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Holding Your First Meetings

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Organizing a neighborhood association is hard work. Most neighborhoods form a volunteer steering committee early in the planning process to do the work of getting the initial organization up and running. This preliminary work may take three to six months and includes the following basic actions:
  • Identifying block leaders
  • Creating bylaws
  • Electing permanent officers
  • Identifying neighborhood issues
  • Deciding on an association name
  • Establishing a mission statement
  • Holding at least one special event
  • Compiling articles for the first newsletter
There is no best way to form the steering committee. One approach is to hold an initial neighborhood meeting of residents to provide information about neighborhood associations and to solicit volunteers for a steering committee.

Some recommended steps for arranging the first meeting include the following:

  1. Contact the City Planning Division (839-4914) and request that mailing labels be created for your proposed neighborhood area.
  2. Invite the Planning Division to send a representative to your meeting to provide information about the neighborhood services provided by the City. The City representative can also assist you in completing an initial survey about neighborhood issues (sample attached). You may also want to invite a representative of another neighborhood association.
  3. Reserve a multi-purpose meeting room somewhere in your neighborhood. The most common locations are schools or churches. Allow 3-4 weeks before the meeting to ensure sufficient time to mail meeting notices. Confirm the meeting date with any guest speakers you have invited. 
  4. Compose an invitation letter providing the address, date, and time of the meeting. (A sample letter is attached.)
  5. Mail the invitation letter at least two weeks before the meeting. 
  6. Prepare a timed agenda to help keep the meeting on track. City Planning staff can assist in providing copies for the meeting. The initial agenda could include the following:

  1. Arrive at least 15-20 minutes early on the night of the meeting to arrange the room. Bring sign-in sheets, pencils, and name tags.
  2. Prepare a few introductory comments to introduce yourself and explain why you are interested in forming a neighborhood association.
  3. Reserve a multi-purpose meeting room somewhere in your neighborhood. The most common locations are schools or churches. Allow 3-4 weeks before the meeting to ensure sufficient time to mail meeting notices. Confirm the meeting date with any guest speakers you have invited.
  4. Remind people arriving for the meeting to complete the sign-in sheet and take a copy of the agenda. 
  5. Assign someone to serve as timekeeper to keep the meeting on target.
  6. Take a deep breath, relax, and open the meeting.
  7. Adjourn the meeting, thank everyone for attending, and serve refreshments.