Congratulations on wanting to start a block association!
This is your first step in bringing neighbors together and creating a sense of community on your block. It also gives you a collective voice to call for change if there are issues that are affecting the quality of life for everyone.
Most of all, you’ll create a friendlier atmosphere and get to know your neighbors!
Find a few neighbors on your block who are interested in forming a block association. Establish the geographic parameters - what area will you cover?
Are there block issues that will bring neighbors together? Crime, new construction, tree care, sanitation? Want to start a community garden?
Create a fun, colorful flier that announces the FIRST “Meet and Greet” of the association. Post in every building along the block and includes an email/phone for a contact person. Get the meeting posted on Facebook for your budding association.
Hold your first meeting in a public space - a church or community center. Be sure to serve something to drink and eat at the meeting - coffee and cookies are a good way to welcome everyone. Invite someone from an established association to speak to your group about the benefits of starting a Block Association. NOTE: The UWS Coalition has experienced block presidents who can speak to the benefits of starting a block association.
Goals of the first meeting should include:
Introduction of those leading the organizing effort
Guest Speaker: Benefits of having a Block Association
Brainstorm with participants about how they feel the group can address the needs of residents. Make a list of what the group thinks those needs are.
Come up with a list of goals for the group for the year.
Make sure you get everyone’s email, address and phone
With the names of the participants, start a database. A database is the key to growing an association.
Set the date for the next meeting and have a local elected official or civic leader come to talk to the group
Continue to reach out and add names to your database. Every few weeks send a reminder about the next meeting along with interesting information about what is happening in the community.
Reach out to all of the Co-op, Condo and rental buildings on your block. Send a Block update to the President and ask him/her to share with the Board members. Ask to speak at their Board meetings about the work of the association.
Plan a block event such as “planting day” or “neighborhood clean-up.” Think of a fundraiser - e.g., block auction, flea market, theater party or street fair - and establish annual, affordable membership dues. Use the internet and email to get the word out.
Make your block association official! It’s good to seek legal advice to learn about the options and apply for status as an official nonprofit organization under Internal Revenue Code Section 501(c).
For help starting your block association, reach out to us!