Starting a Neighborhood Association

Photograph of East Allis Neighborhood Association

Photograph of East Allis Neighborhood Association Members

Ever chatted with your neighbors while out in your yard or shared a laugh over the fence? You’re on your way towards starting a neighborhood association. Casual connections between neighbors are the first steps toward building a more formal, organized neighborhood association. From there, you can expand your outreach to include more neighbors in the conversation. Leverage social media, door-to-door conversations, or host small, informal gatherings to start to get your neighbors together and get them talking. In these early stages, there’s no formal process, and the only way to go wrong is to stop trying!

Getting neighbors together doesn't need to be difficult. Keep in mind some important tips as you begin to organize.

  • Building an association is a process – it won’t get done overnight. Be patient! Set small goals and meet them step by step. Maybe your first goal is reaching five new neighbors, then ten, and so on. Start small and work up.  
  • For your neighborhood association to succeed, everyone must be welcome. This is not the time to talk politics – make sure your group is inclusive and welcoming to everyone in the neighborhood.
  • How you treat people is crucial to your success. By treating people with respect and integrity, people will be more likely to get and stay involved.
  • Share the work. While a leader may start to emerge, don’t hesitate to ask neighbors for help with communication or scheduling events.
  • Communicate often. Social media is a great way to keep in touch.
  • Have fun! Your association may want to tackle serious neighborhood issues, but an important part of neighborhood associations is creating casual, inviting opportunities for neighbors to get together and enjoy one another’s company.

After a core group of people is ready to move into the more formalized stage of establishing an organized neighborhood association, the group should work to develop the following:

  • Create an agreed upon name for the organization
  • Compose an agreed upon mission and statement of purpose
  • Identify your clearly defined geographical neighborhood boundaries
  • Identify your association’s contact person(s)