11 September, 2013

Building Your Neighborhood Watch: What Works, What Wastes Time and Money

You don't wait until you're dying of thirst to dig a well.

You can't ride a train until somebody has laid track.

You can't build a Neighborhood Watch until you have first created a means of communicating with the people you want to invite to meetings, train, etc.

Don't waste your time and money on flyers that you stick behind storm doors. Inexplicably, the people who stand to benefit from participating in your Neighborhood Watch will perversely ignore your flyers. 

But nearly 100% of the people who answer the door will comply with your request for their email addresses and cell phone numbers. 

The time and energy you'll spend hanging flyers is better spent actually knocking on doors and collecting email addresses and cell phone numbers from somebody in that home. 

As you collect email addresses and cell phone numbers, enter this data into text message lists and email lists so you can blast crime tips, police tips, meeting notices and other info to the people on the list.

Neighborhood Watch startup is not for the lazy. If you don't go out and collect the information you need the hard way, you simply will not get the information unless you buy it from somebody. And the people who have that kind of data know how valuable it is and won't sell it cheap.

If you're old enough to remember when churches had "visitation" programs and actually went out and knocked on doors and invited people to church then you know this: churches with bad preachers could still grow attendance if they were willing to go out and knock on doors.

Your neighborhood watch's target audience will mostly ignore your flyers and your free media coverage. If you buy an ad in the paper, they'll ignore that.

Bt if you go to their door and ask for contact information, nearly 100% of the people you talk to will give you the train track that your train of information will run on. 

More importantly, you've started a conversation which, when it results in a relationship, will result in people getting active in neighborhood watch. I actually receive "thank you" notes from people who receive my email blasts and text message blasts. 
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