Have parties, pot lucks or events to get to know your neighbors better and to reward your volunteers for all their hard work. Your events should appeal to all, keep the older neighbors as well as the children in mind.