28 January, 2014

Thank You For Coming Out To Tonight's Meeting of the Buchwald Neighborhood Watch

Thank you for coming out to tonight's meeting of the Buchwald Neighborhood Watch. I’ve been asked to speak to you about how to organize your neighborhood watch so I’d like to start with some questions.

OK, I hate to start on a negative note but the first thing I notice is that there are only a handful of people here tonight - hardly enough people to watch the building we're meeting in much less an entire neighborhood or town. 

Well, somebody here must have a master list of email addresses and cell phone numbers so you can have a fast, free way of informing neighbors of the next meeting, right? No?

Well, then, since The Buchwald Neighborhood Watch can't send out email and text message blasts to hundreds or thousands of people at a time then you must have somebody here who is so wealthy and so civic-minded that he or she plans to pay the massive paper, envelope, postage, ink cartridges and other bills associated with sending out mailers and buying advertising every time you want to call a meeting so let me see the hand of that person. Nobody?

OK, let me see if I understand your situation: You don't have a rich member who's going to pay for advertising and mailers and you also haven't knocked on every door in y our are and asked residents for an email address or a cell phone number so you can send them meeting notices and other information free and fast, right? Well then how, exactly, did you plan to get more than 5 or 6 people to the next meeting and to meetings after that?

Now maybe you'll understand why the first thing you need to do is take legal pads and pens and go out and knock on every door in The Buchwald Neighborhood and collect cell phone numbers and email addresses from everybody who will answer their door. 

And, by the way, I can tell you from personal experience that when you go knocking on doors and asking your neighbors for their email addresses and cell phone numbers, nearly 100% will provide that information. I can also tell you from personal experience that delivering flyers to people's houses yields a very poor return on investment and effort. 

After you’ve knocked on every door in your area and collected all the email addresses and cell phone numbers you can get, create email groups and text groups so that you can blast out the same message to hundreds of people simultaneously. If nobody in this room knows how to create text groups and email groups, recruit somebody who does and put them in charge of communication. If you don’t do that, you won’t have any way to even invite people to meetings without spending money on advertising or postage. Show me again who wants to fund that effort. Nobody? Nobody?  

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