Toolkit: Having a meeting

Having a meeting

The Rum Village Neighborhood Association meets each month at the nearby Nature Center.

Formal meetings are usually necessary for a neighborhood association – but it’s up to you and your core team, with input from neighbors, to decide what “having a meeting” means in your neighborhood. In South Bend, almost all active neighborhoods have a place to meet, with regular times and dates. One of the first tasks is deciding how often you need to meet, and where the best location is for your community.

The Neighborhood Resources Corporation offers technical assistance on most topics related to your neighborhood association, and we can help you with meeting agenda samples and other “meeting stuff.”  But for other skills – like keeping a meeting focused, managing conflict and other group dynamics – the NRC has resources, too. You can learn more about the Neighborhood Leadership Academy and how it can help your neighborhood association by checking it out at the link here. For now, it’s important to remember that:

 

  • People’s time needs to be respected. Busy, energetic people are far more likely to attend meetings that are brief, useful and focused, and in a convenient location. And send reminders!
  • Be organized, and limit the meeting time to an hour or so.
  • Arrive ahead of time and arrange the room to best serve your neighbors’ needs. Don’t forget to have the meeting agenda and other resource materials for people to pick up as they enter. And snacks are also a welcome treat at neighborhood association meetings.
  •  Remember the sign-in sheet. You’ll keep new folks involved, and all contact info updated.

Remember, too, that after the meeting you’ll want to communicate clearly with your neighbors, so that they know what happened and who’s involved. Take formal minutes or even notes to share with others, and to keep a record of decisions and plans.

The Martin Luther King Jr. Center on Linden Street is home to the Kennedy Park Neighborhood Association

You’ll want to keep that momentum going, so don’t underestimate the power of small steps and the importance of small victories! Starting or strengthening a neighborhood association is a real commitment, but it’s one worth making to help build the community we all hope to share.